Thu08212014

Green dieting: What each of us can do locally to help the environment

You've no doubt heard or perhaps even tried a "Low Carb Diet," where you reduce your carbohydrate intake to create a better body. Consider instead a Low Carbon Diet: reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) you contribute to the atmosphere to help create a better world. By reducing the amount of electricity, natural gas, gasoline, water and "stuff" you use in your daily life, you can minimize your share of greenhouse gas pollution and do your part to alleviate the effects of climate change.

"What's at stake is severe impacts to the climate, economy and well-being that our children and grandchildren will inherit if we continue with 'business as usual,'" said Kacey Fitzpatrick, team leader for Cool Los Altos.

Cool Los Altos is a grassroots group that spreads climate change awareness (see sidebar).

"To succeed in curbing global warming requires action at all sectors: government, businesses and individuals," Fitzpatrick said. "There is both an economic imperative and a moral imperative to act in fundamentally new ways."

Cool Los Altos has issued a Low Carbon Challenge as a rallying call to Los Altos residents.

The Low Carbon Challenge is a pledge to cut your annual household CO2 emissions by 2,000 pounds. Cool Los Altos' goal is to sign up 500 families and reach 1 million pounds of reduction annually.

The challenge is geared to families that want to start living greener but haven't taken many steps yet. The items on the action menu are easy and/or inexpensive for everyone to enact.

"The Low Carbon Challenge was designed to be accessible and to make it easy for the typical family to begin doing their part," Fitzpatrick said.

And, what if you are already doing these things? Cool Los Altos members suggest you do the following: (1) get involved with them to help spread the word, (2) buy "The Low Carbon Diet" book through their Web site and start taking other new actions and (3) install solar panels in your home to offset most of your electricity usage.

Sign up at www.CoolLosAltos.org.

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