Digging Earth Day

Earth Day 2014 Logo

Earth Day 2014 Logo

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Between 2002 and 2010 the United States manufacturing sector's coal consumption dropped by 32 percent, from 1,956 trillion British thermal units in 2002 to 1,328 trillion Btu in 2010, according to the United States Census Bureau's website.

While 1,328 trillion with a 'T' is still a large amount of coal consumed, the 32 percent drop isn't a number to be taken lightly.

Like the manufacturing sector, the Air Force has taken steps to reduce our carbon footprint, and help sustain the world we live in.

The Department of Defense instituted a Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan back in 2007. This plan calls for a 26 percent reduction in consumption of potable water by 2020.

Potable water is considered safe, drinking water.

The Air Force has reduced our potable water intensity by 19.8 percent in fiscal year 2013, which according to Air Force Directive 140228-060, is well ahead of the year goal of 12 percent.

The job isn't done though, not by a long shot.

By fiscal year 2020, the DoD expects greenhouse gas emissions to be lowered by 34 percent. In fiscal year 2013, emissions had already been dropped by more than 21 percent, more than doubling that year's goal of 10 percent.

So what can Team Shaw do?

The Air Force recommends that Airmen and their families start by doing simple adjustments in their homes. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter, and 78 in the summer. Change your light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs, and turn off lights when leaving a room. Grow plants that are drought-tolerant, take shorter showers, and even just turn the water off when brushing your teeth.

For families wanting to do more; go and plant a tree, pick up trash in the park, even just take time as a family to decide on what you can do to help. A vegetable garden can make a great family project, teach your kids how to sustainably grow foods that they can help take care of and enjoy growing.

Walk or ride a bike to work, use that time to get a little extra PT into your daily routine. Consider installing a small electric engine onto your bike to make sure you can get to work.

Team Shaw will do our part, now that just leaves; will you do yours?