What can you do to help the planet? Gayle admits she's not exactly an environmentalist, though she does recycle cans and newspapers. To get the facts on the environment and global warming, Gayle welcomes activist Laurie David, author of Stop Global Warming: The Solution Is You!.
Laurie says that every year, the Earth is getting hotter and hotter. "What we're doing is we're putting so much [carbon dioxide] in the atmosphere it's like putting warm, woolen blankets around the planet and there is no way to kick them off," Laurie says. "So the Earth is heating up."
Laurie says global warming could cause catastrophic weather patterns—huge hurricanes, abnormal rain patterns, extremely hot temperatures. The way to help stop global warming is to decrease our carbon dioxide emissions, which come from things like cars, coal-burning power plants and factories. "Our entire way of life emits CO2," Laurie says. "We didn't mean this to happen, but we now know it's happening. Human activity is causing a change in our climate."
Laurie says there are easy ways to help stop global warming. "We are all guilty," Laurie says. "We're all part of this problem so we all have to become part of the solution and the exciting thing about this issue is that there are so many things that we as individuals can do." Laurie stresses that it's not about perfection: "You don't have to do everything—you have to do something," she says.
Easy Ways to Help the Environment:
When purchasing things like toilet paper, paper napkins and paper towels, look for the label that reads "Post-consumer recycled material." "It seems a little crazy to me that we're still making those products from virgin trees," Laurie says. "We're cutting 100-year-old trees to make paper towels or paper napkins that you use for a second and then throw away."
Change your light bulbs to a compact fluorescent bulb. Although they are a little more expensive, you'll make the money back in your energy savings, and the bulbs last so much longer. "If every American household changed five bulbs in their house to this new compact fluorescent bulb—66% more energy efficient—it would be equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road for a year," Laurie says.
Unplug chargers for electronics like cell phones, Blackberries and iPods when you're not using them. "It's drawing energy, it's wasting energy—you're paying for that," Laurie says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, December 6, 2013