The Earth is heating up because gases produced from vehicles, deforestation, power plants and other sources are building up in the atmosphere, acting like a thick blanket over our planet, known as global warming. We can all help reduce climate change. There are many simple ways to reduce the footprint you leave on the planet. Learn how to reduce your footprint with these easy tips.
Ten simple things you can do immediately inside your home
1. Turn it off when not in use – lights, television, DVD player, computer, microwave, cell phone charger, etc. Most electronics have a standby mode that siphons energy even when not in use. Use a power strip for groups of electronic items. One flick of the switch and it’s all off.
2. Turn down the heat or turn up the AC slightly – try just 1 to 2 degrees. Check the central heating/air conditioning timer setting – remember there is no point in heating or cooling the house after you have left for work
3. Turn down the water heater – just 2 degrees will make significant savings
4. Fill your dish washer and washing machine with a full load – this will save you water, electricity and washing powder
5. Hang out clothes to dry rather than tumble drying them
6. Wash clothes in cold water
7. Turn water off when brushing your teeth – You will save 25 gallons of water a month
8. Use the microwave more – microwaves use a lot less energy than conventional ovens and stoves, especially for heating water
9. Replace light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs – you can buy them super cheap at a 99 Cents Only store
10. Find a green energy supplier, who will supply electricity from renewable sources (e.g. wind and hydroelectric power) – this will reduce your carbon footprint contribution for electricity to zero
Ten simple things you can do immediately outside your home
1. Carpool to work – try the casual carpool, save time and money!
2. Set up a carpool with other families to get the children to school
3. Take the bus, train or BART rather than your car
4. For short journeys either walk or bicycle
5. See if your employer will allow you to work from home one day a week
6. Try to reduce the number of flights you take
7. Avoid the drive-thru – park your car and order at the register. Don’t allow your car to idle – if you will be waiting more than 30 seconds then shut your engine off, except in traffic.
8. Gifting items to charity is an excellent form of recycling as well as helping others. Charities not only sell old clothes, but would also appreciate other house hold items, such as books, CDs, videos, toys, etc.
9. When staying in a hotel turn the lights and air-conditioning off when you leave your room and ask for your towels and sheets to be washed every other day, rather than every day
10. Reduce, Reuse & Recycle, not just at home but when you are out and about. Don’t throw your soda can in the garbage at work, take it home and toss it in your recycling bin.
Five simple things you can do to reduce consumer consumption
1. Do your weekly shopping in a single trip
2. Don’t buy bottled water, use tap water and buy a filter if you’re concerned. Bottled water has a huge carbon footprint — it’s bottled at one location in small plastic bottles and shipped long distances. Try buying a reusable bottle or canteen for your water. Many plastic water bottles are recycled but most are not, making the footprint even bigger.
3. Buy organic or “fair trade” produce, there’s a better chance the food was grown in an eco-friendly way, and if it’s locally grown, it didn’t have to travel that far. Also, try to eat at restaurants that serve locally produced or seasonal foods. You could even grow your own.
4. Decrease your meat consumption. More land has to be put into agricultural production to produce meat than to produce plant products. Livestock release methane, which is 23 times more effective at retaining heat than carbon dioxide. These animals contribute more to global warming than all human transportation combined.
5. Next time you are in the market of buying a car, take a look at hybrids. If you can’t afford a hybrid then consider a diesel engine – in addition to reducing your carbon footprint you can save money by making your own biodiesel fuel.
Use The Nature Conservancy’s carbon footprint calculator to measure your impact on our climate. Their carbon footprint calculator estimates how many tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases your choices create each year.