Eco Minute

Producer and Host
Dr. Enid Sisskin received her PhD from Columbia University in Pathobiology. She has worked as an environmental activist for more than 20 years. She is currently on the faculty of the School of Allied Health and Life Sciences at the University of West Florida. She is the creator of the Eco Minute and has produced & hosted the series since 2005. Her interests include continuing to garden despite yearly failures and she continues to work for environmental protection with her husband and children.

Click on the dates below to listen to each Eco Minute.

The EPA estimates that indoor air can be more polluted than outside air.  Some of the indoor pollutants of concern are asbestos, carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and pressed wood products, cleaning supplies, pesticides, lead, and second hand smoke.  Apply paint with rollers and brushes instead of sprays; it cuts down on fumes. Oil-based paints and varnishes contain a high percentage of VOCs, so use water-based paints and solvents and store them in an air tight container.

It’s a great time to start thinking about preparing your car for the cooler weather to come.  Have your car checked out paying attention to the battery, antifreeze level, thermostat, brakes, and defroster.  Be sure your tires have adequate tread.  Check that your front and rear lights are working and replace windshield wiper fluid with some that doesn’t freeze and if it has been awhile, replace your wipers also.  Keep some safety equipment in the car – a first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, blankets, water, battery cables, flares, maybe some gloves and don’t forget an ice scraper – we d

Butterflies play a critical role in maintaining the health of our environment, and they’re arriving in our area now.  Butterflies help pollinate fruits, flowers and vegetables; provide food for other animals; and enrich our lives with their beauty.  But more and more butterflies are becoming endangered as their habitats are lost to development or they’re killed by pesticides.

Don’t keep your car running if you’re not moving.  First, avoid prolonged warming up of the engine, even on cold mornings - 30 to 45 seconds is plenty of time.  Don’t know if whether it’s more cost effective to keep the car running or turn it off – if you’ll be idling for more than a minute, it’s better just to turn it off since one minute of idling consumes the same amount of gas as starting the engine.  Routinely shutting the car off rather than allowing extended idling could improve your gas mileage by 19%.  Remember that the next time you’re backed up in the drive-through lane.    

If you don’t already have one, this is a good time to prepare a winter emergency kit.

When researchers looked at the science behind the environmental impacts of our daily lives, they found that the vast majority of the impacts were in three areas, transportation, our diet, and home energy use.  This is the EcoMinute, and I’m Christian Wagley.  Transportation—how we get to work and school each day; our diet—the food we eat and how it is produced; and home energy use—the energy needed to heat, cool, make hot water, and other major uses in our home contribute to X% .  The scientists found that by focusing on making improvements in these three areas—reducing the amount we drive

Next week is Halloween, consider an alternative to conventional candy.  According to and, when children aged four to teens were shown alternative treats such as pencils made from recycled paper, seed packets, colored stones and other choices, they were excited and said they’d love to get them at Halloween.  For the most part, kids were happy to get a variety of options, rather than another bucket of candy.  But if you do give out candy, you don’t need to give

It’s a great time to start thinking about preparing your home for the cooler weather to come.  One source of air leakage in your home is through electrical outlets and switchplates and fixing this is easy.  Look for outlet or insulation gaskets at your home or hardware store and follow the simple directions to install them.  If you have a water heater storage tank, be sure it is insulated, especially on the top.  Even better is a point-of-use tankless heater.  When installed where they will be used, in the kitchen or baths, they only need to supply hot water for the fixtures in that one ro

You can make Halloween a little greener according to and  This is the EM and I’m ES.  Next Monday is Halloween and if you still have some preparations to do, you might do them a little differently.  Instead of carving a big pumpkin, get some smaller ones and paint them or decorate them with yarn, ribbons, or other found objects.  Then after Monday you can cook them instead of tossing them.  If you don’t cook them and have vegetative scraps, be sure to compost them.  If you do have a carved pumpkin, use a beeswax candle or LED lights for decorating.   Speaking