The Ocean Futures Society team returns to the Gulf of Mexico disaster for the second time following its expedition there in May. They know the route well and you can follow them in real time here. Now on site, they will travel to different locations to follow the oil, so check in often.
Please help us follow more than the oil; help us follow the solution.
As consumers, we depend on the use of oil. Now is the time to take a look at alternatives. For whatever you can afford, there are ways to work toward using renewable energies:
- Experiment with your own lifestyle! Take a day, a week, or a month to use limited or no fossil fuels. Instead focus only on renewable energy sources. Try walking, biking more, burning candles, using solar power. See what it's like. Know that for one day, you have helped the environment by consuming less.
- Carbon Offsetting supports the development of renewable energy while empowering people to shrink their carbon footprint. Take a moment and calculate your own carbon footprint.
- Want to buy locally but don’t always have the option? Or do you regularly ship packages? Consider minimizing the carbon footprint for your online purchases and shipments.
- Some studies estimate the internet will be producing 20 percent of the world's greenhouse gases by 2020. If you have a website, look into solar-powered hosting services.
- Did you know that the heavier your car, the less fuel efficient it becomes? An extra 50 pounds burns one percent more fuel. Take out the stuff in your trunk! And take off your car rack when not in use!
- On average, car tires lose 1 pound of pressure per square inch each month. Under-inflated tires can result in one extra tank of gas each year. Check your tire pressure when you get gas.
- Over 2.5 billion gallons of gas are burned while sitting in traffic and zero gallons are burned riding your bike and there is less bumper-to-bumper frustration.
- About 4 percent of U.S. energy consumption comes from using TVs. LCD screens use half the amount of energy as plasmas.
- Over its lifetime, just one tree can absorb more than one ton of CO2. Choose a tree that is native to your location, grows fast and has a long life. Plant a tree!
- Clothes dryers can produce up to 1400 pounds of CO2 in one year. Use a clothesline when the weather is nice.
- Junk the junk mail. The average person receives 11 pieces of junk mail per week, or 560 pieces a year (and the average person wastes 70 hours a year dealing with junk mail). That amounts to 4.5 million tons of junk mail each year with most going to the landfill unopened! This totals approximately 100 million trees being cut down.
- When searching on the internet consider using eco-friendly search engines such as Blackle, Green Maven or Ecocho.
- “Phantom Load.” Even when not in use, electronics that are plugged in are still using electricity. It is estimated that this phantom electricity accounts for 75 million tons of CO2 every year. So consider unplugging your electronics when you are not using them.
- We all know this, but do we all do it: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And then do it again!
Photo: 2010 Deep Horizon Oil Spill, Venice, Louisiana. © Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society