Mindful Metropolis September 2009 : Page 18

did you hear? Shrink Your Carbon Footprint Here are some good resources to help you get started By ChrIstIna galoozIs ConsIder yourself an average Ameri- can? Then your household is responsible for emitting 24 tons of carbon dioxide every year—equal to the weight of five African elephants (or 18 Toyota Priuses). That’s ac- cording to BigTreeClimateFund.com, which calculates your carbon footprint based on the number of miles you travel, your car’s fuel efficiency and what you recycle, among other factors. Once your emissions are tallied, the website prices your carbon offset and (with your donation) directly funds sustainable en- ergy projects such as Brazilian reforestation and North Dakota wind farms. The cost for the average household is $300 per year. Reducing one’s carbon footprint is a top priority for three-fourths of Americans, ac- cording to research firm GfK Roper. What else can you do? Try these other websites: » Cut your paper usage Cut your paper usage with PrintGreener.com, where free downloadable software helps you eliminate unwanted text, images and those annoying banner ads from your pages. It claims to save you $100 a year on paper and ink while saving trees in the process. The site offers an upgraded version for businesses, which costs money but can track cumula- tive paper savings from all users. Check out FaxZero.com, too, where you can send two faxes a day for free (more if you pay) from computer to computer, sans paper. »Weed out the greenwashers Ever wonder if you’re dealing with a truly eco-friendly business, despite their claims? 18 september 2009 BCorporation.net helps you weed out the pho- nies by vigorously screening businesses that say they’re committed to solving social and environmental problems. Monogramme Events & Catering LLC, a Humboldt Park-based company that specializes in catering seasonal and sustainable foods, is one of a handful of B Corporations in Chicago. “To have a third party come in and say ‘Yes, you are green’ is a seal of approval for my clients—proof that I’m not just talking smack,” said owner Melissa Graham. Find out which companies are actually talk- ing smack by visiting GoodGuide.com, where you can compare the carbon footprints of your favorite products. The website considers delivery methods, recyclability of packaging materials, energy used in manufacturing and other factors when rating products. » Travel green Many Chicagoans want to lower their envi- ronmental impact but don’t want to limit their travel. So here are a couple ways to reduce your carbon emissions without shortening your trips: Log on to TerraPass.com, where you can choose an airline or flight by comparing its carbon footprint to others. For instance Ter- rapass.com says your American Airlines flight from O’Hare International Airport to LaGuardia expels 602 pounds of CO2, but the same trip on United Airlines emits only 524 pounds. By choosing the latter, you make less of an impact without sacrificing your trip to New York. For ground travel check out ZimRide.com, a Match.com for commuters who want to carpool. Have a few extra seats in your sedan? Need a ride from Oak Park to Evanston? Find a carpool- ing buddy, and salvage some of the ozone. » Green your web surfing Did you know your blog or website eats energy every time you update it, and every time other people read it? Find out just how much energy at CO2Stats.com, which calculates your blog or website’s carbon footprint and then provides you with offsets to neutralize the consump- tion. And if you’re concerned about the energy used for hosting your website, try an environ- mentally friendly web hosting company like ThinkHost.com which powers 100 percent of its servers from wind and solar energy. after all these efforts, don’t you think you deserve some credit? MyEmissionsExchange. com does. This Web site (also called MyEex. com) actually pays through PayPal for lower- ing your carbon footprint. First, create a profile and enter your energy usage for the last year. Then enter your utility usage once a month and any reductions become certified carbon credits—similar to those granted to businesses and countries—which are bought from you by MyEex.com. Talk about a direct way to make green while going green. Happy shrinking! Christina Galoozis is a Chicago-based free- lance writer and editor. She writes about small business and parenting. Visit christinagaloozis. weebly.com.

Shrink Your Carbon Footprint

Christina Galoozis

Here are some good resources to help you get started<br /> <br /> Consider Yourself an Average American?<br /> Then your household is responsible for emitting 24 tons of carbon dioxide every year—equal to the weight of five African elephants (or 18 Toyota Priuses). That’s according to BigTreeClimateFund.com, which calculates your carbon footprint based on the number of miles you travel, your car’s fuel efficiency and what you recycle, among other factors. Once your emissions are tallied, the website prices your carbon offset and (with your donation) directly funds sustainable energy projects such as Brazilian reforestation and North Dakota wind farms. The cost for the average household is $300 per year.<br /> <br /> Reducing one’s carbon footprint is a top priority for three-fourths of Americans, according to research firm GfK roper. What else can you do? Try these other websites: <br /> <br /> » Cut your paper usage cut your paper usage with PrintGreener.com, where free downloadable software helps you eliminate unwanted text, images and those annoying banner ads from your pages. It claims to save you $100 a year on paper and ink while saving trees in the process. The site offers an upgraded version for businesses, which costs money but can track cumulative paper savings from all users. Check out FaxZero.com, too, where you can send two faxes a day for free (more if you pay) from computer to computer, sans paper.<br /> <br /> »Weed out the greenwashers <br /> Ever wonder if you’re dealing with a truly eco-friendly business, despite their claims? Bcorporation.net helps you weed out the phonies by vigorously screening businesses that say they’re committed to solving social and environmental problems. Monogramme Events & Catering LLC, a Humboldt park-based company that specializes in catering seasonal and sustainable foods, is one of a handful of B Corporations in Chicago. “To have a third party come in and say ‘yes, you are green’ is a seal of approval for my clients—proof that I’m not just talking smack,” said owner Melissa Graham.<br /> <br /> Find out which companies are actually talking smack by visiting GoodGuide.com, where you can compare the carbon footprints of your favorite products. The website considers delivery methods, recyclability of packaging materials, energy used in manufacturing and other factors when rating products.<br /> <br /> » Travel green <br /> Many Chicagoans want to lower their environmental impact but don’t want to limit their travel. So here are a couple ways to reduce your carbon emissions without shortening your trips: Log on to TerraPass.com, where you can choose an airline or flight by comparing its carbon footprint to others. For instance TerraPass.com says your American airlines flight from O’Hare international airport to LaGuardia expels 602 pounds of CO2, but the same trip on united airlines emits only 524 pounds. By choosing the latter, you make less of an impact without sacrificing your trip to New York.<br /> <br /> For ground travel check out ZimRide.com, a Match.com for commuters who want to carpool. Have a few extra seats in your sedan? Need a ride from Oak Park to Evanston? Find a carpooling buddy, and salvage some of the ozone.<br /> <br /> » Green your web surfing <br /> Did you know your blog or website eats energy every time you update it, and every time other people read it? Find out just how much energy at CO2Stats.com, which calculates your blog or website’s carbon footprint and then provides you with offsets to neutralize the consumption.<br /> <br /> And if you’re concerned about the energy used for hosting your website, try an environmentally friendly web hosting company like ThinkHost.com which powers 100 percent of its servers from wind and solar energy.<br /> <br /> After all these efforts, don’t you think you deserve some credit? MyEmissionsExchange.com does. This Web site (also called MyEex.com) actually pays through PayPal for lowering your carbon footprint. First, create a profile and enter your energy usage for the last year. Then enter your utility usage once a month and any reductions become certified carbon credits—similar to those granted to businesses and countries—which are bought from you by MyEex.com. Talk about a direct way to make green while going green.<br /> <br /> Happy shrinking!<br /> <br />

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