On the heels of the big annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit, It’s fun to think about the possibility of getting a new car. I realize that in a perfectly green world, I would walk or ride my bicycle or take mass transit everywhere, but that just isn’t a workable reality where I am, so . . . The Detroit auto show and my participation in it were timely this year, because I am in fact looking for a new car as mine was trashed by a large oak tree during Sandy. In the midst of researching the greenest, most reliable, affordable and attainable cars available to me, my head is spinning and meanwhile I’m happily sharing my husband’s fancy Lexus Hybrid.
It is easy to get caught up in the idea of a shiny new car, but I wanted to remember some simple ways we can make whatever car we are currently driving a little greener and save some money while we’re at it!
Watch my segment on Ebru Today where I talk about driving greener . . .
6 simple tips for driving greener
1 Of Idle Minds & Idle Cars
When you’re idling, you get zero miles per gallon. That’s right. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. If you think you will wait more than 30 seconds, turn it off!
2 Pump it Up
Underinflated tires can cost you 1-2 mpg! Check your tires once a month; your owner’s manual will show you the recommended air pressure. Some cars even have a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb or on the inside of the fuel door. Get a decent air pressure gauge or fill your tires with 100% nitrogen – it keeps the tires at the proper air pressure longer than regular air.
3 Chill on the Gas & the Brakes and Cruise Baby
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, accelerating or decelerating too fast can lower your fuel economy by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% in the city! Don’t do a “jackrabbit” start when the light turns green. Use steady and smooth pressure on the gas pedal. Also, avoid heavy braking — anticipate upcoming red lights and coast to stop. Use cruise control when possible.
4 Slow Down!
The sweet spot for fuel economy is between 40 and 60 mph. The faster you drive, the more energy is needed to overcome the aerodynamic drag, causing your gas mileage to decrease by about 5 mpg for every 10 mph you go over 60 mph.
5 Lose Weight
An extra 100 pounds in your car can lower your fuel economy by 2% – wow! Guess I should lose those extra pounds, huh? Also, avoid a loaded roof rack, which can decrease your fuel economy by 5%.
6 Be Smart and Plan Errands and Trips
This may seem obvious, but it’s something that a lot of people don’t do. If you know where you’re going, you can shave off several miles off your trip. Also, when it’s cold outside, combine several short trips into one because a cold engine will decrease your fuel economy.
Had an excellent ramblin holidaze show this week in the Green Divas Radio Show studio and am thrilled we were able to record AND podcast finally! Even though I was on the tail end of the flu and was perhaps a bit fuzzy (at least vocally), we managed to get some timely, useful and relevant information in. We may have had more fun than format, but hey, we’re all getting into the spirit – or at least trying to – right? If you want some free entertainment with your green holiday ideas, please listen to the latest podcast of the Green Divas Radio Show.
Otherwise, here are some of the highlights . . .
Green Diva Foodie Fun
Green Divas Mizar, Meg and Jamie each offered one of their family favorite holiday recipes. GD Jamie talked about her father’s traditional latke recipe. GD Meg offered up her warm red cabbage salad recipe. And GD Mizar got us really hungry with her creme caramel recipe . . . Check out the full post for all the Green Diva Foodie Holiday Fav Recipes!
Green Diva Mizar’s DIY: Earth-Friendly Holiday Wrapping
Feature Interview: Sarah Finnie Robinson of Practically Green
This week we were thrilled to have Sarah Finnie Robinson of PracticallyGreen.com on the air with us. PracticallyGreen.com is a digital tool that makes being sustainable easy, fun and stress-free. They offer common sense ways to be more eco-conscience without having to go to crazy extremes.
One great feature of the site is the ‘Actions’ feature, which provides users with really simple and practical (practically green, right?) ideas for making green changes.
PracticallyGreen also offers a product section, where they do extensive background homework on every product, so that us consumers can have some confidence that their ‘green’ purchase isn’t green marketing hype or green washing.
Some criteria for the products found on PracticallyGreen.com . . .
They have to be energy-efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The product must reduce its water usage
Products that claim to be organic must be certified by the USDA
The products may not contain artificial colors, flavors, processed sweeteners, preservatives, and other chemicals or highly processed additives
Morning shows are fun, but they are kind of rough on a Monday morning! I have a new respect for all those morning show professionals who do it 5 days a week!
We had a great time with Ebru Today talking about getting greener in the kitchen. I kept my tips to things that were relatively easy, low or no-cost or in fact saved money. My philosophy on having a Green Diva kitchen is pretty simple and involves for basic ideas: a Green Diva Kitchen should . . .
produce yummy food
Watch me having fun on Ebru TV and learn some simple tips for having a greener kitchen:
6 Easy Ways to Have a Green Diva Kitchen
1. Use Cloth Napkins
Paper products currently account for one-third of the municipal waste in the U.S. – great case for using cloth napkins and dishtowels
Paper products: paper v. cloth napkins – manufacturing cloth napkins takes a little more energy, however to wash and reuse them multiple times makes up for it and saves a LOT of trees
you can also easily make your own from remnants
2. Buy More in Bulk
Buying bulk for dry goods can save on packaging AND money! Example: Organic dried cranberries on average are 98% less expensive than their packaged counterpart
Between a quarter and a third of all domestic waste is packaging: much of it food packaging
Until I interviewed the Dark Ranger (aka Kevin Poe), I hadn’t thought much about the seeming disappearance of the stars in the sky. I knew my suburban existence had something to do with not seeing as many stars as I remember as a kid, but I also figured I had romanticized that magical sparkly starry sky of my summer-camp days in the Berkshire mountains of Western Massachusetts. The other time I remember a fabulously star-filled sky was during a honeymoon trip to a pretty remote island – the tiki torches didn’t seem to diminish the twinkling of that night sky much at all.
Kevin (who I kept calling Ken during our first interview – Sorry Ken, I mean Kevin! Public apology #2), is a park ranger in Mt. Zion National Park and has made it somewhat of a life’s mission to help illuminate (cute, right?) us about why we need to start paying attention to light pollution.
Good reasons to be concerned about light pollution:
Waste of Energy – Let’s face it, there is probably a lot of over-illuminating going on, especially here in the US, where we have an obsession with keeping the lights on all night. According to the International Dark Sky Association, we burn up a whopping 22,000 gigawatt-hours of useless light that is pointed up towards the sky! Their math has this at an estimated cost (in terms of money) of $2.2 billion a year. In terms of carbon footprint?
3.6 million tons of coal or 12.9 million barrels of oil is used
to generated this type of lost light
Ecosystems & Wildlife – While light pollution can disrupt elements of the ecosystem in subtle ways that may ultimately have lasting effects, it has a definite and negative impact on nocturnal animals. In general all animals (including humans) have a biological code that follows a circadian rhythm, which is just a inherent natural clock. …read more of 8 Ways to Reduce Light Pollution & Keep the Stars Twinkling here
Why Should We Care? by Green Diva Meg These posts explore a myriad of topics relating to green, sustainable and healthy living and offer simple and clear information from the fun and quirky point of view of the Green Divas. Each post provides practical, no nonsense information on What Can We Do to make a difference.
We had a ROCKIN show this past week! We had a film crew in the studio for the show to help us launch our new Why Should We Care campaign on the radio show and for a web video series. And as if that wasn’t enough fun, we got to talk to a few of our favorite Green Divas and Dudes about what they are up to and added some great ideas to our Why Should We Care campaign . . .
Why We Should Care This week, we had two awesome call-ins for this segment:
First the beautiful Sarah Stavrou called in and talked about her design and textile company, Sarafine, and talked about why we should care about recycling. She recycles a lot of old cloth into pillows, jewelry and all kinds of beautiful pieces.
Then the always-fun and informative Ed Begley, Jr. called us and shared about his new project, On Begley Streetand of course, his continued passion for finding better ways to live more sustainably. He shared some great thoughts on how easy AND economical it is to get started on the green living path.