Small Stuff Adds Up

| July / August 2006

1. You don't need a Prius to make an earth-friendly impact. In fact, research out of the University of Chicago shows that you can do more for the planet by going vegan. Twenty-eight percent of the typical U.S. diet comes from animal sources, reports the New Scientist (Dec. 17, 2005), and this omnivorous diet 'generates the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tons more carbon dioxide per person per year than a vegan diet with the same number of calories.' The difference between driving your dad's old Buick and a new hybrid is just over one ton. If you aren't ready to go vegan, the researchers suggest eating fewer processed animal products and choosing poultry over red meat.

2. If changing your diet isn't in the cards, consider changing the temperature-at work. The Japanese government's 'Cool Biz' campaign prodded firms such as the Oji Group to loosen the dress code and ease off the air conditioning. Last summer, the company kept the thermostat three degrees higher than usual at its company headquarters, going from 79 to 82 degrees. With this minor shift, reports Natural Life (March/April 2006), the company reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 97 tons. The program was so successful that last winter, they reversed the trend and set heaters at 68 degrees-nine degrees cooler than the year before. -Laine Bergeson