Feb 21st – Shut off your engine if it is idling for more than 10 seconds today.

The 10 seconds is the rule of thumb, according to the California Energy Commission, because 10 seconds of idling can use more fuel than restarting the engine, so after that point, you are wasting fuel.  For every two minutes a car is idling, it uses about the same amount of fuel it takes to go about one mile.

While it may not be as practical to turn off your engine at a stop light, unless you have severe heat or cold conditions that require you to leave the car running, why not turn it off.

The CA Energy Commission also point out three other myths associated with idling:

Myth #1: The engine should be warmed up before driving. Reality: Idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive the vehicle. With today’s modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.

Myth #2: Idling is good for your engine. Reality: Excessive idling can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems. Fuel is only partially combusted when idling because an engine does not operate at its peak temperature. This leads to the build up of fuel residues on cylinder walls that can damage engine components and increase fuel consumption.

Myth #3: Shutting off and restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine and uses more gas than if you leave it running. Reality: Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and the starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting the engine is estimated to add $10 per year to the cost of driving, money that will likely be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling. The bottom line is that more than ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.

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Feb 20th – Do something something extraordinary – sign up on the national organ-donor registry.

This is obviously a VERY personal choice, so please do not take this as pressure from this blog to do this, it us perfectly understandable if it is not for you.  However, if it is something that may be of interest to you, it takes only a minute to do, and could help significantly impact another person’s life.

If you would like to sign up, here is the link:  http://donatelife.net/

Feb 19th – Appreciate the weather today for at least 5 minutes (take a walk in the rain, throw a snowball, feel sun on your face, breath in the chill of the air).

This is usually the time of the year when many of us tire of the current weather.  It is often rainy, cold, and just that time of the year when spring and summer cannot get here fast enough.  So change up your mood and take a moment to enjoy the weather today, even if it seems ugly.  Instead of just thinking about the weather as a gauge of what to wear, go out and breath it in for 5 minutes and think about how perfect it is (even if it does not appear to be at first sight)… see it, smell it, touch it, taste it, hear it.

Love each day you have been given, no matter what the weather forecast and be grateful to be free and able to get outside and experience this part of nature.

We are expecting rain, so I plan to put our boots on, jump in some puddles, and feel the pitter patter of rain on my face.

Feb 18th – Choose non-bleached, chlorine-free products (paper towels, napkins, coffee filters, facial tissue, bathroom tissue, diapers and tampons).

I have always known it is better to get non-bleached, but why it is so important?

Here is the why:  Chlorine bleach paper can contain dioxin and organochlorine residues that can be transferred to food and people in which it comes in contact.  As well, most paper products in the US are bleached with chlorine gas or chlorine derivatives, chemicals that are known to create dioxins as a by-product of the bleaching process.   If you want to learn more about dioxin, please do so.  In summation, it is one of the most toxic chemicals known to us and is associated to several health issues, including cancer and reproductive and developmental issues.

So, why expose yourself to it if you have an option to go without it?

Feb 17th – Figure out your monthly disposable spending, and see where your dollars are going.

We often spend our money without actually thinking where our dollars are really going and what makes up the products and services we buy… who is involved, what materials are being use, how they are affecting our environment, society and culture… meaning, what are the real costs of things and how is our money being used.  Our dollars speak for us in where our priorities lie.
  • Food – Organic and/or locally grown
  • Food – Non-organic/GMO (genetically modified organism)
  • Entertainment/ Eating out – local, chains, where are the food and services derived, does the organization support or oppose any of your interests/beliefs
  • Clothing – where was it made, what materials went into it
  • Gas – from where does that gas come, could you find a way to cut down?
  • Non-essentials – where they were made, how they were made, what materials and resources were required, and who made them
  • Hygene products – Natural, organic, chemicals
  • Utilities -Television, Internet, electricity, water, gas, phone – Are you spending the amount you want to spend?  Could you be more efficient?
  • Insurance
  • Charity

Determine the priorities to which you want to live by and spend accordingly.  Every one of your dollars is a vote.

Feb 16th – Use your microwave to heat up small portions.

I do a lot of cooking (not always by choice!), but I am not terribly fond of using the microwave, until now.  According to the federal government’s Energy Star program, you can reduce cooking energy by as much as 80 percent when using your microwave for small portions.

Also, keep the inside surfaces of the microwave clean to maximize the amount of energy reflected toward the food.

Never thought of that!

Feb 15th – Listen to your intuition and trust it.

Interestingly enough, my intuition is leading me to write this as today’s ‘change’… so, someone out there who is reading this must need it to make sure they are paying attention to their own intuition ;).

We are given clues and messages every day, that ‘gut feeling’, without know why or for what reason, but listen and interpret this as best as you are able, and trust what it is saying… you are getting that message for a reason.  It could be for a reason much larger than yourself and contains the answer that is necessary to contribute to the greater good.

And know, this could be for a simple decision as to which way to turn on the road, or knowing what direction you should be taking in life, perhaps, with a career or relationship, no matter what, it is amazing what you can find when you listen to your intuition.