By Jami Miedema

It appears as if everyone is obsessed with “going green.”  Not only does it seem like the favorable thing for our earth, but it ultimately can save individuals thousands of dollars.  Even MSN is jumping on the bandwagon with this year’s debut of their new site  This site provides information and facts about green solutions and up-to-date news concerning environmental issues.

While browsing the website I came across a carbon calculator, which measures an individual’s “carbon footprint,” or carbon emissions impact on the environment.  It asks questions regarding people’s actions, such as how many flights they take, the type of car they drive, and the cost of some monthly heating bills, to estimate tons of carbon emissions per person per year.  I had always thought I did my part to be earth-friendly, so I was shocked to find that my personal impact was vastly greater than the national average of 7.5 tons per year.  Lucky for me, and Conservation International have ways for polluters like me to reduce our carbon footprint.

Some suggestions for decreasing carbon emissions include using fluorescent light bulbs as opposed to incandescent bulbs, turning the thermostat down 3 degrees in the winter and up 3 degrees in the summer, and washing laundry with cold water.  These simple steps can save thousands of pounds of carbon emissions per year.  Other effective recommendations propose using reusable glassware instead of bottles and cans, properly inflating car tires, and walking, biking, or carpooling as a main way of transportation.

For more information about how these solutions cut down on emissions, please visit  To find how your carbon footprint compares to the national average, visit