Monday, October 11, 2010

Books I've Been Reading

I recently read E.O. Wilson's The Future of Life in preparation for a small panel discussion I did through the Aspen Writers' Foundation program on Grassroots TV: AWF Reads. Paul Andersen, a local naturalist and author, led the discussion. See the show here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Reduce Your Margins (repost)

One quick and painless way to save resources is to reduce your default margin settings in Word. The current margin conventions are simply that, a convention. Changing your margins to 0.75" all around will reduce the amount of paper you buy, use, and throw away.

Think about this: 8 million tons of office paper are used per year in the U.S. If we ALL changed our margins to 0.75" we would save 380,000 tons of paper a year. This amounts to $400 million dollars of savings, and over half the number of trees found on Rhode Island. Per year.

And don't feel badly about stiffing the paper industry. They are the third largest industrial generator of global warming pollutants, the number one industrial cause of global deforestation, and the number one consumer of the world's fresh water.

So change your margins at home, change them at work, tell your friends, and sign a petition to get Microsoft to change the default settings on their programs. Save some trees.

To learn more, check out some of these links: Climate Change: Changing the Margins,, Penn State Green Destiny Council

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Books I've Been Reading

In preparation for a lecture by Beth Conover, I've been reading the compilation she edited, How the West Was Warmed. This book of essays tells the story of different Rocky Mountain residents' responses to climate change.

One I liked especially was "The Universe on Blacktop (My day of saving 66 million BTUs)" by Laura Pritchett. She tells an entertaining tale of her family's adventures in dumpster diving and makes clear the advantages of recycling.

"Recycled cans take 95% less energy than those made from aluminum obtained from bauxite. About thirty aluminum cans are produced from one pound of aluminum, and each aluminum can requires about 3,000 British thermal units (BTUs) to produce it. So... every two or three cans we recycle basically saves one pound of coal."