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Individuals can make a big difference. Fuel for Thought Did you know the United States government has an agency that protects our health and the health of our environment? It is the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. According to the EPA, industry is the number one contributor to greenhouse gases, and transportation is second. 38 We can do many things on a daily basis that can affect our planet and us in a positive way. 39 CHAPTER TWELVE Conserving Electricity Electricity makes life easier and more comfortable.
Department of Energy. These agencies urge people to use energy efficient products to help the environment. According to ENERGY STAR, the average home releases more than twice the amount of greenhouse gases than the average car. That is another good reason to conserve at home! 41 Y Conserving electricity and reducing greenhouse gases is easy. One of the best and easiest ways is to turn off unused lights and appliances. Taking advantage of warm sunlight saves energy, and money, too. On a cold winter day, don’t turn up the heat.
In contrast to biomass, fossil fuels take millions of years to form, so they are nonrenewable energies. 34 35 Sometimes we don’t burn biomass, but burn a fuel made from it. For example, we grow corn and sugar cane for the production of a biofuel called ethanol. Burning biomass and biofuels release carbon dioxide just as burning fossil fuels do. However, if we replace the harvested biomass with new plants, they will absorb some of the carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a process by which most plants make their own food by absorbing carbon dioxide and water from the air.