Archive for January, 2009

Green and Easy Ways to Cut Your Electricity Bill

With President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan  moving to the Senate, Obama pledges to jump-start the economy. “This is not just a short-term program to boost employment,” he said. “It’s one that will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century.”  Some (and not even close to all) of the country’s serious challenges include updating our electric grid and weatherizing over 2 million homes.  Thankfully, this will not only provide much needed employment, but will steer Americans’ progressive green agenda.  So what kind of energy saving promises can we as individuals make? 

Here are some great investments in energy savings you can do at home:


·         To wrap the water heater in an insulation blanket to store heat.  Why make this earth promise? This can save about 25% of the energy in your home. 

·         To installer dimmer switches on lights in areas of the house where they would be useful.

·         To adjust the thermostat when away from the home travelling .  Installing a programmable thermostat can pay for itself in just one season!

·         To put door sweeps on all doors to prevent heat or air conditioning to escape

It is important to note that maintaining your heating and air conditioning systems with a $50-$100 annual tune-up will help keep it operating efficiently and reduce your costs up to 5%.

Be sure to visit, Earth Promise, for more energy saving tips.

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Greening Your Electronic Habits

Think of all the electronics in your house: in the kitchen you have the refrigerator, dishwasher, toaster, coffee maker, can-opener, microwave.  Move to the bathroom:  hairdryer and electric razor.  Think of your living room/family room: TV, DVD player, video game console.  Your home office has your computer and cell phone charger. Pretty unbelievable considering we haven’t even touched on every  electronic in these rooms or even the other rooms of the house!

Here are some great ideas on how to greenify your home without changing your lifestyle:

Cell phones and video games are two of the many electronics that people are starting to purchase on an annual basis.  It is necessary, then, to change our end of use habits.

 Many stores, gyms, and community centers have boxes set up to collect old, used cell phones to donate to victims of domestic violence. A brother and sister from Massachusetts started a worthy program, Cell Phones For Soldiers, where they collect discarded cell phones and send them to soldiers around the world.

Little did I know, you can actually get cash (from a few dollars to over $100) for your old, used cell phone. Check out, Simply, find your model cell phone, request a postage paid box, and send back the cell phone with its charger. They will verify all the contents and mail you a check. Cell For Cash has many models to choose from, but if your particular phone is quite archaic, you just may have to donate it. Cell For Cash has a variety of safe options for you to recycle your cell phone.

So what to do with the old video games and consoles? One idea would be to donate electronic items or games that still work to a local day care center, school, or charity.  Another good option is, Gazelle, an online site whose primary goal is to be your one stop-shop for selling or recycling all consumer electronics.

Be aware of all the plugs and outlets you are using. Ask yourself if it is an appliance that can be unplugged when not in use.  Every little bolt of electricity makes a difference in the end.

For more changes you can make around your house, visit, Earth Promise.

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Basic Green Bathroom Ideas

Continuing from yesterday’s list of small changes within your house that can have a big impact on our environment, we’re moving out of kitchen and into the bathroom.   These basic green bathroom ideas will save you water, energy and quite important in today’s economic climate, they will save you money.

– For a great investment, purchasing a low-flow toilet will, no doubt, pay you back over time.  However, if replacing your toilet does not fit into your budget these days, here’s another option:  To place a small plastic bottles, filled with water or stones in the toilet tanks to displace the amount of water in toilets, causing a “low-flush toilet” effect

Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.  Think about all that water going down the drain as you brush!

Take shorter showers

Replace your shower head with a low-flow version.  Installing a low-flow head is the best way to conserve water. These low-flow shower heads range from $8 to $50 depending upon the features. Important to note: these low-flow varieties will lower water waste, and still offer strong shower head pressure. 

To plug the drain in the tub before turning on the water instead of waiting for it to get warm.

Use 100% recycled toilet paper


To get inspired with more great green changes that you can do in your home, visit, Earth Promise.


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Cooking Tips To Help Your Environment and Your Wallet

In his memorable inaugural address, Obama acknowledged the economic and employment crisis we are in, but also promised to “invest in our most important priorities like energy.”  President Barack Obama plans to unite these top priorities, the economy and jobs, with the change of ideals concerning our environment.

How can we as individuals help?  Over the next few days, I’ll go through each area of the house to give some easy, yet impactful changes you can make.  Not only will they lesson your carbon footprint, but save you money.  Now doesn’t that sound nice?

Here are some Earth Promises you can easily implement when you cook:

·         To keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible

·         Always cover your pots when boiling water so that it boils quicker and thus uses less energy from the stove.

·         To use my toaster instead of the oven for smaller amounts of food that needs to be heated up or cooked.

·         To keep the microwave clean in order to maximize its performance

·         To cook in bulk and store in the refrigerator or freezer to lessen the frequency of using the stove.


So keep in mind that going “green” is not an extravagance; it is a necessity today.  Every small change you make is impactful, economically, and for valuable for our Earth’s sustainability.


Check back tomorrow for more Earth Promise changes you can easily apply to your life. 

If you want to receive Earth Promise blogs by email, click here


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An Open Letter to President Obama About the Environment

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations to you, your family, to this country and all others around the world.  With you as our president, many aspects of our society will improve as we leave one administration and start another. 

Today is a day of service your wife has led, Martin Luther King Day, and the final countdown to your inauguration.  While you have a lot to turn your attention to, I ask you to make the environment and the climate crisis a focal point.  It is connected to so many aspects of our lives and policies, and as you have indicated, it is important to make it one of our top priorities.  I am the Founder of Earth Promise (, an online community dedicated to bringing people together who want to take better care of the environment.  We provide an easy way for people to make, track and keep promises about actions that will benefit the earth.  I am writing today to learn about your Earth Promises and how you can impact those made by others.  You are the leader to move us forth.  President Bush did not view this as a top priority.  I ask you to please make it one.

Why am I writing this letter to you?  It is for your two daughters.  It is for my two daughters.  It is for their generation and the ones that follow.  Yes, we will pay the price for inaction on this issue.  But left as is, it will get worse and worse for them.     

We all need to think about the environment, and how it affects us and our future generations.  The polar bears, the trees, the ice caps cannot speak.  We need to take action and help them.   We need to take action to protect them.  We need to take action and speak for them.  I think Dr. Seuss said it best in his book The Lorax, written WAY ahead of its time (1971).  “I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.” We need to speak for the trees.

Your New Energy Plan for America is an outline for success in this area with support.  We need the backing of politicians and corporations to help us down the path to fix this crisis.  We also need the average person.  They need to be educated on the impact of global warming and know they can take steps to help.  While there are many sites, TV shows, and movies about this issue, no voice can come through stronger to people than yours.  Speak for the trees.

An individual has many opportunities to take action and make Earth Promises or changes in their lifestyles to benefit the environment.  From reducing ones use of water, electricity, and gas and reducing the amount of waste, all of us can make a difference.   These potential changes can be seen in all aspects of our lives from the home and school to shopping and food to travel and cars.  Many are easy steps that may not appear to be a lot on its own, but when many people take similar actions, the impact grows exponentially. 

You can help with these Earth Promises as well.  We need your help to generate momentum to create programs that enable, incent and drive groups of people to make these Earth Promises.  Encouraging schools to implement recycling programs and give them an incentive to do so.  For top schools, maybe that incentive is new energy efficient computers, or even a trip to visit you.  The effect of such a program will not only have a direct effect on the environment but will teach students about the crisis.  Think of the viral impact.  How about working with retailers to eliminate the use of plastic bags?  Give a tax credit not just for being in a certain tax bracket, but for taking action to help the environment.  What about a program revolving around planting trees? 

While many people are already taking steps to help the environment, there are still many who are not.  We need to change them from just thinking green to acting green.  With your words, with your guidance, with your encouragement, you can make these Earth Promises part of the lives of more and more people. 

As my colleagues and I worked on taglines for Earth Promise, we kept coming up with ones that included the word Change.  Of course, you ended up taking a lot of the good ones! But it is what we need to do regarding global warming and the climate crisis.  In the end, we decided on a tagline that works as well.  It is Caring Together.  We need to care for this planet, care for our trees and animals, and care for ourselves.  But mostly, together we need to care for our future generations.  For our daughters, and for our future.

I wish you nothing but the best as you steer this country down the path it needs to go.


Adam Berg

Founder, Earth Promise

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Obama’s Next Pick in the Dog House?

The news is inundated with President-elect Obama’s new economic team picks: Christina Romer to head his Council of Economic Advisers, Timothy Geithner, chosen as secretary of the Treasury, and Lawrence Summers, who will be the top White House economic adviser as head of the National Economic Council.   These intellectual decisions demonstrate Obama’s desire to have a successful team.  “Understand where the vision for change comes from first and foremost: it comes from me.” 

But Barack Obama is not alone in his next important pick:  choosing the right family dog.  “This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary.”  This family choice has been narrowed down to the Labradoodle and the Portuguese Water Dog, according to AOL News.

And since the planet is also one of the soon-to-be President’s top priorities, the Obama family needs to be aware of their furry friend’s carbon paw print.  PlanetGreen simply provides a list of ways to greenify your family pet: Composting the dog’s poop, choosing the appropriate natural and organic pet food, or tagging your pet using an electronic ID chip are all eco-friendly choices.  To get more information about the Obama’s dog finalists, check out Petstyle.

Earth Promise’s goal bring to people together people to make, track and keep promises about actions that will benefit the earth has a slew of green pet ideas for the Obamas and you:

To buy pet treats with no packaging (from the pet store treat bar).

To buy a collar for my pet that is made of organic canvas instead of nylon.

To buy only pet toys made from recycled materials.

To buy a pet bed that is filled with recycled fiber.

To speak to my veterinarian about putting my pet on a vegetarian diet, or feeding them food with less meat, poultry or fish.

So, whatever color dog (or any pet) you decide for your family, make sure it is a green one!


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Michelle Obama’s Call to Service

Change does not have to wait until President elect Barack Obama is sworn into office, January 20, 2009.  Michelle Obama has invited our nation to participate in a day of service on January 19, 2009.  She parallels the Renew America Together initiative to Martin Luther King, Jr. since his life’s message was to rebuild our country and conquer the challenges that lie ahead.  This is not to say that we Americans should dedicate a single day to volunteer; we need to make this an ongoing commitment.

A plethora of community service events throughout the country have been organized to answer President elect Obama’s call to make a change.  To be a part of this historic pre-inaugural event, visit,, to sign up to participate or host a service event in your community.

Some of the events being hosted around the nation are:

  • Beach clean-ups
  • Park clean-ups
  • Food drives
  • Blood drives
  • Habitat for Humanity events
  • Clothing drives
  • Tree plantings

Make our nation’s enthusiasm for change a lasting commitment.  For some ideas regarding how small changes can make a big difference, visit,

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