Earthday is tomorrow, April 22, 2009 so I wanted to share this article with you about being green. Written by Mary Yonkers.
"It ain't easy being Green!" Kermie
KERMIT THE FROG "It ain't easy being Green." This quote made famous by Kermit the Frog from Sesame Street & The Muppets described pre-1970's sentiment about environmental issues. Energy costs and gasoline were very inexpensive compared to today. Some of us may remember gas prices under $1.00, right? Landfills accepted all waste products and few thought about recycling or reusing.
EARTH DAY On Wednesday, April 22nd, the world will celebrate Earth Day and more and more individuals and companies are proclaiming their greenness. Today it is hard to turn on the TV or internet or thumb through print media without hearing or seeing an article about Green. The organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970 hoped to bring attention to the fragileness of our planet. Rallies were held on college campuses and in a few major cities around the world. Many main-stream adults viewed the participants as grown-up hippies or cross-over demonstrators of the anti-Vietnam rallies.
OIL EMBARGO The oil embargo in the fall of 1973 led to long lines at the gas pump and a moratorium on new installation of gas lines to new construction. Gone were the days of cheap gas and for a brief period Americans traded their big gas guzzlers for smaller more economical vehicles.
BIG IS BETTER Big Is Better is about as American as apple pie & ice cream. So it wasn't long before long many Americans reverted back to "Big Is Better" motto in both vehicles and housing. Full size cars included the Lincoln Town Car, Crown Vicotoria and Cadillac. The SUV market replaced the station wagon from the 50's and steadily grew bigger & bigger each year. Popular SUV's were Cadillace Escalade, Lincoln Navigator and the granddady of SUV's the Hummer. New residential homes grew in size from three & four bedroom homes with an average of 2000 square feet and two car garage to 3,500 to 5,000 with five bedrooms and three car garages. Just listed for $150,000,000 is the largest residence in the United States with 100 rooms and 56,500 square feet. The current owner is trading her McMansion for 16,500 penthouse condo in downtown LA high-rise.
THE GREEN BUZZ Today it is hard to turn on the TV or computer or thumb through print media without hearing or reading an article about Green issues. What caused the shift to being Green?
- GLOBAL WARMING The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824 but received little attention outside the scientific world until late in the 20th century. During the 1970's and 1980's a few environmentalists worked tirelessly to garner interest in global warming and the need to conserve natural resources and begin recycling. Former vice-president, Al Gore, an active proponent of environmental issues, won an award for his documentary film An Inconvenient Truth bringing the magnitude of global warning to the forefront.
- RISING ENERGY COSTS Gas prices began rising rapidly in 2007 and reached over $4.00 per gallon by fall of 2008. Once again Americans flocked to smaller, more efficient cars especially hybrid cars that get 50+ miles per gallon. However the cost of these cars is often more expensive than traditional vehicles. Many 2008 presidential candidates pledged to work toward curbing energy costs from traditional sources and to continue the search for alternative energy sources.
- INDOOR AIR QUALITY Concern for a healthy environment has been gaining strength since Legionnaire Disease was first diagnosed in 1976. Americans spend as much as 90 % of their time indoors whether at work or home. The EPA reports that indoor air can be much less healthy than even the most polluted outdoor air. More and more people are suffering from asthma, migraines and allergies. Among the pollutants causing the problem are lead paint, UFFI, radon, asbestos and mold along hazardous waste buried in the ground. Fortunately, many state laws now require the seller to complete a disclosure at time of sale.
- DEPLETION OF NATURAL RESOURCES Environmentalists have been warning us that the increased demand for oil, gas and coal by industrialized countries is rapidly depleting our supply. Recent droughts in Africa, southeastern Australia and southwestern United States have received much coverage recently.
GREEN SHIFT The change in the lighting industry from incandescent bulbs to CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) is one of the most visible shifts to Green. Interestingly CFL light bulbs were invented in 1937, but the technology to mass produce them economically did not exist until 2007. The initial cost for CFL bulbs is still higher but last longer and use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. The market reaction was slow at first because the light produced was dim when first turned on and the bulbs were larger than some lamps could accomodate. The CFLs sold today are smaller and turn on almost instantly (within one second). They are available for use with dimmer switches, three-way lamps, track and recessed lighting.
KERMIE Today it is easier than ever for pads like his to go green. "Rib-bit"