Every Day Should Be Carbon Day

September 15, 2010

So? What did you do for Carbon Day?

What is Carbon Day, you ask?

Carbon Day is an opportunity for us to reduce our carbon footprint.

What is a carbon footprint, you ponder?

Our carbon footprints consider the amount of greenhouse gas we produce when we burn fossil fuels for things like heat, electricity, driving and more.

It’s a measure of the impact we each have on the environment.

So, when did Carbon Day become a holiday, you inquire?

The idea was conceived in 1990 and became an official state holiday in 2009 when the Illinois House and Senate passed a resolution declaring September 15 as Carbon Day in Illinois.

There was a big party in Lincoln Park last year to celebrate the inaugural Carbon Day Holiday; this year the main event was in Boston in Copley Square.

Many states celebrate Carbon Day on Sept. 15 with celebrations, festivals or environmental campaigns, though some schedule it according to the best time to plant a tree.

How important are trees to our existence?

*A single tree gives off 70 gallons of water per day in evaporation.

*Two mature trees provide enough oxygen for a family of four.

*One acre of trees puts out enough oxygen for 18 people and absorbs 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide, the gas that causes the “greenhouse effect.”

*Trees can increase the property value of your home by 10 to 20 percent or more.

What else can we do to reduce our carbon footprint besides planting a tree?

*Invest in energy efficient appliances, run only full loads of laundry and dishes, and use appliances at night.

*Get a home energy audit.

*Save energy: For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to 5% in heating and cooling costs. Turn off lights and electronics when not in use and unplug appliances that could still be sucking energy even while they’re off.

*Conserve water: Turn it off while you are brushing your teeth; take short showers instead of baths; convert your toilet into a dual flusher; set up a rain barrel and collect rain to water the lawn or wash the car.

*Speaking of cars: Buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle, use public transportation, carpool, walk or bike to get around.


*Buy locally grown foods.

*By the way, the city of Chicago will plant a parkway tree for free upon request. If you think you have a good spot for a tree, dial 311, or call (312) 744-5000 if you are outside the city limits. For more information, visit

And, for more eco-friendly tips, check out

Make every day a Carbon Day!

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