You see it when you’re flipping channels and on billboards as you’re driving down the highway – conservation ads that refer to “Going Green” or “Saving the Planet.” After a moment’s pause, you think, “Well, I did cut off the water while I brushed my teeth this morning.” And maybe you consider that a sufficient contribution to the trendy green campaign of late. But would it hurt for you to invest a bit more of your attention to what “Going Green” could really mean as a lifestyle?
Yes, there are big industries stomping out giant carbon footprints that may trump our meager, individual efforts, but it shouldn’t stop us from taking personal responsibility of our own impact on the environment. And as a collective whole, the less the demand is for goods and services that damage the environment, the better for all. Planet included.
However, if you’re die-hard for more regulation on emissions control for large companies, then go get ‘em. But if you’re moved just enough to alter a few bad habits, here’s a quick rundown of what you can do – in addition to cutting off the water when you do brush your teeth!
- Carpool or ride a mass transit system, if it’s available in your area. Reducing the number of cars on the road will help lower carbon emissions as well as traffic congestion each day. Walk it or bike it, if you can!
- Upgrade your light bulbs to compact fluorescents. They shave off some money from your monthly electricity bill and, in time, you’ll get over the fact that they take a split second longer to turn on. Most importantly, according to Energy Star, they use 75% of the electric power a traditional incandescent bulb uses.
- Get a recycling bin and use it. Make a conscious effort to sort out recyclable items to place curbside on trash day. This reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and conserves natural resources along with other numerous benefits.
- Conserve energy by shutting off the lights and the TV when you are not in the room. Other ways to conserve energy include using energy efficient appliances and improving insulation in your house.
- Conserve water. You may be doing your part for this already with tooth brushing, but consider only running the dishwasher and laundry when they are full. Check your water bill this month and see if you can lower your usage for next month.
- Use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags. Not only do reusable shopping bags help limit the number of plastic bags in the environment, but these are also made from recyclable materials and are recyclable themselves. When plastic is disposed in a landfill, it takes 1,000 years for it to decompose. If you must use plastic bags, bring them back to the grocery store so that they can be recycled.
- Don’t buy Styrofoam dinnerware. It does not breakdown easily, taking about one million years to decompose, and it releases chemicals that contaminates water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when we put our food and drinks in Styrofoam, styrene trickles into it and becomes stored in our body.