Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future.
Let this Earth Day inspire you to do something to reduce your carbon footprint. Even if it means taking baby steps, there are plenty of things we can do to make a difference.
Listed here are ten simple things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint on Earth Day.
1. For one day, eat no disposable food items or beverages. Add to that no paper plates, plastic utensils or other disposable dinnerware. We all have cupboards full of dishes and glasses that we pass on when we grab a paper plate for that quick snack. For just one day, pass on the paper products.
2. Pay your bills online. And while you are at it, opt for receiving your billing statements by e-mail instead of snail mail.
3. Adjust the thermostat. Cut back on your heating and air conditioning by lowering your thermostat in the winter and moving it up a notch or two in the summer. Just a couple degrees in either direction can really make a difference in your energy use.
4. Cook one meal entirely from organic non-processed ingredients. It’s easier than you think and will be healthier in the process.
5. Lose the plastic water bottles. These leave a huge carbon footprint. Purchase a reusable bottle or canteen for your water.
6. Change your light bulbs. Purchase compact florescent light bulbs instead of incandescent light bulbs. The compact florescent bulbs use less energy and last longer. According to the EPA, “An ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75% less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.”
7. Only use your clothes washer, washing machine and dishwasher when they are completely full. Using them fully loaded means you utilize them less thus using less energy. Think of it as doing less loads of laundry and fewer times to unload the dishwasher.
8. Read the newspaper online. By doing this you use less paper and save trees.
9. Use a laptop instead of a desktop model computer. Buy using a laptop computer your energy savings could range from 50 to 80 percent.
10. Unplug your phone charger when not in use. This applies to other appliances as well. Many plugged in appliances continue to draw energy even when not in use.
In our home we practice at least six of the above actions on a day to day basis and one I’d add is using reuseable bags. I made it a New Year’s resolution and now it’s a habit. It is little, simple changes that can make a big impact.
I sincerely hope by the time you are old enough to read this that Mother Earth is in much better shape than she is today.
The best is yet to be.