Investing your effort into saving energy could potentially cut the country’s projected energy use by about 23 percent by 2020, which would save as much as save $1.2 trillion! With figures like these, we should all be saving energy by cutting back on the waste we create and being more energy efficient by using improved products and innovative solutions. With negative news about global warming, depleting oceans and endangered animals constantly on our radar, it's often hard to know where to start. So, if you’re waking up to a world vision of humanity that's a little discouraging and wondering how you can do even more for the environment, you can start reducing your carbon footprint with these ideas.
We all know that we should turn off lights, appliances and gadgets when we’re not using them, but how many of us actually do it? You could be saving over a cent per hour by simply switching off the lights (and lighting some soy candles and getting cozy on the sofa instead!). What about your router? This is one of the main resources that most people leave on. Unplug it when it’s not in use and especially when you go to bed. This will not only save energy, but also reduce the amount of EMF’s bombarding your body. You can be eco-friendly toward your use of water around the house too: installing energy-efficient showers (turn off the water when you are shaving and such), washing machines, toilets and heaters can all contribute to reducing water consumption around the home. Making a few home improvements will not only save you money, but it will go a long way to lower your carbon footprint.
There are countless ways of reducing, recycling and reusing everyday items that would otherwise end up in your landfills, which can also save you money. Everything we throw away in the garbage is likely to end up in a landfill or the ocean, so producing less waste in the first place is a step in the right direction. Landfill waste poses massive economic and environmental problems, as materials take thousands of years to decompose. To combat your use, think about using a BPA-free water bottles, bringing your own cup to your local coffee shop and stop buying products that are packaged in plastic (or too much packaging in general). When ordering items online, buy as much as possible in one purchase instead of a bunch of smaller orders to save on carbon emissions from shipping and to reduce the cardboard boxes that items are delivered in. Of course, recycle everything possible, but even better, reuse and/or repurpose all packaging and trash, as recycling is energy intensive. Buy less, use less. Go even more natural with your soaps, cleaning supplies and everything else possible. Vinegar alone has hundreds of uses and no chemicals.
Just because you’re going on a date, it doesn’t mean you can’t do your part for the environment while you’re enjoying yourself. Arrange to meet in green-inspired restaurants that are likely to serve locally-sourced foods and organic drinks. Alternatively, visit a local farmer’s market on a date to show your support for businesses that offer sustainable practices. If you start giving gifts to your partner, think about buying fair-trade products and turn up on a date with organic flowers to make a positive impression. Use public transportation when possible and get creative with eco-conscious date ideas.
Start looking around to see where you can limit more natural resources, because making these changes in your life will go a long way to creating a better environment for us all to share.
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Ali Parsons is a freelance writer with a background in environmental research.