Harsh Facts of the Week
Motor vehicles are responsible for about one third of the world’s oil use. However, they account for almost two thirds of America’s oil use.
In the United States, 10,000 gallons of gasoline are burned in a single second.
In the state of California alone, the amount of gasoline vapors wafting out of gas station pumps totals 15,811 gallons a day.
On average, 1,143 gallons of gasoline are used per household per year. (If the vapors lost from Californian gas stations could somehow be saved, they could fulfill this annual usage for about fourteen households).
Americans now use motor vehicles for more than ninety percent of their daily trips. Keep in mind that a quarter of all car journeys are less than two miles.
An average person travels more than 9,000 miles a year by car, compared with less than 4,000 miles from four decades ago.
Children who live near streets used by more than 20,000 cars a day were six times more likely to develop cancer than those who lived in neighborhoods where traffic was less than 500 vehicles each day.
We live in a fast paced world, and for most of us, using a car is inevitable. However, we have also become so accustomed to this fast method of transportation that for many of us, walking or biking to a destination that is only a mile or two away seems like quite a lengthy and strenuous trip.
I will be going to college in a very bike-friendly city. I plan on bringing my car with me to college, but I have vowed to myself that I will only drive it when it’s absolutely necessary. For the rest of the time, I will be joining the hordes of walkers and bike riders in order to transport myself around campus, the city, and local attractions, such as the lake.
Where can you substitute a walk or a bike ride in your daily schedule? Have you been lacking in exercise lately? This could be the perfect opportunity for you to work off some fat, enjoy the outdoors, reduce your carbon emissions, and generally feel good about yourself.
To learn seventeen ways to make your car more fuel efficient, check out this past edition of “EcofriendlyEconomics.”
Ecofriendly EconomicsSave Vanishing Species Stamps
I graduated high school on June 20th (WOOOHOOO!). Two days later, I promptly had my graduation party (very successful, thank you everyone who came out and supported me), and now I have a slew of thank you cards to mail out. So, today, I went to the post office to buy stamps. The employee brought out a binder of options for me to look through, trying to help me find a design that would match my occasion. She showed me some “celebrate” stamps, some floral stamps, and then, on the last page, there was a sheet of beautiful tiger stamps. The heading on the sheet was “Save Vanishing Species.”
I asked “Do these raise money for endangered animals?” She said they did, and they cost ten cents extra a piece. I agreed to purchase them, smiling as I told her that my party guests would know that those suited me better anyways.
The back of the sheet states that “Under the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Act of 2010, the Postal Service will transfer the net proceeds from the sale of these stamps to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds.” The proceeds from these stamps go to funds supporting six different animals: African elephants, Asian elephants, great apes, rhinoceroses, tigers, and marine turtles. The website advertised on the sheet (http://www.fws.gov/international/save-vanishing-species-stamp.html) claims that as of March 31st, 2013, 20 million of these stamps have been sold, raising $2,101,000 for the Multinational Conservation Species Funds. That’s a lot of money!
The stamps I purchased!
Is it time to buy a new appliance, like a washer or a refrigerator? Your household appliances consume a lot of energy, so when choosing a new machine, take energy efficiency into serious consideration. Not only will it save energy, but over time, it will lighten the load on your wallet. Also, don’t feel bad about disposing of your old, out-dated appliances (which are most likely sucking up more energy than newer, improved versions). There are plenty of options available for you to recycle them. Read this post on smallfootprintfamily.com to learn more about recycling old appliances and finding energy efficient models.
Paper straw update!
In last week's "Ecofriendly Economics" section, I featured biodegradable paper straws, which are preferable over the conventional plastic straws. I then developed a business letter aimed at restaurants, asking owners to consider purchasing and supplying paper straws at their venue instead of plastic straws. I sent out nineteen of these letters to local restaurants and businesses in my area. If I receive any responses from these venues, I will include them on a Viridorari post.
If you want to send out your own letter to a local business, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the letter that I developed. All you'll have to do is fill in some easy blanks. Remember, power in numbers! Ask your friends and family members to send letters too. A business is much more likely to make changes if they receive multiple requests/complaints on the same issue.
Animal of the Month Update
The Ganges River in India, home to Ganges river shark.
Picture courtesy of: http://www.wwfindia.org/about_wwf/priority_species/lesser_known_species/ganges_shark/
The Ganges river shark is frequently blamed for attacks on humans in the Ganges. However, because it is easily confused with the more common bull shark, it is likely that bull sharks are to blame, especially considering the elusive nature of the Ganges shark.
The Ganges shark is most likely viviparous, meaning that it bears live young rather than eggs. Most shark species are viviparous. Baby sharks are called pups.