If you think that conservation is just for tree-hugging hippie types, YOU NEED TO OPEN YOUR EYES AND GET A CLUE. Our earth is in serious trouble and we can no longer afford to ignore, politicize or deny the issue. Things need to change and they need to change now. Unfortunately, change is hard and therefore many of us give up before we even start because we don’t know what to do and we figure that we can’t really make a difference anyhow.
THAT ASSUMPTION IS WRONG.
We–each and every one of us–CAN make a difference, and the good news is that making a difference is EASY. Here is a list of eight simple changes that each one of us can easily make to help ensure a better world for the generations that follow us. These changes are small but they can have a BIG impact. Read through the list and decide which changes you can implement immediately, then come back in six months and pick a few more to start on. Our beautiful earth will thank you.
8 Fab-YOU-lously Simply Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
1.) Make the switch to cold water. Sure, you’ll still want to wash your bed linens and clothes with greasy stains in warmer water, but did you know that your other laundry will get just as clean in a cold water wash as it will with hot water? Yep it’s true. With this being the case, there is no reason to keep using hot water for your regular laundry because it is estimated that approximately 90 percent of the energy used to operate your washing machine comes from heating the water. It’s time to chill out and make the switch to cold water for most of your laundry needs.
2.) Don’t dilly-dally in the shower. Did you realize that the average person uses about two and a half gallons of water per minute when they shower. Rather than just letting the water needlessly run, try shutting it off while you apply your conditioner or set a timer for five minutes and try to be out of the shower before it goes off. Another fun suggestion is to try to finish your shower in the time that it takes for your radio to play two songs–just make sure those songs aren’t “Stairway to Heaven” and “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida”. Not only will speeding up your shower save water–it will also save you money on your utility bills. It’s a win-win!
3.) Do your computing on a laptop. Laptop computers use between 50 and 80 percent less energy than traditional desktop computers. So–if you have both a laptop and a desktop, try using your laptop more often. If you are in the market for a new computer, consider purchasing a laptop (they’re more versatile anyhow!). At the very least–make sure that you power down your computer (or put it into sleep mode) whenever it is not in use so that it isn’t unnecessarily draining energy resources.
4.) Use your dishwasher–but only when it is FULL. Typically, using a built in dishwasher uses a lot less water than hand washing your dishes (that’s the good news) However, this is only the case if your dishwasher is full when you run it. Running your dishwasher with a full load can save a whopping 100 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and save you money.
5.) Upgrade your throne. Do you have an older toilet? If so, chances are good that you’re using up to seven gallons of water per flush. Newer toilet models only use 1.6 gallons per flush and over time, that savings can really add up. Even if you don’t have the budget right now to replace your toilet(s), it is still a good idea to make sure that your toilet is working correctly. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day.
6.) BYOB–Bring Your Own Bag. A plastic shopping bag can take up to ONE THOUSAND years to decompose. In fact, they don’t biodegrade–they photodegrade (which means that they just break down into smaller and smaller chemical pieces). To save our environment and cut down on clutter in your house, take your own reusable shopping bag to the market with you.
7.) Change your lightbulbs. We all know to turn off our lights when we leave a room (you do know that right?) but you can also reduce energy use by replacing your old incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs which last longer. Start small–maybe replace the five lightbulbs that you use the most. Just a small step like that can make a real difference and save you up to $70 a year on your energy bill.
8.) Layer up. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 15 percent on your heating bill just by lowering your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees while you are out of the house. This can easily be done by installing a programmable thermostat to modulate heat and air conditioning. You can also save energy by lowering your thermostat by a few degrees when you are home. Throw on a sweater or sweatshirt if you are chilly–it’ll warm you up without expending unnecessary energy.
These eight steps really are simple, but if implemented by each and every one of us–they would make a huge positive impact on sustainability. I’m committing to do my part–will you join me? Let’s make sure that we leave a beautiful earth for our children and children’s children. They deserve it.