Life in the Green Lane

Environmental journalist Candice Batista shares video clips and eco-savvy advice from her TV show, A Greener Toronto.

This week its about losing wight, no, not that kind of weight...I am referring to the hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide that is emitted when we burn fossil fuels. We burn fossil fuels when we use our cars, heat or cool our homes, run our appliances or make hot water. It's common knowledge that carbon dioxide or CO2 is a major contributor to global warming, and each of us is contributing to the problem by putting out about 22 tons of CO2 each year, just by living our lives. Here’s how to lose some of that weight: By making a few changes at home, you can save money and save the planet. Lets start in the bathroom, the average shower lasts about 8 minutes, if you can do it in six, you’ll cut about 342lbs of CO2 emissions every year. If you add a low flow shower head, you’ll save even more - about 20,000 gallons of water a year. When it comes to our diets, most of us get about 30 percent of our calories from meat, dairy and poultry and this diet contributes over 32-hundred pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere each year. Vegetarian diets certainly contribute less and you can reduce about a thousand pounds of carbon output just by cutting red meat out of your diet. Have a light bulb moment by installing CFL’s, replacing one 75 watt bulb with a 19 watt compact fluorescent, reducing your CO2 emissions by about 55 pounds per year. You’ll also want to make sure your fridge is on a carbon diet. If it's made before 2001, it is less efficient. Energy Star models however, will help you cut about 500 pounds of CO2 every year. Recycling is another great way to loose those excess pounds. Recycling paper, plastic and glass cuts 1000lbs of CO2 emissions each year. Finally, a few simple things in the laundry room will help too: 90 percent of the electricity a washing machine uses goes to heat the water. If you wash just half your loads in cold water, you'll drop at least 500 lbs from your carbon total. But the dryer is the big culprit - try drying some of your clothes on a line or a rack, saving 723 lbs of carbon emissions. Amazingly even making these small changes could reduce about 2 tonnes of harmful CO2 from polluting our atmosphere. EcoCandy.