June 5, 2006
1. Look for goods carrying the flower logo of the European eco-label, which signifies superior environmental performance. So far the Eco-label has been awarded to 280 environmentally sound products and services from 25 product groups such as light bulbs, detergents, computers and a range of household appliances. For more information about where to find the "Eco-flower" go to http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/environment/ecolabel/index_en.htm
2. Consume locally produced, seasonal food - it's better for the environment because produce grown in artificial ecosystems or greenhouses requires a tremendous amount of energy for temperatures to be maintained. And transporting goods by plane from one side of the world to the other generates about 1,700 times more CO2 emissions than transporting them by truck over 50km.
3. Eat your veg! Producing meat is both CO2 and methane-intensive and requires large amounts of water. In fact, ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep and goats are large producers of methane due to the way that their digestive systems process food.
4. When buying garden furniture or other wooden products, try to make sure the wood comes from a sustainable forest management source and operation. Products carrying the FSC or PEFC labels (www.fsc.org and www.pefc.org) meet these requirements. Unsustainable forest practices contribute to deforestation, which is responsible for around 20% of global CO2 emissions. It usually involves burning down the forests, which causes CO2 emissions, and eliminates their capacity to absorb CO2.
5. Plant a tree. One tree of average size absorbs about 6kg of CO2 per year, so over 40 years it soaks up about 250kg of CO2.
6. If you need to buy a new copier or copy machine, buy a duplex-capable one, i.e. one that can print both sides of paper. If you make your copies in copy shops, ask them to set the machine to double-sided. You'll save energy on the production of paper.
7. Before you print a document or an e-mail, consider whether you really need to print it. A European citizen uses around 20kg of paper per month!
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