Helping to moderate the impact of Climate Change
In Nunavut, the amount of fossil fuels used annually has grown from 152.1 million litres in 1999 to 173.9 million litres in 2007. This is a 14 per cent increase over eight years. But that upward trend is not inevitable. We now live in a world where there are alternatives to burning fossil fuels, such as wind, hydro-electric, and solar energy.
As well, there are actions you can take in your daily life that will mitigate — or moderate — the effects caused by climate change. One person alone cannot slow climate change and its effects, but every person can make a difference. By making small changes to your daily lifestyle, you can help reduce the use of fossil fuels and slow down the effects of climate change.
Here are some immediate ways you can decrease your use of fossil fuels:
1) Car pool, bike or walk
It is common for a household to have more than one car. Many families need multiple cars for busy schedules.
If every person in Canada drove their own car, there would be over 34 million cars on the road. According to the University of British Columbia, the average gasoline car consumes approximately 0.076 litres of fuel per kilometer traveled. If every Canadian had an average gasoline car and travelled alone for only 10 km to and from work, over 25 million litres of gasoline would be burned every day.
Consider car-pooling, biking or walking to work or on errands. If all drivers took just one extra passenger, gas consumption would be cut in half!
2) Unplug or turn off unused electronics
Even if you’re not actively using electronics like televisions and cell phone chargers, they’re still using electricity. This is called standby or phantom power. A lot of electronics that need to be accessed quickly will use power all the time. According to the International Energy Agency, a North American home can have up to 20 products using power in this way. This means that these products are taking up five to 10 per cent of the total electricity use in a home, and one per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Unplug household electronics that are not in use to save energy and a few dollars on your next electricity bill.
3) Change your light bulbs
Energy-efficient light bulbs lower your carbon emissions and save money because they use less energy. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if every house in America replaced just one light bulb with an energy-efficient one, it would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year. Imagine how much energy replacing every light bulb would save! Consider changing to energy-efficient light bulbs today.
4) Wait to wash, and make it cold
Wait until you have a full load to wash your laundry or run your dishwasher. Washing small loads wastes energy and large amounts of water.
Consider washing your laundry in cold water instead of warm or hot water. Most of the energy used doing laundry is from heating water. According to Tree Hugger, washing laundry in warm/hot water for one year uses the same amount of fossil fuel as burning 182 gallons of gasoline in a car. For the same time period, washing in cold water would use the same amount of fossil fuel as burning eight gallons of gasoline in a car. That’s a big difference!
 University of British Columbia Study http://c21.phas.ubc.ca/article/energy-use-cars-1-stop-and-go-driving
 Energy Star Document, posted on EPA http://www.energystar.gov/ia/business/challenge/learn_more/ResidentialHomeImprovement.pdf