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Re: [GreenYes] Use Less Stuff Day
Here is the last version I received dated 6/00.


The ULS Report

Helping people conserve resources and reduce waste by Using Less Stuff

April-May-June 2000
Volume 7, Number 2

Remember The Lorax

Helping people Use Less Stuff by conserving resources and reducing waste. 
That, my dear readers, has been our goal these past six years. And that is 
why I am dedicating this, most likely our last issue, to The Lorax.  The 
Lorax spoke for the trees, for the trees have no voice of their own.  The 
Lorax spoke for the Brown Barba-Loots, who once ate the truffula fruits off 
the trees but who now have crummies in their tummies because there are not 
enough truffula fruits left.  The Lorax spoke for the Swomee-Swans who 
couldn*t sing with smog in their throats. The Lorax spoke for the 
Humming-Fish who couldn*t swim with their gills all gummed by the pollution 
in the lakes. The Lorax spoke out against the Oncelers because he knew that 
not everyone needs a thnead.  That old Lorax believed that having less 
stuff was truly more!

Just because we are saying goodbye doesn*t mean it has to end here. We can 
make a difference. You can make a difference. To help, we have taken 
information passed on over the years and restated it in terms of family 
member responsibilities. Remind your children that even playing a very 
small part can indeed help improve our environment.

The Big Picture
Our real environmental problems are due to the ways in which increasingly 
affluent, ever larger populations produce and consume food, water and 
energy. We*ve said this many times. The Union of Concerned Scientists has 
began saying it, too. Thus, it is time to stop worrying about the little 
things that may feel good to do, but don*t really improve the environment.

Reducing the amount of materials and energy that are consumed or wasted 
will have a far more favorable environmental impact than recycling glass 
bottles or worrying about which type of bag to choose at the market or 
which type of diaper to buy. So have your family use our tips, and speak 
out against The Onclers and become the voice of The Lorax.

Thanks for a great six and a half years, and please keep on using less stuff!

Bob Lilienfeld, Editor

What You Can Do
--      If possible, choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive 
-- remember that transportation is responsible for about one-third of 
energy consumed in the U.S.

--      Make your next car more fuel-efficient * especially you SUV drivers.

--      Consolidate trips. Going to the west side of town? Think about 
everything you can do while over there, rather than making separate 
journeys. (Kids, if you*re meeting friends at the skating rink or mall, see 
if you can carpool. Better yet, take the bus -- you can talk without 
worrying about your parents overhearing.)

--      Compost yard wastes and grass clippings. This is the key to 
maintaining a healthy lawn and garden. (And a note to you gardeners: Resist 
the urge to turn your yard into a farm. Grow only what you or your friends 
can use.)

--      Cut the grass with a mulching mower to save time and resources 
while reducing waste.  Since mulch acts as a fertilizer, you save money and 
reduce the amount of chemicals that seep into ground water and aquifers. 
(We realize that you kids are going to hate not having to rake up all that 
excess. We suggest using that extra energy to rollerblade to your friend*s 
house rather than having your mom drive you.)

--      Water the lawn in the early morning or evening, not during the heat 
o f the day.  This way water will soak into the ground instead of 
evaporating. But if the young ones insist on running through the sprinkler 
on a hot day, rotate it every now and then so you are not just watering the 
sidewalk or the same old piece of grass.

--      When picnicking, pack food and drinks in reusable containers and 
bags.  Clean plastic grocery bags are great for holding ice.  Not only will 
your food stay cold in the cooler, but you*ll have ice for drinks and a bag 
for the garbage when you*re done.

--      Moms and Dads can work to improve the efficiency of home 
appliances, heating and cooling systems. Dust off coils and clean or change 

--      Spend less time in front of the TV and computer.  Not only will it 
save energy, but it might bring you closer as a family.

--      Use the library. It*s a great source for magazine exchanges or 
checking out the latest video or CD. You can even borrow a book there for 

--      Thinking about buying something? Try the 30-Day Rule.  If you still 
want it 30 days from the first time you saw it, chances are it*s something 
to really consider purchasing.  Waiting the 30 days helps eliminate impulse 

--      Walk, bike, rollerblade. It's fun and energy efficient.

--      The lunchroom is not what it used to be.  Tell your parents to get 
with it.  You want a reusable lunch box or one of those great insulated bags.

--      Turn the water off while brushing your teeth.  It seems like such a 
simple thing, but it can make a huge difference. (Don't forget to turn it 
off when you're done, too!)

--      Turn off the lights, computer, TV, stereo, or video game when 
you're not using it. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you leave the room, 
shut it off!

--      Need a nightlight? Have your parents put it on a timer, or buy one 
that is photosensitive and shuts off at sunrise. No big deal.

--      Doing laundry?  You need those cool pants for the big date, but 
they're dirty. Would it really kill you to throw in some more clothes to 
make it a full load? I don*t think so! Not only is it better for the 
environment, but you*ll probably score points with the parental units as well.

--      Fun without electricity: Try playing a board game.  (It's something 
your parents used to do.)

--      Got the munchies?  Don*t hang with the refrigerator door open. 
Decide what you want and grab it quick.

--      Mother to Mother sales are a great thing.  Let your mom and her 
friends in on it.  Clothes and toy swapping are a great way to get 
something new without using up more resources.

--      Fewer toys enhance creativity and exercise the imagination.  An old 
box, some string and crayons can be more fun than many new toys.

--      Conserve paper. Ask your teacher if you can hand in reports 
electronically, or print them on scrap paper.

--      When birthday invitations arrive, try making the gift wrap yourself 
out of newspapers, magazine ads, etc.  Also, consider buying gifts that are 
both thoughtful and consumption reducing. These include tickets to 
concerts, movies, skating rinks and sporting events. Gift certificates to 
local book, record and clothing stores also make sure your friends choose 
something they really want, and thus won't end up throwing away.

--      Ask your parents or other family members for resource-saving gifts 
that provide services, not material products. How about music, dance or 
skating lessons? Maybe stocks or bonds to start that high-powered portfolio?

--      Molly, our cat, meows that clumping cat litters are 
preferable.  You scoop out only what's been used, making litter last longer 
and the box easier to clean. You might also try newer litters made from 
recycled newspaper.

--      Nick, our dog, barks that old tennis balls, stuffed animals and 
knotted socks make great toys.

--      Nick begs you to have your pet spayed or neutered.  The local 
humane society is a great resource.

--      Plastic deli containers make good food and water bowls.  They also 
make good food scoops, as do gallon milk jugs. Use a large knife to cut 
along the diagonal, handle-side up. Recycle the excess.

--      Buy food (and litter) in bulk.  Use dry rather than moist.  You*ll 
save money, store trips, and energy.  Our figures show that bulk foods 
bought in paper or plastic reduce packaging waste by 75% versus moist foods 
bought in cans.  As for taste, Nick's prep tip is to mix water with dry 
food to make a nice gravy.

--      Both Molly and Nick concur: Old towels and pillowcases make great 
bed liners. 

I've Got Good News...

Cancer Rates Decline
According to an annual report, U.S. cancer rates are falling faster than 
ever and death rates are also down. Researchers say that both are due 
mostly to a decline in cigarette smoking among men. And despite Americans* 
bad eating habits and reluctance to undergo cancer screening, rates of 
colon cancer are also down.

The report, compiled by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer 
Society, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC*s National Center 
for Health Statistics, showed that the number of new cancer cases declined 
on average 0.8 percent per year between 1990 and 1997.

According to a statistician who helped write the report, mortality 
rates  peaked around 1991. They went down 1.7 percent per year in 1995 to 
1997 -- the biggest drop ever.

Fuel Cell Technology Continues to Improve
The U.S. Department of Energy projects that if only 10% of automobiles 
nationwide were powered by fuel cells, regulated air pollutants would be 
cut by one million tons per year and 60 million tons of the greenhouse gas 
carbon dioxide would be eliminated. With these savings in mind, Ballard 
Power Systems of Vancouver, Canada recently introduced the Mark 900, a new 
fuel cell only half the size of its predecessors. Ford promplty unveiled 
its TH!NK FC5 prototype passenger sedan, which is powered by the new cells.

Ballard is also working with Coleman Powermate to develop fuel cell powered 
products for portable and standby power markets. Coleman Powermate is 
a  North American leader in portable electric generators.

Ford Admits SUVs Not Environmently Friendly
In an unusual move, The Ford Motor Company has admitted that sport utility 
vehicles (SUVs) cause serious safety and environmental problems. The 
company is the only automotive manufacturer to admit to such a statement, 
and says that it is working to solve the problems caused by these vehicles.

Ford recently issued its first "corporate citizen report," which stated 
that compared to cars, SUVs contribute more to global warming, emit more 
pollutants and endanger other motorists. The company stated that because of 
their high level of profitability, SUVs will continue being built, but that 
the company will seek technological solutions and look for alternatives to 
the big vehicles.

When asked to explain their admission, Chairman William Clay Ford stated, 
"The court of public opinion sometimes decides before you're ready for them 
to decide, and I want to make sure that we're ahead of the curve."

...and Bad News

Research Reveals Additional Pollution Sources
The U.S. mining and electric utility industries are the worst U.S. 
polluters, according to a more sophisticated analysis released by U.S. 
regulators Thursday. The report showed that such pollution is three times 
worse than previously thought.

For the first time, electric utilities and mining facilities were included 
in the Environmental Protection Agency*s (EPA) annual toxic inventory 
report, in an expanded version that includes seven industrial sectors.

Some 7.3 billion pounds of these pollutants were disposed of in 1998, the 
last year for which data are available * a figure three times that of the 
previous measure, according to the EPA report which was designed to inform 
communities about potential health risks from industry.  The new EPA data 
apparently revealed that up to 63 percent of the new total comes from the 
mining and electric utility industries.

Auto Pollution Also Underestimated
According to the National Research Council, an Environmental Protection 
Agency computer program that analyzes pollution from cars and trucks often 
underestimates emissions, so regulators must develop more accurate methods 
to protect the public health. The computer model known as MOBILE has been 
used by the EPA since 1978 to estimate emissions of carbon monoxide, 
volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. It underpins most federal 
rules for car emissions and fuel standards.

The software program is also used to assess the effectiveness of state and 
local air quality programs. *EPA uses these estimates to develop 
regulations and programs for protecting air quality,* said Armistead 
Russell, chairman of a National Research Council committee that analyzed 
the computer program. *These estimates need to be as accurate as possible 
so that pollution control programs, which cost many millions of dollars, 
are effective in protecting the environment and public health,* said 
Russell, an environmental engineering professor at the Georgia Institute of 

The panel of academics and independent scientists cited several ways in 
which MOBILE underestimates pollutants. The computer program 
*substantially* underestimates volatile organic compounds * material that 
forms ozone * from cars and trucks, according to the report. The MOBILE 
technique also underestimates nitrogen oxides emissions from diesel trucks, 
and particulate matter emission rates are *highly uncertain,* the report said.

The report urged the EPA to develop a *tool kit* of other computer modeling 
techniques to supplement the existing system. The 22 year old system was 
originally developed to measure regional emissions, and is considered to be 
out of date.

Reduction Roundup...

Peddling It -- Total EV, a distributor of electric bicycles and scooters, 
said Wednesday it will peddle Chrysler Corporation founder Lee Iacocca*s 
E-Bike. Iacocca*s company, EV Global Motors, makes the bikes. *By putting 
electric bicycles in every garage, we*ll improve our quality of life, help 
clean up the environment and have a little fun. That*s why we*re excited 
about our new partnership with Total EV * we share a commitment to a 
cleaner, safer, more enjoyable future,* Iacocca said.

Up from the Dumps -- NASA*s Goddard Space Flight Center will soon heat its 
buildings by burning landfill gas. A  contract with Toro energy provides 
for the modification of two Goddard boilers in the space center*s central 
heating plant, installation of a pipeline to transport landfill gas, and 
construction of a gas-treatment facility at Sandy Hill landfill in Bowie, 
Maryland. For more info, contact Jim Sahli at (301)286-0697.

Assault on Batteries --  A consortium of automakers and suppliers is on 
course to replace 12-volt car batteries with new 36-volt batteries. The 
manufacturers say high-tech gadgets such as cell phones and navigation 
systems cause cars to consume more gas and produce more emissions. *Higher 
voltage automotive systems will provide power for more customer features 
and will also lower emissions and gasoline consumption,* said Rick Johnson, 
chairman of the Storage Battery Standards Committee of the Society of 
Automotive Engineers and a product engineer at Boulder Technologies in 
Golden, Colorado. The batteries may be standard on luxury cars as early as 

Less Fuelish -- Volkswagen of America will test synthetic oil and 
transportation fuels for use in diesel engines. The tests will be conducted 
as part of a new power train development program to further define the 
benefits of alternative fuels in future engine designs. The fuels are being 
developing by Syntroleum Corporation of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The company states 
that its synthetic fuels are more environmentally friendly than 
conventional ones because they are virtually free of sulfur, aromatics and 
heavy metals.

The ULS Report is a quarterly publication of Partners for Environmental

Snail mail address P.O. Box 130116 Ann Arbor MI 48113
Phone 734-668-1690
Fax 734-930-0506

Editor Robert Lilienfeld
Technical Advisor Dr. William Rathje

We encourage you to reuse and recycle our information. Since
The ULS Report, Use Less Stuff, Reduction Roundup and the ULS logo
are trademarks of Partners for Environmental Progress, please contact us
prior to reprinting.

Copyright 2000 Partners for Environmental Progress. All rights reserved.

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