Lester Brown has been tackling environmental issues for more than four decades, and now as president of the Earth Policy Institute, he is trying to educate the public about solutions to environmental problems. Lester talks with Dr. Oz about his book, Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble
, and offers some tips to consumers that could help save the environment.
Lester says that between an increase in population worldwide and greater consumption of major commodities, the availably of natural resources is at risk in the near future. Lester suggests that everyone follow these tips as the first steps toward protecting the earth:
- Drink tap water instead of bottled water. "It takes millions of barrels of oil to produce the plastic bottles, 80 percent of which end up in the landfill, costing us in terms of garbage disposal," Lester says. Bottled water costs us about a thousand times as much as tap water, he says.
- Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs cut energy use by roughly 80 percent or more compared to incandescent lightbulbs, Lester says. Australia and Canada have announced plans to ban incandescent lightbulbs and Lester says the United States and Europe will likely follow suit. "[Incandescent lightbulbs] just don't make economic or environmental sense anymore."
- Buy a hybrid car. People could do most of their short distance driving—daily commutes, grocery shopping—with electricity, Lester says. "You would need the back up tank of gasoline for the hybrid car only when you are doing longer trips," he says.
- Invest in wind, solar and geothermal energy companies. "We have so much wind energy in this country and if we invest in hundreds of wind farms across the country…we could run our cars largely on wind energy and wouldn't have to worry about the oil supply coming from the Middle East," Lester says.
- Write to your government representatives. Lester says we should ask our representatives to lower income taxes and raise taxes on gasoline and coal-fired power plants. "Once we do that, the market will begin to steer the economy in an environmentally sustainable direction, and it will steer the economy away from coal-fired power plants toward wind farms and solar collectors," he says.