Happy Earth Day!

Here in Fairfield, we actually have an Earth Day Festival that takes place a few weeks after the actual, official Earth Day. I am on the festival's committee, and have been spending a lot of time recently putting together a guidebook of exhibitors, as well as "green" tips, recipes, and articles. Actually, I think it's rather appropriate that today is the day that the files are going to the printer.

In our little guidebook, there's a bunch of little factoids dispersed throughout. In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would share some with you. Many thanks to the talented Lauren Bove, who pulled all of this information together for me:

If the U.S. average miles per gallon of all automobiles was brought to 35 mpg, it would reduce global warming pollution and save more than 1.1 million barrels of oil each day or half of what the U.S. currently imports from the Persian Gulf.

Honda was rated the cleanest automaker by the biennial Automaker Rankings report from the Union of Concerned Scientists as of 8/27/08.

Chrysler was rated the dirtiest by the same agency.

Recycling saves energy: Creating a new aluminum can from scratch takes 95% more energy than making a can from recycled aluminum.

Energy Star notes that in the average home, 40% of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Across the US, this equals the annual output of 17 power plants.

Swapping 16 incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) saves emissions equivalent to taking a car off the road for a year.

Americans use about 385 million gallons of gasoline every day, which means more than a gallon of gasoline every day for every man, woman and child.

If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees. (NRDC)

Since 1980, the earth has experienced 19 of its 20 hottest years on record, with 2005 and 1998 tied for the hottest and 2002 and 2003 coming in second and third. (NRDC)

The polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of 9% per decade. NASA has reported Arctic ice thickness has almost halved since the 1960s.

Paper products are bleached to make them whiter and brighter. The chlorine used in many bleaching processes contributes to the formation of harmful chemicals that wind up in our air and water and are highly toxic to people and fish. (NRDC)

About one-sixth of the wood delivered to a construction site is never used. Instead, it's hauled to the landfill as wood waste scraps. (NRDC)

Half of the forests that originally covered 48% of the Earth's land surface are gone. Only 1/5th of the Earth's original forests remain pristine and undisturbed. (NRDC)

55% of our trash goes to landfills, 14% is burned, and 31% is recycled. (Energy Information Administration)

The U.S. uses nearly $1 million worth of energy every minute. (Energy Information Administration)

The removable roof rack on a car can reduce fuel economy by as much as 5%, states the EPA.

The National Recycling Coalition reports that recycling supports 1.1 million jobs in the U.S. (Energy Information Administration)

The average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day, which is almost twice the amount of trash the average American produced daily in 1960. (Energy Information Administration)

Some of these facts are just plain scary. I hope you join me in celebrating Earth Day today, by adopting some small changes to your everyday life that will hopefully, in the long run, make a difference. And if you're in or around Fairfield, CT on 5/9, stop by Fairfield Warde High School and join Fairfield's Earth Day Celebration!

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