What can you do? 

  • ”Green Energy”: There’s only so much consumers can do to limit global warming pollution from power companies, but joining in Georgia Power’s Green Energy program is a start. By paying an extra $5.50 per month on your electric bill, you can donate to the company’s research into renewable energy, which includes switchgrass, woodchips, landfill gas and wind power. To learn more about the program, visit Georgia Power’s Green Energy page here.

  • Residential renewable power: You can bypass Georgia Power and install solar panels or wind turbines on the roof of your home, reducing your reliance on non-renewable energy from an outside source. Incoming solar energy isn’t as consistent in the Southeast as it is in the sunny Southwest, but any sunlight that hits your roof reduces your power bill and starts paying you back for the panels you bought. And wind power can cut power bills 50 percent to 90 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. There are dozens of companies that sell residential solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable technologies for individuals. To learn more, visit the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy page here. And to find out what you can do locally, contact the nonprofit Southface Energy Institute.

  • Efficiency: Since most electricity is still generated from coal, any reduction in your power use means that much less demand exists for coal-burning. There are lots of things you can do to make your home more energy-efficient, like better insulation, leaving on fewer lights and being less thermostat-happy. For more information, click here, or contact Southface for advice about efficiency.

  • Driving: Your car is likely your main contribution to the greenhouse effect. The less you use it, the better for Earth. That’s not always practical, though, but there are still options. Hybrid, flex-fuel or biodiesel cars all emit less carbon dioxide than standard vehicles, and you end up doling out less money at gas stations. You can find more info on alternative-fuels vehicles here.

  • Check yourself: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created this personal greenhouse gas calculator so you can test how much of the solution and/or the problem you are.

Get involved
There are lots of organizations dedicated to efficiency, sustainability and cleanliness of energy. Here are some of the main ones in Georgia:

  • Southface: Southface is an Atlanta-based group that promotes sustainability on all fronts. Southface holds monthly sustainability roundtables, and will hold its next one Fri., Aug. 4, at All Saints’ Episcopal Church on West Peachtree Street. For more information on Southface, visit its website at www.southface.org.

  • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy: SACE focuses on finding and implementing cleaner, renewable energy sources that don’t contribute to global warming. It recently received its first grant to work specifically on climate change issues and is helping to create a greenhouse gas registry in North Carolina. For more information on SACE, visit its website at www.cleanenergy.org.

  • Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is one of the country’s oldest environmental groups, formed in 1892 with John Muir as its first president. The club now has more than 750,000 members and chapters across the country, including one in Georgia. The Georgia chapter will hold a Smart Energy Solutions committee meeting Wed., Aug. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at its chapter office on Peachtree Street. For more information, visit the Georgia Sierra Club’s website at georgia.sierraclub.org.

  • Environment Georgia: Environment Georgia is the environmental branch of the Georgia Public Interest Research Group, part of a nationwide network of public advocacy groups focusing on consumer and environmental issues. For more information on Environment Georgia, visit its website at www.environmentgeorgia.org. For more information on its parent organization, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, click here.

CL's Political Party

Join us for a community discussion about Southern Co. and global warming at Creative Loafing's Political Party at Dad's Garage Theatre in Inman Park.

Free. 8 p.m., Wed., Aug. 9. 280 Elizabeth St. 404-523-3141.

For info on the show, go to www.clpoliticalparty.com.

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