The number of ways we are destroying our planet is dismal, with climate change topping most lists. The good news is that it’s not too late to make a difference. Of course, the most significant changes need to take place at the corporate and governmental level. They are the biggest offenders. But there are a number of ways the average person can make his or her daily routine friendlier to our environment.
Here are 10 simple ways to help our planet NOW:
Invest in Your Own Coffee Cup
We’re a society driven by convenience, including grabbing that quick cup of coffee on the way to work, school, or other destination. Next time you’re heading out the door, consider grabbing your own travel mug. Most coffee shops will gladly fill yours, rather than providing you with a Styrofoam or paper cup. And some even offer a discount!
Pay Bills Online & Switch to Paperless Statements
You’ve heard this one before, but if haven’t jumped on board, now is the time. We need to cut down on waste and recycle more. According to several studies, if all households in the U.S. alone paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we'd save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste.
Donate Clothes & Other Unwanted Items
Before you toss a shirt or pair of shoes into the trash, stop to think about how many people in the world could use them. Start a donation box and once a month drop off the contents to a local shelter or other charitable organization. You can also post on websites such as Freecycle.org, which connect people with things they need.
Dust the Back of Your Fridge
Clean the back of your fridge on a regular basis. Dusty coils can increase energy consumption by 30 percent.
Open a Blind & Turn Off a Light
Let natural lighting set the mood. Open the blinds, shut off the lights, and enjoy the warm ambience. If there is sufficient natural light in a room, don’t turn on the light switch. If you do turn on a light, be sure to turn it off when you leave the room. Also consider candlelight dinners which are romantic and fun!
Check Your Water Heater
Believe it or not, your water heater uses about 20 to 25 percent of all the energy in your home. Turn it down to 120 degrees (130-140 if you use an automatic dishwasher). Quick recovery water heaters have two thermostats and they both should be set at the same level.
Use the Right Burner for the Right Pan
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: the bottom of your pan should always cover the burner or heating element, but never extend beyond one-inch. Do not use a small saucepan or pot on a larger heating surface. You’ll cut down on the amount of heat and CO2 pushed into the air by using the right sizes.
It’s time to lose the lead foot and start driving a little slower. Why? Driving at 50 mph uses 25 percent less fuel than driving at 70 mph. And we all know that using less fuel means emitting less greenhouse gases.
Use FSC Wood Products
The next time you go to purchase a wood product such as a table or cabinet, look for products that proudly display the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo. The label guarantees the wood came from a certified, well-managed forest. Many retailers now stock FSC-certified products. If you don’t see the logo, ask!
PLANT A TREE!
You know we’re all about planting trees. There are so many benefits, we can’t possibly list them all. But helping to reverse climate change is at the top of our list. Every single tree you plant absorbs nasty CO2 from the air and, in turn, helps protect our environment. And the more you plant, the more you help heal our planet.
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