New York City Environmentalist:
What a NYC resident can do to save the environment
Copyright 2004 by Michael_Brochstein
"Think Globally, Act Locally"
This may seem like a detour from the subject area I originally intended Enlightened Fun to cover. I don't think it is since if we ignore the environment then there will be no environment to have fun in. What all or almost all of us can do in our daily lives that will benefit the environment affects all of us even if we normally never go hiking. Each of the areas discussed below truly illustrate the saying “Think Globally, Act Locally”. They are presented in list fashion in no particular order and I hope everyone will find something(s) in them they can use in their everyday life.
Fruits & Vegetables
Which Car to Buy
Join an Environmental Organization
Use a Digital Camera
Wind Power - Wind energy is available to any NYC resident from New Wind Energy regardless of where you normally buy your electric power from. What you pay New Wind Energy for is the add-on cost of wind energy over what you pay your regular power provider. You do this by contracting to purchase blocks of electricity from their wind farms every month. You are billed (on your credit card) monthly for these blocks of energy. Since wind energy that is not put onto the electrical grid is lost (you can't store wind), it has priority. What this means is that if you buy 500 kilowatt hours of energy every month then this amount of electricity is delivered by the wind farm to the electric grid. Since it has priority over fossil fuel generated electricity, the producers of fossil fuel electricity will not put their 500 kilowatt hours of energy onto the electrical grid. What ends up happening is that the 500 kilowatt hours of wind power you purchase is put onto the grid crowding out the lower priority electricity that a fossil fuel plant would otherwise need to put onto the grid to satisfy your needs.
Saving Electricity - Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. Use appliances (i.e. refrigerator, air conditioner,...) that have high efficiency ratings.
Paper Goods - Paper plates, paper towels, napkins and toilet paper are all available in non-bleached 100% post consumer recycled versions from Seventh Generation and can be bought from various vendors including Real Goods.
Laundry Detergent - Various environmentally friendly ones are available from Seventh Generation and Ecover.
Disposable Aluminum Pans - Use durable reusable metal and and glass pans instead of aluminum ones.
Bottled Water - Use Nalgene bottles on hikes instead of buying new containers of bottled water each time.
Saving Water - Install a high efficiency toilet the next time you renovate your bathroom. Install a high efficiency shower nozzle. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and turn it back on when rinsing. After getting wet in the shower, turn it off to soap up and and then back on to rinse off. Do full loads of laundry in your washing machine instead of partial loads.
Soda & Beer Bottles - If they are returnable for a deposit then return them (okay, this one is obvious). Also, NYC has resumed recycling of plastics (including soda bottles) and glass.
Meat & Poultry - It takes much much much fewer resources to feed a vegetarian than to feed a meat eater.
Fruits & Vegetables - Buy organic fruits and vegetables when available.
Which Car to Buy - Hybrids are rapidly gaining popularity. While some cars such as the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius are only available as hybrids, others are available as versions of cars that were not originally designed to be hybrids. Models that can be had as hybrids now include versions of the Honda Civic and Accord, Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, and the Lexus RX 400h. A fun and fuel efficient non-hybrid car is the BMW Mini Cooper. And of course, public transportation, your feet, and a bicycle are all even more efficient. More information about environmentally friendly cars can be found at www.GreenCars.com.
Join an Environmental Organization - There are many good ones. My recommended ones include the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council and EarthJustice.
Use a Digital Camera - No film to buy and develop (printing pictures still uses resources).
Rechargeable Batteries - If you normally use throwaway alkaline batteries (i.e. Duracell, Energizer) then in most instances using rechargeable batteries (i.e. Nickel Cadmium - NiCad or Nickel Metal Hydride - NiMH) are much cheaper. In certain instances (i.e. digital cameras), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries last much much longer than alkaline batteries. A good online source for rechargeable batteries and charges is Thomas Distributing.
Computer Monitors - Consider LCD (flat panel) monitors when buying a new monitor as they use less power.
Voting - When voting, consider a candidates environmental record and platform. The League of Conservation Voters is one good source of information.
Disclaimer - This is to state that I have no financial interests in any products, companies or organizations mentioned above. And while we're at it; The information furnished on this website may contain errors!
revised: August 14, 2005
Copyright © 2008 Michael Brochstein. All rights reserved.