Challenge #2 was called “Staying Warm for Winter? What are ways you can reduce your carbon use and still stay warm?” As an added incentive, we included an online poll on the Green Families blog section and asked readers to vote on the best reduction attempt—the family with the least number of votes was to take a ceremonial polar bear plunge!
What did our families learn during this challenge? Many appliances (including toasters!) use energy just by being plugged in, and a clothes dryer uses a lot of electricity, so perhaps the original solar-powered clothes dryer (the clothesline) is best. Windows, even when closed tight, can absorb precious warmth in winter without shutters or thermal curtains to keep heat indoors. Sometimes, a rubber ducky shower timer can be just as effective at keeping track of water usage as more technical gizmos, and snuggling up to a loved one is the best way to stay warm, by far!
Congratulations to the winning family, Ronit Abramson and her college roommates, for working so hard to address heat issues in their dorm room. And a special thanks to good sport Jane Ballentine: her family was not able to participate in this particular challenge, but they sent along the above photo of Jane taking a plunge last year in the Chesapeake Bay on January 24 as part of an annual Polar Bear Plunge to support Special Olympics.
Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?
What creative way can our green families make a climate-change-reduction dinner, from store to table? Vote on the best creation—the winning family receives the Zoo’s own Zoo Brew coffee.
Read the Green Families posts, comment on their efforts, and vote! But don’t just stop there: make an effort to try some of these changes with your family, and share your stories with us. Good luck!