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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

White is the new green

Photo Courtesy of the Pennsylvania State Archives

Have you ever touched a black car that's been parked in the sun? Hot tamale! Dark colors like black absorb heat while light colors like white reflect heat. That's one reason why apartment buildings with black tar roofs heat up like an oven in the summer. That's also why you can cook an egg on pavement on a scorching hot day. As people replace heat reflecting and carbon storing forests, streams, and valleys with heat absorbing and carbon producing cities, roads, and strip malls, the Earth gets warmer and warmer. One way to help counter the problem is to paint flat black rooftops white, which is exactly what President Obama is encouraging us all to do. White roofs are a double benefit. They reflect heat away from the surface of the planet and help keep buildings cool and therefore reduce energy use from air conditioning.

President Obama is even taking this idea to the street. He is encouraging painting cars in light or cool colors to make them more fuel efficient by reducing the need to turn on the air conditioner. Pavement will also be made a cooler color, so we'll have to stick to frying our eggs in a pan.

If your family owns your home, encourage your parents to go white. If you are like many city kids who live in a building with many families, talk to the building owner about going white to go green.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I uses to wear WHAT???

I don't know about you, but I feel like throwing a tantrum every spring as I pull out the clothes I wore last summer and try to cram my winter clothes back into boxes to store under the bed. So what's a person to do? Throw those unwanted clothes away? No Way! You can swap them, sell them or donate them. Chances are someone will want to wear your hot pink jean jacket! 

To learn about swapping your clothes, check out these great websites:

Or hold  your own swap meet and trade clothes with your friends!

Here are some websites to sell your clothes (if you are a kid...don't forget to ask mom and dad!)

You can always donate your clothes to those in need:

And for those items of clothing that are beyond salvage, you can recycle them. Some farmers markets collect textiles for recycling.

Happy cleaning!