Video of Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo (H/T to Taylor who e-mailed me this one.  Hilarious.)  Consider this your Saturday giggle…

I got an e-mail from a reader last week asking if we could do a PUAC edition of “things we do to reduce our impact on the environment, conserve energy, and whatever else we can to reduce our big footprints on this little blue planet of ours (H/T Scientific American for a great summary article).  I’ve done a bit of reading on the subject, but not nearly enough, and some thinking about the things that my family does — and doesn’t do — so regularly.  The thing that keeps coming up in all of my research is that you start by making a few small changes…and if everyone does some small changes at the same time, it can add up to some serious impact.  And according to a recent UN report on man’s impact on the environment, we all need to start making those changes…yesterday.

As it happens, this week I discovered a company that allows you to make a small impact in terms of online purchases.  Full disclosure:  The way I discovered the company is that one of my husband’s partners did some legal work for them.  Mr. ReddHedd doesn’t do work for them, but he knew I’d be intrigued by the company’s mission, so he sent me the URL.  And now I’m going to share it with you.  But I wanted you to know how I found them, because it’s a bit of a conflict of interest in a roundabout way, and I want to be up front about it.

Anyway, the company is called EarthMoment, and it’s a sort of portal/price comparison website.  I ordered a few things from them this week, and then got to choose where my smallish “carbon offset” could be used.  I picked reforestation, thinking after the nastiness of the fires in CA, we could use some more trees.  I purchased things I already intended to buy, but this allowed me to do something extra…and I liked it.  I may use this site for some Christmas present purchases as well, once I see how things work with order delivery and such — haven’t gotten that far in the process just yet, having just ordered a few days ago. 

EarthMoment is run by the folks who publish Mother Earth News, among other magazines, and you can shop from something like a thousand different stores — and they take 50 percent of their commission-based revenue and donate it to Carbonfund.org.   (Their FAQ is here, and it is pretty thorough.) Since I do quite a bit of online shopping (living in WV, it’s a bit of a necessity for some things), this is a way to give back to something worthwhile for purchases I was already going to make anyway.  Bonus!

In terms of everyday choices, I thought these tips from an article in the UKTelegraph were particularly practical:

Soak it
Put dishes with caked-on food in the sink to soak rather than scrubbing under a running tap.

Turn off when you turn in
Switching your heating off before bedtime saves energy, and once you’re tucked in you’ll never notice the difference.

Open & close
In winter, open your curtains in the morning to let the sun warm the house, and close them at dusk to keep as much heat in as possible….

Home time?
Give your computer a good night’s rest, too, and you’ll save almost 2 tonnes of CO2 in a year….

Hung out to dry
Tumble dryers are a power-hungry appliance. Cutting down your habit by one cycle a week saves around 90kg of CO2 emissions a year.

I’d love to know the sorts of things you are doing to save some energy, or reduce your “footprint,” so to speak. We’ve gotten some insulation for our water heater, a blanket of sorts, that is supposed to keep the temperature more constant.  We do turn our heat down (or our A/C up) when we go to bed, but we don’t turn it all the way off.  We’ve also been switching out our light bulbs, but I’ve been reading that the ones we got may not be easily disposable…and that’s sort of the problem, isn’t it, knowing what is a good idea and what isn’t. 

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, and for a non-scientist like myself, doing the research can really give you a headache (which I think, sometimes, is intentional based on where some of the research is coming from…it pays to dig below the surface).

This morning, let’s talk about the things we can all do to make our world a bit better.  To make our load a bit lighter.  Or to save a bit on our energy bills.  Whatever your motivation, there are a lot of reasons to be more environmentally conscious, not the least of which is because what we do impacts everyone and everything around us.  I’d like The Peanut to grow up in a world where a whole lot of primates and frogs and birds and other animals and plant species haven’t simply disappeared except in her picture books.  So let’s talk environmental choices this morning.  Pull up a chair…

PS — Meant to link this up as a reminder: Here’s the link for Brave New Films coverage on the peace marches planned for today. And here’s a direct link to the protest organization website. I know a number of folks are interested in this, and I wanted to make sure to re-post the information for everyone this morning.