*It’s never too late to say “Happy Earth Day!” I apologize for falling asleep at the switch because Earth Day was actually Sunday, April 22. I love planet earth and failing to alert you of this hallowed observance was a glaring oversight. After all, plant earth sustains our life. That is worth celebrating 365 days a year.
“A Billion Acts of Green,” is the largest environmental service campaign in the world whose initiatives celebrate Earth Day by advancing the goal of measurably reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainability. For the past year they embarked on a big push to register “one billion acts of green” in advance of the global Earth Summit in Rio which takes place on June 22, 2012. So far over 1,003,593,716 people have pledged to do things from not using bottle water anymore to riding their bikes to work. Even though they have exceeded their goal, you can still take the pledge at http://act.earthday.org/.
I’m committed to doing my part to help preserve our planet. And calculating my carbon foot print was a good place to start.
A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact that our daily activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases we produce, which is measured in units of carbon dioxide.
I took the online quiz and found out that there is a lot I can do to decrease my carbon imprint and help make the planet a healthier place. It’s a lot easier than you might think. Here are just a few easy suggestions:
Eat more foods that are processed, packaged and grown locally. When food doesn’t have to travel far, it is not only fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances from other states or countries; it reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing materials. A great first step is visiting your local Farmer’s Market. Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown or raised enables you to choose safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed in their operations. Local farmers can offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and long shelf life. Buying local food also helps to make farming more profitable and selling farmland for development less attractive. For a list of Farmer’s Markets in your area visit The Eat Well Guide at http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home.
Use electronic invitations. Some of us use to balk at getting an email invitation. It seemed so impersonal and tacky. But the reality is most of us spend a large portion of our day managing our professional and personal business on-line. The benefits of electronic invitations are they save time, money and trees. Some of my favorite sites are Green Envelope https://www.greenvelope.com, Pingg http://www.pingg.com/, and Evite http://evite.com the site that most of us are familiar with.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle. This is an easy way to make a big impact. When you find ways to reduce, reuse and recycle waste, this reduces the excessive amounts of fossil fuels and hydropower required to dispose of these materials. And those bottles and cans amount to dollars and cents and who couldn’t use a little extra change in this economy. Don’t forget about recycling your old computers, cell phones, televisions and gadgets because they are our biggest source of waste. Here a few sites. Some turn your trash into cash; others are great places to off load the excess.
- Gazelle is a reCommerce service that helps you sell your used electronics. They buy Apple iPhones, Apple Laptops, HTC Cell Phones, Nokia Cell Phones, Apple iPads, Apple Desktops, Motorola Cell Phones, Apple iPods, Apple Displays, Samsung Cell Phones, Apple TVs, Blackberry Cell Phones, and LG Cell Phones .
- 1-800-Recycling.com.This site is a one stop shop for all things recycling, from household and yard waste to hazardous waste and electronics. You can find links to municipal resources and community programs, and recycling locations for just about anything there.
- e-Stewards.The e-Stewards Initiative is a project of the Basel Action Network (BAN), which is a 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable organization. Their site has extensive information about the growing problem of e-waste and a tool to help you find Certified e-Stewards Recyclers near you.
- The Consumer Electronics Association’s Greener Gadgets. This site is a great source for information about buying green as well as a nationwide list of certified e-cycling locations.
Install a Faucet Mount Filter System. By switching from bottled water to a mounted faucet filter system, you will not only save money, but you can help save the planet. Consumers use 1.5 million tons of plastic water bottles each year and only 50% of that plastic is recyclable. It’s a big win for the planet and money in your bank account. They retail for about $50 and each replacement filter produces about 100 gallons of 99.9% filtered water.
Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFLs reduce the release of greenhouse gas emissions and are safer because they burn at a significantly lower temperature than incandescent and halogen lights. They also last 10 times longer and use 66% less energy than incandescent bulbs while delivering the same light levels. CFLs accrue a net savings between $30 and $45 over their lifetimes.
Turn down the hot water heater and your house thermostat during the winter. Set your water heater to 130° F and thermostat to 55° F in the winter months when you go to bed or leave home. These simple changes can prevent the emission of more than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide over the course of a year, while cutting your energy bill by more than 10%t.
Inflate your car tires. This simple act can improve your gas mileage by about 3.3 percent – a savings of about 7 cents per gallon. With gas prices hitting record highs, you can’t afford not to keep your ties inflated.
Purchase Energy Star-labeled appliances. Energy Star products are the most efficient appliances and can provide a 30% return or better through lower utility bills. Since I purchased my energy star refrigerator a few years ago I have noticed a savings on my utility bill.
Wash and rinse your clothes in cold water. If we all used the cold water setting on our washers, we could save about 30 million tons of carbon dioxide each year – and more than $3 billion in energy costs, collectively. By the way, cold water cleans your laundry just as well as hot water because of the advent of high performance detergents.
Get out of your car. I did it. I’ve gone Metro and have saved a ton of money and hopefully a ton of carbon dioxide too. At least three days a week I park and ride. Our cars are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation where you can.
It’s a lot easier to go green than you think. A healthy earth is a happy earth. So go green and all the way! Or ease into it if you must.
(If you have comments about Veronica’s View, email them to email@example.com).