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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Cool Fix/Pedal Power

Air Date: Week of

Living on Earth begins a new segment of solution-based stories about people that are making a difference in the environment. This week, Lauren Cox reports on one Boston University professor who’s peddling his way to carbon neutrality.


CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth. I’m Steve Curwood. Coming up: Fresh food from the farm is coming to a hospital near you. But first, this Cool Fix for a Hot Planet from Lauren Cox.


COX: On the campus of Boston University, there’s a professor doing his part to help the planet.


COX: Geography and Environment Professor Nathan Phillips decided to go “carbon neutral” in his office: whatever energy he uses at work puts zero carbon emissions in the atmosphere.

Each day, Dr. Phillips rides his bike to work. When he gets there, he hooks it up to a generator attached to a battery and pedals, powering his office. The sun helps out, too. The professor rigged up a solar panel in his window that also charges the battery.

On a cloudy day, he might have to pedal an hour to get a full day’s charge. When the sun is out, it’s only 30 minutes.

PHILLIPS: It works for me, and it’s easier than you would think to type while you’re pedaling.

COX: To lower his carbon footprint and lighten his load, Dr. Phillips has energy efficient compact florescent desk lamps. He works on a laptop instead of a desktop to save even more power.

For his efforts, Phillips saves Boston University about 30 cents a day on its electric bill. And he saves time, too. When his battery gets low, he removes the bike’s handlebars, mounts his laptop to the stem and pedals his way through his email.

Perhaps his next step will be to make the classroom carbon neutral and have his students pedal their way through his lectures.

That’s this week’s cool fix for a hot planet. I’m Lauren Cox.

CURWOOD: If you or someone you know has a cool fix for a hot planet, please let us know. Call our listener line at 800-218-99-88, that’s 800-218-ninety nine, eighty-eight. Or email coolfix (all one word) @loe.org. That’s coolfix@loe.org.



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