Suzuki's Green Guide

By David R. Boyd; David Suzuki | Go to book overview

2
Home Smart Home

We shape our buildings
and afterwards our buildings shape us.

WINSTON CHURCHILL

Gas-guzzling SUVs get a lot of blame for creating pollution and causing climate change, and rightly so. But the average home in the industrialised world actually causes more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions of the average vehicle. Part of the problem is that when we flip a switch or turn on a tap, the environmental consequences are out of sight and out of mind. Electricity and water appear to be limitless and using them in vast quantities seems benign. The reality is that building and living in today’s homes accounts for 70% of electricity use, 35% of greenhouse gas emissions, and approximately 30% of landfill waste in the U.S. and Canada. The total footprint of an average single-family house includes over 300 metric tons (660,000 pounds) of material, and is growing. In the U.S., the size of a new house increased by at least 45 metres (500 square feet) every twenty years between 1950 and 1990 (see Table 2). Yet average household size in the U.S. has fallen from 3.3 people to 2.6 people since 1960 and the trend in other parts of the

-24-

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Suzuki's Green Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • 1 - Help Wanted- Join the Sustainability Revolution 1
  • 2 - Home Smart Home 24
  • 3 - Food for Thought- Eating a Planet-Friendly Diet 52
  • 4 - Travelling Light 81
  • 5 - Less Stuff- The Zero Waste Challenge 106
  • 6 - Citizen Green 128
  • 7 - Smaller Footprint, Bigger Smile 157
  • Appendix- Background on the Global Environmental Crisis 168
  • Resources 178
  • Index 191
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