Are you a Carbon Yeti?
The City of Bellevue is asking residents that question as part of a new campaign to help people curb their carbon emissions. Utilities staff have created a display, featuring a cheerful cartoon yeti (Bigfoot's Himalayan cousin) demonstrating 15 ways you can generate less of the carbon associated with climate change.
The Carbon Yeti shows how easy it is to shrink your "carbon footprint" by such simple practices as using compact fluorescent bulbs, recycling more and changing the thermostat setting by a couple of degrees.
The city is introducing the Carbon Yeti to sixth-graders in Bellevue's middle schools this spring through a partnership with Puget Sound Energy's Powerful Choices program. At presentations, students receive a "Smaller Footprint Pledge" book that explains global climate change and details the ways to save energy in and around one's home.
When the children take the booklets home, their parents see them and are encouraged to fill out a Smaller Footprint Pledge card, checking activities they currently practice to reduce their carbon footprint and circle new activities they will adopt. After sending the card to the city's Utilities Department, residents receive sun-catcher window decorations made out of recycled glass.
Other Bellevue residents can order Smaller Footprint Pledge books by calling Bellevue Utilities at 425-452-6932.
Carbon dioxide, the most plentiful greenhouse gas, traps the sun's heat and leads to global climate change. Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history.
Likely consequences if global climate changes continue at the present rate include reduced snow pack and drinking water shortages, flooding, forest fires, interrupted electricity supply and detrimental impacts to marine ecosystems (hurting fish populations) to name a few.
In June 2007 the Bellevue City Council endorsed steps in a comprehensive environmental stewardship initiative, pushing for preservation of the city's tree canopy and expansion of recycling at parks and ball fields.
Some easy things residents can do to reduce their carbon footprint include:
- Recycle half of your household waste. (Save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.)
- Reduce your garbage 10 percent by avoiding over packaged products. (Save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.)
- Set your thermostat down in the winter down (from 70 degrees to 68 degrees) and up in the summer (from 70 degrees to 72 degrees). (Save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.)
- Install a water-efficient showerhead to use less hot water. (Save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.)
- Insulate your water heater. (Save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.)
- Run ceiling fans in your home instead of air-conditioning. (Save up to 2,700 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.)
- Use a power strip for your computer, monitor, fax, copier, iPod and cell-phone chargers and any other electronic equipment; then switch it off when they are not in use. (Save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.)
- Drink tap water instead of bottled. (Save 52 pounds of carbon dioxide per year or 2 pounds per gallon jug.)
- Check and inflate your tires monthly. (Save 250 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.)
- Plant one tree. (Save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the tree.)
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