Friday, March 27, 2009

Be sure to celebrate Earth Hour tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, from 8:30-9:30 pm whatever your local time is. It's a symbolic and concrete action: turn out all unnecessary lights and electricity for an hour as part of a commitment to reduce global warming. Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million workplaces and homes turned off their lights for an hour. In 2008, 50 million people turned off their lights worldwide. This year, the goal is 1 billion people turning off their switches to send a message to world leaders at the global climate change conference in Copenhagen. Organizers have already exceeded their goal of 1,000 cities and towns participating. Of course, all the other actions you can take to reduce global warming are even more important, but this is a time when the whole world gets to act together (at staggered times) and send a message. (BTW, they've checked it out with power companies, and the event will have no ill effect on the power grid.) Watch this video with some inspiring footage of lights going off around the world. Then sign up at the official Earth Hour website. Happy Spring Break for those of you celebrating it this week or next! Remember to offset your carbon if you're traveling. Follow the links at the very bottom of this page to do that. Stay cool!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Today I came upon a website called WattzOn, which I found through a website called Carsharing.US, which is written by the guy who started the first carsharing company in the U.S., which was later swallowed up by Flexcar. I found Carsharing.US through a blog called Diamond-Cut Life, which I also recommend, and I found Diamond-Cut Life by Googling, believe it or not, global warming and fun. WattzOn offers a great tool for thoroughly examining your energy consumption, which is directly proportional to your carbon footprint, that is, the amount of greenhouse gases that are produced by you living your life the way you do. I took the test, and the WattzOn badge to the right tells you the result. You can click on it for more details, and do your own test at WattzOn. There's also a video to watch about individual energy consumption. My only complaint is that the site is a bit short on solutions. The intent is to create a community to share ideas, which is also my intent for this blog, but with a little more emphasis on solutions here. So send them in!

Stay cool,

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pay As You Drive

Remember my post a few weeks ago on car insurance that costs less if you drive less? Turns out several companies are offering it around the nation. The Environmental Defense Fund offers a good overview here. The Brookings Institution reported that if all American drivers had pay-as-you-drive insurance, we'd drive 8 percent less, total US CO2 emissions would go down by 2% and oil consumption by 4%, and two-thirds of households would pay an average of $270 less per car for auto insurance. Here are the programs I found:
  • Owners of GM cars with OnStar can get discounts for driving less through insurer GMAC in 47 out of 50 states. Click here for info.
  • Progressive offers pay-as-you-drive discounts in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and Oregon.
  • Texas is the first state to offer insurance that's charged per mile you drive, allowing you to get the full benefit of driving less, through MileMeter. Go, neighbor!
  • In Massachusetts, the Environmental Insurance Agency offers a policy through Plymouth Rock that rewards you for driving less. EIA is owned by the Conservation Law Foundation, which has spent decades protecting the environment in New England.
  • The Federal Highway Administrations Value Pricing Program is launching a PAYD pilot program in Georgia.
Post your experiences with any PAYD program, or any other global warming solutions!

Stay cool,

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spotlight on

Check out climate action group They have an upbeat, action-oriented website that points out the critical nature of global warming while leaving you inspired to take action. was one of the organizers of the largest anti-coal protest yet in the U.S. on Monday at the Capitol Hill Power plant, where thousands turned out in dress clothes and shut down the plant for the day by blocking access. Plans for the protest caused Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to announce they would no longer burn coal in the plant--last week! Coal-fired power plants are one of the biggest contributors to global warming. is also organizing a Global Day of Climate Action worldwide on October 24, 2009, six weeks before world leaders meet in Copenhagen to write a new global treaty on cutting carbon emissions. Find out more here: The website also offers a link to a Facebook application that can earn you rewards for actions to reduce climate change if you're 16-25. Might be interesting for the rest of us, too.

Thanks for the links, Patty! Here's clickable links to the story about recycled gifts: and the kids' energy-saving game:
Stay cool!