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Lisa Miller

April 7, 2008

Use your tax rebate to help the planet

It’s a happy coincidence that tax time and Earth Day occur during the same month.

While our government drags its feet on addressing the threat of global warming, it plans to fix the economy by sending middle- and low-income Americans a big chunk of money this spring. The hope is that we’ll all run out and buy a bunch of stuff, collectively yanking the economy out of the impending recession.

The reality is that a lot of people will need this money to pay bills. For those who can afford to spend the rebate: Please don’t blow it at Wal-Mart on a pile of made-in-China stuff you don’t really need. Instead, consider investing some of it in purchases that will help protect the planet in the long term _ and save you money in the near term.

Climate scientists warn that we’re near the tipping point. If we don’t take action right now, we will not be able to avert the worst-case scenarios of global warming. Clearly, many key pieces of the transition to a more-sustainable society need to come from those in charge. We need caps on carbon emissions; higher minimum fuel standards for new vehicles; investments in clean, renewable energy sources and a willingness to work with the rest of the world on climate-change issues.

The good news is that, come November, we’ll have better leadership no matter who wins the White House. In the meantime, there are lots of little things we can all do that, collectively, could make a difference.

Here are 10 ways to spend your tax rebate that will help the environment _ and save you money.

1. Replace the incandescent light bulbs in your five most frequently used light fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs.

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Lisa Miller

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