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The One-Ton Challenge

The One-Tonne Challenge calls on every citizen in the industrialized world: to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by one ton or more in a year. The goal is to bring global warming under control by curtailing the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases into the atmosphere.

Our individual efforts are especially significant in countries like the US and Canada, where individuals release 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per person every year.

It sounds like a lot. But as you will see, reducing global warming is within our reach. Here’s how people around the world are making a difference.

For the Toronto student who’s finally living on her own. For the London punk. The retiree in San Diego who wants to shake up his routine. The urban environmentalist working two jobs in Tokyo. For the single mom in Hamburg who’s looking to the future.

Eat meat-free meals every other day. Vegetarian food requires much less energy to produce. CO2 savings = 487 pounds
Park the car for 60 days this year. Walk, cycle, or take public transit. CO2 savings = 917 pounds
Switch from hot to warm or cold water for every load of laundry. CO2 savings = 600 pounds

Total = 2,004 pounds (one ton)

For the whole extended family under a single roof in Seoul. The newlyweds in Chicago. The long-distance trucker coming home to pay the bills. For the small-town Finland doctor. For everyone in Hollywood.

Switch two standard light bulbs to more efficient fluorescent bulbs. CO2 savings = 1,000 pounds
Replace the current shower head with a low-flow model. CO2 savings = 300 pounds
Turn the thermostat down two degrees for one year. CO2 savings = 500 pounds
Cut vehicle fuel use by 10 gallons in 2007. CO2 savings = 200 pounds

Total = 2,000 pounds (one ton)

For the new grandfather in Dublin. The birdwatchers in Bern. The high school student trying to make her parents listen. For the Houston oil executive. And for armchair dreamers around the world.

• Replace the 20-year-old fridge with an energy-saver model. CO2 savings = 3,000 pounds
Send out one fewer 30-gallon bag of garbage per week. CO2 savings = 300 pounds
Leave the car at home two days per week this year. CO2 savings = 1,590 pounds
Recycle aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic, cardboard and newspapers. CO2 savings = 850 pounds

Total = 5,740 pounds (almost three tons!)

For more ideas, read: Global Warming: what we can do about it


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