Trying to live more environmentally is something most of us aspire to, but it can be hard to do it alone, and it is sometimes difficult to see any real effect. That’s why I’ve signed up with Tread Lightly, an on-line community recently launched by the UK Guardian Newspaper’s on-line edition, GuardianUnlimited.

Once you’ve registered, you can look at this week’s challenge, for which you can make a pledge. Each is simple – something almost anyone can do – and is easy to fit into your everyday lifestyle. Then in the week you’ll get an email reminding you what you were going to do, and if you’ve completed it, you’ll be able to tick it off on your own pledge record. Here’s the clever but, though – it calculates how much carbon dioxide you’ve saved, and feeds it into a running total. So far, I’ve walked instead of taking the car, changed to low energy light bulbs, showered instead of taking a bath and switched all my electrical appliances off, instead of leaving them on standby. For this small effort, my carbon dioxide savings are an impressive 13.35 kilogrammes, and I’m feeling pretty smug about it!


It’s also fascinating to see how the aggregated figures stack up in real terms – which is easy, as the website translates your savings into understandable equivalents. For example, from readers’ efforts so far, the nearly 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide saved is equivalent to turning off a power station for three minutes. 3,169 readers
have completed pledges so far, and another 510 pledges have been made, but since the Guardian is the most widely read UK on-line newspaper, with more than 18 million unique users in October, there’s a lot of potential in an initiative like this.


Tread Lightly is just one part of the Guardian’s growing Environment section, though. You’ll also find news and features, and a great new on-line environment . You can also follow the Tread Lightly campaign’s progress, share tips with other readers and participate in debates on the blog.


The Guardian’s ethical living columnist Leo Hickman makes the switch

G-Wiz automatic electric car. The G-Wiz has emissions at least 40% less than any hybrid car, and a range of up to 48 miles before recharging using a power lead and an ordinary domestic socket. It’s also exempt from road tax and the London congestion charge, so it could be a real money saver, as well as a planet saver.


Wait – there’s still more!!! If you register, sign up for and complete 12 pledges before Friday, February 29th, 2008 you will be able to get this great shopping bag, absolutely free. Don’t worry about having to do loads in a short time – remember that you can sign up for past pledges, too, as they don’t close after their feature week. You can get started with the latest pledge here.


With such a high profile campaign, I suspect that Tread Lightly could really take off. I’ll be watching it over the next weeks and I’ll keep you updated!




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