In this issue
 
Welcome to AGCO's Eco Committee's Newsletter
Mow Your Leaves

Recycling fall leaves and adding them back into your lawn and gardens saves time and is great for the environment.

Use your mower to shred fall leaves, and then leave them on your lawn. As long as you can see the grass blades through the leaf pieces, the lawn will be fine. The shredded leaves will break down over winter, adding nutrients and organic material to the soil.

Shredded leaves can also be dug into your annual flower and vegetable gardens, where they’ll also break down over winter and improve the soil.

If you still have leaves left over, you can start a compost pile by mixing fall leaves with other yard waste. Leave out aggressive weeds and diseased and chemically treated plants. Most other organic materials can be added to your compost pile, but don’t add bones, meat, fatty foods, dairy products and pet waste. Composting is great for all types of gardens – big or small – as it enriches soil and lessens the need for water, fertilizers and pesticides. Even plants in containers and pots will benefit from the extra nutrients compost provides.



Green Household Tips for the Fall

Get your home ready for the colder weather and shrink your carbon footprint at the same time by following these eco-friendly household tips.

1. Put on a sweater
When the weather starts to get cooler, don’t turn up the thermostat – reach for a sweater instead. Not only will you save energy but you'll also save money. For each degree you turn down the thermostat, you could save up to four percent in monthly utility expenses. Replacing your furnace filters every few months and getting your heating system checked every year by a professional will also save you money in the long run.

2. Turn down the heat
Lower your water heater temperature to 49 degrees Celsius (from the standard manufacturer default of 60 degrees) to reduce your bills and to minimize any potential scalding risks. Lowering the temperature can also help increase the lifespan of the heater.

You can save between three and five percent in utility costs for every 10 degrees you lower the water temperature. Also, wrapping your water heater with an insulating blanket could save you an additional 4 to 9 percent. Blankets can be found in your local home improvement store.

3. Use some elbow grease
Before the cold weather sets in, take some time to clean your house from top to bottom. Using homemade, non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaners instead of conventional cleaners will keep air pollutants in your home to a minimum. Baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and water can keep your home germ- and toxin-free.

4. Plug those leaks
Sealing leaks around the house could save you anywhere between five to 30 percent in energy costs. Check all places where there could be a leak, including electrical outlets, door and window frames, baseboards and gaps around wiring and pipes. Don't forget to check the basement and attic, too. Caulk and seal around all of these spots to ensure you keep the warm air in and the cold air out.

Canadians Want Climate and Energy Strategy

According to a new poll conducted by Harris-Decima on behalf of Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada, Canadians strongly believe the country needs a climate and energy plan that will help Canada evolve to a low-carbon economy. Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed feel that an integrated method to climate change and energy is strongly needed to plan Canada’s energy future.

 

“Canadians recognize that we face the challenge of addressing climate disruption, but have the opportunity to do so by embracing clean, low-carbon energy,” says Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada. “An energy strategy that fails to explicitly integrate climate change will simply entrench business as usual, which will make Canada less competitive in the long run.”

 

Canadians were also asked to indicate to what degree they would prioritize a series of objectives for a potential Canadian energy strategy. They identified as a “top” or “high” priority “improving energy efficiency” (80 percent), “creating more jobs in clean energy” (73 percent), “reducing Canada’s carbon pollution to slow down climate change” (67 percent), and “reducing our reliance on fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal” (61 percent).

In contrast, only 31 percent of those surveyed placed a “top” or “high” priority on “exporting more of Canada’s oil and gas resources.”

The poll surveyed 1,000 Canadians by telephone between July 4 and 8 2013, and the survey reflects a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada (www.cleanenergycanada.org) is a solutions-focused initiative working to accelerate Canada’s transition to an energy-efficient, ecologically responsible, and prosperous low-carbon economy.

Oceans facing trio of threats

According to the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), a non-governmental group of leading scientists, the world’s oceans are facing a “deadly trio” of global warming, declining oxygen levels and acidification.

The oceans are continually warming, forcing many commercial fish stocks towards the poles and increasing the risk of extinction for certain marine species, regardless of a slower pace of temperature increases in the atmosphere this century, the study said.

The oceans are warming due to heat from an accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Oxygen levels in the waters are declining due to fertilizers and sewage that wash into the oceans and cause blooms of algae. And acid is being created when carbon dioxide in the air reacts with sea water.

This “deadly trio” of threats is greater than previously believed and is “seriously affecting how productive and efficient the ocean is,” the study said.