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Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Chemists Celebrate Earth Day 2009

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Chemists Celebrate Earth Day 2009

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Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Chemists Celebrate Earth Day 2009

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  1. American Chemical Society Reducing Your Carbon FootprintChemists Celebrate Earth Day 2009 American Chemical Society, Office of Community Activities, 1-800-227-5558 x6097 or Visit for hands-on activities, contests, local contacts and additional information!

  2. Atmospheric Properties & Processes Reference: International Global Atmospheric Chemistry American Chemical Society

  3. Human Impact on the Carbon Cycle “The red arrow, representing rapid fossil fuel burning, indicates the main way in which humans affect the natural carbon cycle. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are increasing because the natural system cannot keep pace with this new emission source. The natural processes that permanently remove this additional carbon - ocean uptake and sedimentation - work extremely slowly.” Reference: Upsetting the Carbon Balance – Exhibit on Global Warming at Koshland Science Museum American Chemical Society

  4. Major Human-Produced Greenhouse Gases “Many natural and human-made gases contribute to the greenhouse effect that warms the Earth's surface. Water vapor (H2O) is the most important, followed by: Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). This diagram shows the relative importance of the major human-produced greenhouse gases to current warming. CO2 is the most important followed in descending order by CH4, CFCs, Ozone (O3), and Nitrous Oxide (N2O).” Reference: CO2 and Other Greenhouse Gas Variations – Exhibit on Global Warming at Koshland Science Museum American Chemical Society

  5. Human Activity and Greenhouse Gases-1997 Data “The world’s economy runs on carbon: the “fuel” in fossil fuels. Coal, oil, and natural gas contribute energy to nearly every human endeavor in industrialized nations, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is a by-product of burning these fuels. This graph containing data for the U.S. illustrates how thoroughly fossil fuels and CO2 emissions are integrated into American life. CO2 contributes more to the recent increase in greenhouse warming than any other gas. CO2 persists in the atmosphere longer and longer as concentrations continue to rise.” Reference: Human Activity and Greenhouse Gases – Exhibit on Global Warming at Koshland Science Museum American Chemical Society

  6. Human Activity and Greenhouse Gases – Estimation Using 2000 Data • Global greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2000 weighted by their global warming potential and organized by sector. Based on estimation by the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research version 3.2, fast track 2000 project • Reference: Global Warming Art Greenhouse Gas by Sector American Chemical Society

  7. Reducing Other Greenhouse Gases “Methane is the second most significant cause of greenhouse warming, behind carbon dioxide. Cows are one of the world's greatest methane emitters because they exhale methane, a byproduct of the digestion of their grassy diet. The sheer size of cow herds makes a significant contribution to global warming.” Source: Reducing Other Greenhouse Gases – Exhibit on Global Warming at Koshland Science Museum American Chemical Society

  8. What You Can Do to Reduce Your Footprint • Whether you are at home, buying food, on the road or at work, the energy you use in your daily life has an impact on climate change. Reference: Global Warming – Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – Take Action American Chemical Society

  9. Take Action - At the Office • Recycle glass, paper, aluminum and plastics. • Buy recycled paper products and supplies. • Telecommute if possible. • Turn down the air conditioning. • Shutting off your computer at closing time will reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 83%. • Install a programmable light timer that reduces light usage during off-peak hours. • Install a programmable thermostat American Chemical Society

  10. Take Action - Inside the Home • Get a home energy audit to find out if your home is poorly insulated or energy efficient. Many utility companies offer this service for free. Go to for more information or contact your local utility company. • Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL). Check for possible rebates from your utility company. • Move your thermostat down 2° in the winter and up 2° in the summer. • Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner. • Install window shading. • Install a programmable thermostat. American Chemical Society

  11. Take Action - Inside the Home • Look for the Energy Star® label when choosing appliances. • Use less hot water, by installing a low flow showerhead and washing your clothes in cold or warm water, instead of hot water. • Turn off and unplug appliances not in use. Avoid using your appliances during peak hours, from 4pm to 6pm. • Turn down the thermostat on the water heater and wrap your older model with a water heater blanket. • Switch to Green Power. American Chemical Society

  12. Take Action - In the Kitchen • Support your local farmer. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community. To find a farmer's market in your area, visit Local Harvest - • Mind the tap. Conserve water in the kitchen and around the house and garden. • Buy fresh foods instead of frozen. Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce and deliver. • Avoid heavily packaged products and cut down on your garbage. Give back that extra napkin or sugar packet. Carry the gallon of milk by the handle instead of using a bag. • Buy organic foods. Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. • BYOB, Bring Your Own Bag, when you visit the grocery store. • Clean your refrigerator's coils and give it some breath American Chemical Society

  13. Take Action – On the Road • Cut back on driving by walking, biking or taking public transportation. • Start a carpool with your coworkers, classmates or friends. • Keep your car tuned up and your tires properly inflated. Giving your engine a tune-up can improve gas mileage by more than 4%. Replacing a clogged air filter can boost efficiency by 10%. And keeping your tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. • When purchasing a car, choose a fuel efficient vehicle. • Fly less and purchase "Carbon Offsets" to balance out your travel. • Travel Green. When going on vacation or on a business trip, take your "green principles" with you. American Chemical Society

  14. What’s the Size of Your Personal Footprint? Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator • How much land area does it take to support your lifestyle? • Find out your Footprint, discover your biggest areas of resource consumption, and learn what you can do to tread more lightly on the earth. American Chemical Society

  15. Consider a Career in Chemistry • In simplest terms, chemistry is the science of matter. Anything that can be touched, tasted, smelled, seen or felt is made of chemicals. • Chemists are the people who transform the everyday materials around us into amazing things. Some chemists work on cures for cancer while others monitor the ozone protecting us from the sun. Still others discover new materials to make our homes warmer in the winter, or new textiles to be used in the latest fashions. The knowledge gained through the study of chemistry opens many career pathways.” • To learn more about careers in chemistry, see American Chemical Society > Careers > What Chemists Do > Profiles of Chemists at Work at American Chemical Society

  16. References Gallery of Greenhouse Gases – Global Warming Art Global Warming - Reduce Your Carbon Footprint International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Koshland Science Museum – Global Warming Facts & Our Future World of Molecules US Department of Energy Carbon Foot Print American Chemical Society

  17. Additional Educational Material American Chemical Society

  18. Learn More About Molecules - Greenhouse Gases • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) • Methane (CH4) • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) (example: Trichlorofluoromethane) • Ozone (O3) • Nitrous Oxide (N2O) American Chemical Society

  19. Learn More About Molecules – Natural Gas Natural gas, which is about 80% Methane, with varying proportions of Ethane, Propane, and Butane, and is used as a fuel. For more information, please see: References for Learn More About Molecules pages: • Gallery of Greenhouse Gases – Global Warming Art • World of Molecules American Chemical Society