Lose 3,000 Pounds...of Carbon Dioxide this Year

Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change walked away with the Nobel Peace Prize and $1.8 million this year for raising awareness about climate change. While you might not win the Nobel Prize, you can feel like a million bucks for pledging to drop 3,000 pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

How does a gas in the air around us weigh anything? Think of a pound of ice boiling into water vapor; it's still a pound of water while it's floating in the air. By the same token, each time you drive a mile, your car burns liquid gasoline and releases about a pound of carbon dioxide. This happens because you're combining an atom of carbon with two atoms of oxygen many, many times over. On a larger scale, the same thing occurs at the power plant with burnt coal each time you draw energy from the grid to power your TV, warm your water or chill your home. But every step you take to save energy trims pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduces your global-warming burden.

So this year, take one step each month to lose 3,000 pounds, then keep shedding that weight.

Month Activity Calculation CO2 Savings
January 1 Turn down your thermostat by 2 degrees (53 lbs./mo.) x 6 mos. 318 lbs.
February 1 Run dishwasher only when full and on its energy-saver mode (70 lbs./mo.) x 11 mos. 770 lbs.
March 1 Wash clothes in cold water rather than hot (42 lbs./mo.) x 10 mos. 420 lbs.
April 1 Keep tires properly inflated (21 lbs./mo.) x 9 mos 189 lbs.
May 1 Dry half your clothes on the clothes line or drying rack (60 lbs./mo.) x 8 mos. 480 lbs.
June 1 Raise your thermostat from 72 to 73 degrees this summer (40 lbs./mo.) x 4 mos. 160 lbs.
July 1 Plug electronics into power strip and turn off when not in use (20 lbs./mo.) x 6 mos. 120 lbs.
August 1 Insulate your water heater (26 lbs./mo.) x 5 mos. 130 lbs.
September 1 Caulk and weatherstrip your home (72 lbs./mo.) x 4 mos. 288 lbs.
October 1 Take the bus to work one day a week (13 lbs./mo.) x 3 mos. 39 lbs.
November 1 Clean your refrigerator's coils and defrost it regularly (58 lbs./mo.) x 2 mos. 116 lbs.
December 1 Replace one 70 watt bulb with a 9 watt LED (5 lbs./mo.) x 1 mo. 5 lbs.
YEAR TOTAL     3,035 pounds
If every U.S. household took these steps     160 million tons