Sustainability Pop Quiz

by Jamie Gonzales  |   

True or False: The big fish are in big decline.
True. A number of studies estimate that large predatory ocean fish have declined by 90 percent worldwide since the 1950s. Three-quarters of the world's major fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished. Buying sustainably fished seafood at restaurants and for home use, including Alaska salmon, is even more critical than other food choices, as so many species are on the brink, and harvesting practices have become so destructive.

How much money could I save if I carpooled?
You could save $435. In one year, two people who pair up to save on gas for their 20-mile weekday commute (assuming gas levels out at $3.69/gallon and the vehicle gets 22 mpg) could save enough to whisk a deserving significant other away for a weekend retreat. Or you could reward yourself with 40 trips to the movies. Or buy 439 copies of Angry Birds for all of your family, friends, neighbors and social networking acquaintances.

Does it make any difference if I toss my empty aluminum can?
Each can tossed wastes as much energy as pouring out half a can of gasoline. The nearly 50 billion aluminum cans trashed in 2005 (more than half of all the cans sold in the United States) could have saved enough energy to power 1.3 million American homes if they had been recycled. It takes 95 percent less energy to recycle aluminum than to manufacture it in the first place.

What is "vampire power"?
Electronics like stereo systems, DVD/Blu-Ray players and cordless telephones (some people still have home phones!) can suck energy while not in use. Vampire power use costs people in the U.S. an estimated $1 billion to $3.5 billion per year. We could de-commission five power plants if we eliminated it. Or buy a sports franchise with the cash we'd save (assuming everyone wants to chip their savings into the same pot and root for the same team -- Go Dodgers, anyone?). Solution: Plug your electronics into a power strip and switch off the power strip when you are not using the equipment.

For more information on sustainable practices, please contact the UAA Office of Sustainability at (907) 786-4634.

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