NewEnergyNews: BOOK: HOW TO LOSE FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS

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    Thursday, December 28, 2006

    BOOK: HOW TO LOSE FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS

    A Grass-Roots Push for a Low-Carbon Diet
    Moises Velasquez-Manoff, December 28, 2006 (The Christian Science Monitor)
    - David Gershon's book guides readers through a series of behavioral changes to reduce their 'carbon footprint.'

    - In 2000, Mr. Gershon created a step-by-step program, à la Weight Watchers, designed to reduce a person's carbon footprint…But since then, Americans witnessed the catastrophic fury of hurricane Katrina, which, if nothing else, showed them what a major city looks like underwater. A substantial body of evidence supporting the idea of human-induced global warming accumulated. And, of course, Mr. Gore made his movie.
    - Attitudes toward global warming had shifted considerably…
    - Gershon put his nose to the grindstone, and a slim workbook titled "Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds" was the result. Replete with checklists and illustrations, the user-friendly guide is a serious attempt at changing American energy-consumption behavior…The book guides participants through a month-long process of behavioral change. Each participant calculates his or her footprint - the average US household emits 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, the book says - and then browses a list of emissions-lowering actions. The goal is to reduce that amount bit by bit. Replacing an incandescent bulb with a fluorescent, for example, counts for a 100-pound annual reduction…the key to the program's success, say those who've participated, is in forming a support group…Like Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous, the formation of a group encourages follow-through…

    - Gore's group, The Climate Project, which recently began training 1,000 volunteers to give Gore's now-famous slide show, is handing out 600 copies of the book at the end of the session…a handful of environmental and religious groups are recommending the book to its members…

    - This growing interest in measurably reducing one's footprint is a textbook case of how new ideas spread throughout society, say sociologists, and how new movements are born…if a problem is to be acted upon, it has to be recognized as a problem…In the case of global warming and faith networks, the past year has seen some important steps in this regard. In February, evangelical leaders around the country broke with the Bush administration and, in an open letter called the Evangelical Climate Initiative, said something had to be done…Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said that, because of the summer heat wave, he was a "convert" to the idea…Once important figures in social groups adopt an idea, others in the group are much more likely to follow…
    - U.S. homes account for 8 percent of the world's emissions, with the average household contributing 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually…Here are a few of his book's recommendations and how much carbon he says participants can subtract from their footprints by following through:

    • Together, washers and dryers generate five pounds of carbon dioxide per cycle. In warm or hot water loads, 90 percent of the required energy goes to heat the water. Using cold water saves two pounds per load. Front-loading washing machines cut the amount of water used in half. Drying clothes on a clothesline further diminishes emissions. All in all, using cold water once per week shrinks your carbon footprint by 275 pounds each year; not using the dryer once a week gets you another 200. Replacing an old machine with an Energy Star front-loading washer saves 500 pounds a year.
    • A 10-minute shower generates up to four pounds of CO2. A 5-minute shower cuts that in half and a low-flow showerhead drops it further. In a household, each person who reduces their shower to five minutes cuts emissions by 175 pounds per year. A low-flow showerhead saves you another 250.
    • Request to be removed from junk mail lists, which needlessly contribute to waste. If you can reduce your weekly waste by 60 gallons, credit yourself with 2,650 pounds yearly.

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