July 2010

The Greatest Threat to Rare Species: We All Have It

It’s not a machete, a string of poachers with stubbly beards, or a right wing conspiracy that animals and plants do not exist. The Internet itself has been declared the biggest threat to rare species. (And while I’ll note that many people do not have access to it, those of us able to read this post right now obviously do.) Since the invention of the Internet, poachers and animal smugglers across the globe have had better access than ever to selling their “wares,” such as gorilla hands as ashtrays, baby lions as pets, and even wine made from the bones of endangered tigers.

10 Alternative Ways to Cool Off, Part II

5. Use an Evaporative Cooler

These machines cost less and use less energy than traditional air conditioning units. They work by evaporating hot air and transferring it outside your home. These machines don’t work so well in the humid area where I live, but people who live in drier climates might find that they do just the trick.

4. Use a Single Unit

Single unit air conditioning uses a lot less energy than ones used for whole homes. Just use one for the room you’re in the most. My parents used to do this when we were kids, and they would put up sheets to block off the rest of the house during the summertime to keep the main rooms nice and cool. You could also use erika’s suggestion and try turning your thermostat up just five degrees for a major energy saving impact.

10 Alternative Ways to Cool Off

As environmentally conscious as I try to be, I’ve definitely got my faults. One is using too much air conditioning in the hot weather. We’ve been having heat advisories for the past few days, and I’m not sure if our air has kicked off at all. Sure, I have to keep my little girl cool, and being hot makes me super uncomfortable, but there are alternatives to use whenever the weather isn’t this unbearable every day. Here are ten alternatives that we all could try to cut down on our energy use this summer.

10. Open the Windows

This one is easy enough to do, if there is a nice breeze going on. Unfortunately for us, the only room that cools off if we do this is the living room; the rest of the windows don’t receive much of any breeze. So if we’re having a rare family evening, we can pretty much do this. If not, well, we’ll have to look toward another option!

The World Is Your Clothes Dryer

This time of year is the brief period when we in the Pacific Northwest can actually take advantage of a clothesline.  The rest of the year it's too cold, or too damp, or both.  (Ever tried drying your clothes on a clothesline when it's 48 degrees with 98% humidity?  I have.  It doesn't work.)

Clothes dryers of course use a ridiculous amount of electricity.  Fifty cents of electricity a load, or $193 a year according to this calculator.  (Which presupposes 15 cents per kilowatt hour.)  Aside from the cost, that electricity looks tidy coming out of your electrical outlets, but there's probably some messy environmental consequences on the other side.