Unexpectedly Intriguing!
April 20, 2006

is this lousy review of their top 10 suggestions for slowing climate change! Whether it's halting global warming, stopping the next ice age, or no climate change at all, how effective are Yahoo!'s suggestions at reducing climate change? Let's get right to it, shall we?

1. Change a Light Bulb. Really. Yahoo! led off with a good suggestion here. We did the math and can show that that Compact Fluorescent (CF) lamps do, in fact, use substantially less energy than incandescent light bulbs and, more importantly, saves dollars in the long run.

But will replacing your regular incandescent light bulb with a CF lamp decrease climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

2. Leave Your Car in the Dust. We're pretty sure that Yahoo! doesn't mean that you should leave your car unwashed. Instead, the idea here is that you should carpool or take public transportation. The good news is that you can save some money by doing so. The bad news is that unless you live within easy walking distance between where your preferred mode of public transportation goes and everywhere you actually need to go, you'll lose more time (remember, time = money!) than you might save. Doubly so if your public transportation option stops everywhere public transportation stops. Then again, if you lived in a linear city, it might be worth it!

So, will leaving your car in the dust decrease climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

3. Power Up. Yahoo! suggests that you get your electricity from "green" power producing resources. Did you know some power companies sell consumers electricity that has been produced using renewable resources, such as wind or solar-generated power, and will even give you the option of purchasing electricity for your home use that are specifically produced at these facilities for just a small premium above the regular price! The best part? The electricity that the utility delivers looks just like the same stuff that's produced by burning carbon-based fuels, but we're sure that you will be able to tell the difference.

Will buying your electricity from these sources decrease climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

4. Drive Smart. You could drive a hybrid car or some other alternative fuel vehicle. Or, more interestingly, you could buy something called a TerraPass, which offsets the impact of the emissions produced by your car by decreasing emissions from other sources. So, for instance, you could buy a TerraPass, and the TerraPass people might go out and shoot a cow. That's right. A volatile-organic-compound-emitting cow. Dead. Well, on second thought, that's probably not what they would do, even though I'm pretty sure they enjoy hamburgers as much as the rest of us. Well, okay, maybe they don't enjoy hamburgers either....

Will any of these options decrease climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

5. End the Junk Mail Trail. Yahoo! says we can save trees and the energy used in paper production by taking our names off the mailing lists of the direct-mail advertisers. Seeing as the trees used in paper production are pretty much grown like crops for the purpose, I wonder what crop might replace them. Still there's that energy used in paper production that might be saved. Or used elsewhere. I don't think the Yahoo! people put all that much thought into this one, although that shouldn't stop you from taking your name of mailing lists - it's rather nice to just get mail from people billing you.

Will taking your name of mailing lists decrease climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

6. Power Down. Shut down your computer when you're not using it. Yahoo! claims you could save from $100 to $400 a year in electricity costs by doing so! Of course, if you're burning through that much electricity, it probably means you're due for an upgrade since today's computers are Energy Star compliant, meaning they power themselves down to a fraction of their active electricity consumption when not in use.

Will powering down your computer while you're not using it decrease climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

7. Buy Local. According to Yahoo!, produce grown in the U.S. travels 1500 miles, on average, to reach your grocery store. Yahoo! goes on to say that you can "save on fuel by buying from local growers," or by creating "your own community garden."

This suggestion shows why Yahoo!'s climate change reducing suggestion Number 2 doesn't compute. Even if it travels 1500 miles, produce travels by the foodstuff equivalent of public transportation. Replacing this transportation with the thousands of trips that the fellow members of your community would need to make to support local growers really doesn't make a whole bunch of sense - especially when you multiply those thousands by thousands of communities. Plus, you need to consider that all of you are getting city mileage instead of eco-friendly highway mileage! Unless, that is, you're driving that hybrid from suggestion Number 4.

The community garden idea is a nice one though, and you should give it serious consideration when deciding what crop to put in the space that your community is currently using to grow trees for paper production for its junk mail.

Will buying local reduce climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

8. Geek Out. Well, the list was created by the people at Yahoo! But seriously, their suggestion is that you use portable solar power generating cells to charge your personal electronic accessories. We think that's a neat option and when all electronic assessories are equipped with built-in solar cells and sufficient battery life to last through the night, we'll upgrade as needed. Then again, according to Yahoo!, we could pay the power company a little extra to only provide us electricity produced through solar power generating facilities that we can't tell apart from electricity produced through other means. Either way, geeky.

Will geeking out by charging up your personal electronic accessories with solar power sources decrease climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

9. Wash and Wear. We like this one! The newest and most efficient washing machines use a lot less energy than older ones. We like modern technology and newer, more efficient products that also save labor rank highly with us. Yahoo! also recommends that we line-dry our clothes, which is nice if you have the time and space to do so, and neighbors that don't mind seeing your laundry hanging outside your home for extended periods of time doesn't hurt either.

But, will getting a new washer and line-drying your clothes reduce climate change? No. At least, not in any measurable way.

10. Chip In. No, it's not enough to follow Yahoo!'s suggestions - you must give money to the organizations that are hard at work at reducing climate change. They've been at it for quite some time now, so if you must give your limited supply of money to just one of these organizations, you should give it to the one that can prove, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that it has slowed climate change the most. And why not? That's the highly effective organization that deserves your money the most.

I think you know, by now, what comes next....

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