New Castle News

Healthy Living: Lori Brothers

May 22, 2014

Lori Brothers: CFL bulbs make a difference

NEW CASTLE — “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Henry Ford said this.  It is interesting that many years after his wise observation, our way of life and our health are being threatened by the result of greenhouse gas emissions from cars, and other carbon footprints, that are contributing to severe weather patterns globally.

I doubt that many of us are willing to completely give up our cars, but are we willing to work together?  One opportunity to do this is by changing our light bulbs, which may help balance the fossil fuel emissions and impact our weather and our health.

According to Weatherchannel.com, “If every U.S. family replaced just one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light (CFL), it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.”  

I’ve changed the light over my stove to a CFL bulb.  I don’t have windows in the kitchen, and I often leave that light turned on to light the room.  I’m certain it is making an impact.  Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.

The light bulb change is economical as well as ecological.  Weatherchannel.com contends that replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy and give off 70 percent less heat.

It is still wise to make an effort to drive less and drive smart.  Use a fuel-efficient car and carpool whenever possible.  Make a habit of walking or cycling whenever possible.  Your focus on more exercise can reduce more than your waistline.

Last week I focused on how asthma and allergies, blood pressure, joint pain, headache, COPD and other lung diseases and even suicide can have a link to sensitivity to extreme weather patterns.  This week I’m targeting what each of us can do to positively influence the persistent weather severity impacting chronic health issues for so many around the world.

If we watch what is happening around the globe, we can’t deny the recurring severe weather.  Research is finding that severity of all weather types is contributing to the strain on our health and the planet.

The World Health Organization has established many policies and recommends individual choices that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce major health benefits.  If we can all work together we can continue to make some changes, and contribute to more favorable weather patterns.   Embracing energy awareness, and continuing to conserve and recycle, will impact and steer underlying causes of severe weather toward stability.  We can also curtail related health challenges that are weather-related, one wise choice at a time.

You question whether we can we really make a difference?  Here are some more suggestions that are worth noting.

*Use less hot water.  Wash your clothes in warm or cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most households.

*Keep temperatures in your home moderate at all times.  Turn down the heat while you’re sleeping at night or away during the day.  Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter and 2 degrees higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.  This also conditions us to be more stress-hardy during weather extremes.

If we all make small changes, we can cooperatively help develop positive climate differences.  Just like visionary Henry Ford knew, working together is success.

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Healthy Living: Lori Brothers
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