Monday, March 27, 2006

Save the planet!

I've just missed Science Week. Oops. I read about the BA site (the British Association for the Advancement of Science) in The Times. Anjana Ahuja's Science Notebook brought my attention to this event, from March 10-19, and efforts by the BA to save the planet.

They are suggesting ways to
reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power stations that produce electricity by using less electricity, and the idea is to look through the list and make a pledge to follow one or more, for a whole week, and then, hopefully, to have changed habits enough to continue on with the energy-saving behaviour. The list tells you, for example that if you take short 5-minute showers (or share a bath), you'll save 3.6kg of CO2 in the week. Similarly, unplugging your telephone charger when not using it will save 1kg, and turning down the thermostat by 1°C will save 4.8kg.

Having examined the list, I found I was already a pretty energy-saving sort of person. I use low energy bulbs, dry my clothes outside as soon as the weather is suitable, buy local fruit and vegetables as much in season as possible, have the thermostat set low and always switch the tv off, not leaving it on stand-by.

Still, there is room for improvement. I pledged to unplug my telephone charger, and wash my clothes at 40°C. This will save 2kg per week. That's 104kg per year. I can't do much about my journey to work as I have to take two boys to two different schools in two different villages, so cycling is out of the question. I only take the plane to visit my parents a couple of times a year, and can hardly sign up to a green energy supplier as I live in rented accommodation, in France.

Being a pledger, I'm in good company. Well, famous company... Tony Blair has pledged to turn his thermostat down, and Colin Jackson, CBE has pledged to travel more by train. Frances Cairncross, the President of BA is pledging to donate money to Tree Aid to offset all those journeys she takes by plane. At the time of writing 17057 pledges had been made. That's potentially a lot of CO2 emissions reduced.

Take a look at the site and see if you too can make a pledge. Apparently domestic users are responsible for 27% of the UK's total carbon dioxide emissions, so you can make a difference.

Go on, do it.

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