These days, going green is the big trend. However, many of these trends just make sense for you, your health, and your wallet. People are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, and are trying to reduce the negative impacts before they have permanent effects. The effects of global warming, endangered species, dwindling amounts of fuel, and other items in our current lifestyles have people realizing that things need to change if life will continue to go on as we know it in our children’s and grandchildren’s lifetimes. But just how can you have a positive effect on the environment? Going green is easier than you think, and small changes can have a big impact.
- Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs - These bulbs are becoming cheaper to purchase, and they have a big impact on the environment. They use much less power than traditional bulbs and last a lot longer, allowing each one to save you around $30 in energy costs. If every household switched out just one traditional bulb, the energy savings would light over two million homes for a year and prevent a significant amount of greenhouse gasses Then, calculate your savings.
- Take the Two Degree Pledge - Turn your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter. This change won’t make much of a difference on how you physical feel, but can help you save $100 or more on your annual energy bill. It will also reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses that you create. Even utilities companies are jumping on board, with "frowney faces" and graphes that illustrate your energy consumption compared to your neighbors.
- Stop Energy Vampires - Appliances and other electronics draw energy even when the item isn’t in use. Unplug appliances when they are not use instead of simply turning it off – figure out how much you are using with the Kill-A-Watt. You can save several hundred dollars a year and reduce the amount of energy that your household uses.
- Drive Better - Some of the best fuel saving tips will have as big of an impact on your wallet as the environment. Keeping tires properly inflated, using cruise control on the highway, accelerating gradually, and turning engines off instead of idling can help reduce the amount of gas that you use and help prevent greenhouse gasses. Getting an annual tune-up will also help reduce pollution and earn you better gas mileage.
- Go Meatless - For every pound of meat that ends up on your plate, sixteen pounds of feed are absorbed, as well as large amounts of fossil fuels and water. In fact, the meat industry is responsible for about 18% of global greenhouse-gas emissions. If you aren’t quite ready to practice a vegetarian lifestyle, try cutting out meat from your meals one day a week. You can consider meat substitutes or give new vegetarian dishes a try, creating a healthier diet and saving the planet at the same time.
- Buy Locally - If you are buying fruits and vegetables that were grown out of state, a large amount of fossil fuels are wasted just getting that tomato to your door. To avoid this, try stopping at the local farmer’s market for fresh fruits and vegetables and buy items when they are in season. Not only will you help the local economy, but you can cut down on fossil fuel usage and reduce your carbon footprint.
These are just a few simple ideas on things that you can do today to start going green. Even small changes can have a big impact on the planet without having a big impact on your life.