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Earth Day – just one day away

Signs of springApril is a feel good month. Yes it’s my birthday month, but here’s why everyone can feel good about April: spring is just around the corner with blooms and buds making their green debut, the Girl Guides are out selling cookies, you can donate your Petro-PointsTM to cancer (you can donate points year-round, but we see more donations in April perhaps because with Daffodil Days people are thinking about cancer) and April has Earth Day.

So, in honour of Earth Day, April 22, I visited www.earthday.ca. This site has a wealth of information and I encourage folks to check out the Eco-Action calculator to get a read on your eco-fitness.

Of course, just like physical  fitness, we sometimes need the reality of a measure (whether it’s lbs or GHGs) to tell us how we’re doing. You can also use this calculator to sign up for a year-long challenge with yourself, or you can challenge other teams. It’s a pretty cool tool.

So, I started the survey. It didn’t take long to see that I could set goals and encourage savings in GHG emissions, fuel use, waste accumulation, energy consumption and water use.

My results for phase 1 indicated I was good on transportation fuel (phew) – my use was reasonable and in line with my potential. But I had the potential i.e there was room for improvement in my broader energy use, water consumption and GHG emissions. All this of course would in turn equate to saving money.

By using the Eco-Action calculator, you can see how small, but meaningful steps can benefit the environment. There are questions, tips and challenges on everything from water use, reusable shopping bags, idling (of course), tire pressure to laundry (hang those clothes out to dry) and lighting.

The fuel efficiency part grabbed my attention (natch). According to the site, "If every driver of a light duty vehicle avoided idling by five minutes a day, collectively we would save 680 million litres of fuel, over 1.6 million tonnes of GHG emissions, and $646 million in fuel costs annually.”

That is a lot of bucks. It reminded me of how Jasper, Alberta banned idling in 2007. I’ll have to check into how that is working out for them.

And then, of course, my all time fave subjects, tire pressure. According to the earthday.ca site, if just one tire is underinflated by 20 per cent, you will use an additional 74 litres of fuel annually, which translates into 177 kilograms of GHGs. You can improve your gas mileage by more than three per cent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. The short story – check your tire pressure regularly.

The Eco-Action calculator is a great tool. It does take a bit of time to fill out but I think the information you get back makes it worth it.

However, if you don’t have the time, the site also has the requisite top 10 things you can do to help the environment. So, take a peek at those and do your part for Earth Day today, tomorrow and every day.


Photo credit: kaytethinks

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