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  • Wed November 19 2008
  • Posted Nov 19, 2008
Experts suggest city-dwelling Americans consider the following ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Why not walk? Climate-change authorities say densely populated cities tend to be the greenest because people walk more and take advantage of mass transit. Many planners consider Manhattan, which has about 100 people per acre, to be one of the greenest places around, according to Harvard University. Boston has 25 to 50 people per acre. By comparison, Des Moines has four people per acre, Cedar Rapids has three and Ames has three and a half. But many more people could walk to their destinations. According to Harriet Tregoning of the Washington, D.C., planning office, half of all trips people make are for distances of less than three miles, while 28 percent of all trips are for less than a mile. Yet 75 percent of trips of less than a mile are currently made by car. Go green a step at a time A seemingly simple project like retrofitting light fixtures can make a difference. Harvard University changed the lights in a 300-student dormitory, saving $20,000 a year. The project paid for itself in less than three years. Another dormitory project at Harvard saved $400,000 a year by encouraging cuts in energy use, food wastes and trash deposited by students moving to or from campus. Harvard's 2006 environment pledge program signed up 5,700 people who said they would turn off their computers at night, 5,400 who put their computers on sleep mode, 3,700 who promised to buy paper with at least 30 percent recycled content, 4,600 who said they would print double-sided copies, and 3,821 who pledged to bring their own coffee mug rather than drink out of paper or foam. Support car or bike sharing Paris' Velib bike-sharing program started last year and now offers 20,000 bikes. Barcelona has a similar program. In August, Washington, D.C., started SmartBikes with 150 bicycles. The capital city also wants to extend 26 miles of bike lanes to 60. Cities around the world are moving to car-sharing, too. The cars are spread around a city for jaunts rather than just at one location, such as an airport. Customers pay a fee that includes insurance, gas and maintenance for a vehicle they use for as little as a half-hour. Paris is moving to add 4,000 electric vehicles at 700 pickup points. Washington, D.C., also has several car-sharing programs, one of which offers 700 cars in 26 neighborhoods. Think twice about the 'burbs Patrick Condon of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass., reports center-city residents produce only a quarter of the greenhouse gases of residents in the outer suburbs. Source: The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, Mass.

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