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Culture

When it comes to global warming, it's the little things

When it comes to fighting global warming, it's the little things we do that will make the difference. So why not do it? It's not just energy bills anymore--now it's all about the carbon.

It's been said before, but can't be said enough. This is not a technology problem. When it comes to fighting global warming, it's the little things we do that will make the difference.

The average American consumer is responsible for about 9-10 tons of carbon emissions per year.

The big three culprits for us consumers: 1) Car miles driven and car size; 2) Power used; 3) Airline miles flown

Here are my favorite little things:

1) When you have the option, drive the family car with the best gas mileage and drive together--no more three-car families driving to church in three separate cars. And my favorite, which I will harp on until the consumer gets it: when you buy that next car, don't worry about the hybrid or no-hybrid decision, just buy one size smaller than you were planning. It IS all about the size.

2) Look to your AC and heating bill--whether it's electric or gas, this is a biggie. Shorter (or colder) showers, adjusting the thermostat (or off during the day while you're gone), washing half your laundry in cold water, and for the love of grief, close the blinds during the day in the summer, and open them in the winter. We can make a difference.

The general rule of thumb is that if you just pay attention to your power bills, you can make small changes that save 10-20 percent.

And 3) When planning who's going where for Christmas and vacation, we now generally factor in price. Why not compare all the trips on carbon, too? Shorter is better, and the fewer of us who have to travel, the better off the planet is.

So why not do it? It's not just energy bills anymore; now it's all about the carbon.