Next to our individual health, we should all be responsible in keeping Mother Nature healthy. There are lots of organizations and movements advocating the green lifestyle, but we don’t need to join them to do our share in saving our planet. Here are some of the simple things you can do:
- Replace the five most used lights in your home with compact flourescent lighting bulbs. Using CFLs, in time, will guarantee savings of energy and money. CFLs are labeled Energy-star approved and can last up to two years guaranteed. If you want to save further, try using led (light emitting diode) bulbs which are more expensive comapred to CFLs, but will definitely last longer. A CFL can last up to 10,000=17,000 hours while led lamp can last up to 50,000 hours. Led lights too, do not contain mercury which when inhaled for a short period of time can cause harmful effects such as nerve, brain and kidney damage, lung irritation, eye irritation, skin rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea. Switching to LED will lessen the Earth of at least 300 pounds of carbon dioxide emission.
- Wash your clothes and bathe in cold water. The higher the temperature, the higher the cost to you and the planet. Hot water costs up to nine times as much as cold water does; warm water costs up to five times. Ninety percent of the energy used by washing machine goes into heating. Oily stains may still need hot water -pretreat and soak first. Turn down your shower heater to less than 120 degrees. You don’t only save on electric bill but you’ll also lengthen the life of your pipes by reducing mineral build up and corrosion. For bathing, you’ll just need water, soap for washing and you’ll have a clear conscience. Using cold water will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 320 lbs in a year.
- When drying clothes, use clothesline or a dry rack. The elastics in your shorts and sock will last longer when air-dried, your clothes will not be prone to wear and tear (as what normally happens when clothes are spinned). Not using the dryer will lessen about 800 lbs of emission annually.
- It’s unrealistic not to use soap, but if you must, choose the one with the least triclosan, an antibacterial agent known to build up in the environment and is toxic to aquatic life. When outdoors, don’t wash with soaps and shampoos especially in natural water sources. Phthalates and parabens, industrial chemicals used in shampoos, moisturisers and perfumes, have also been linked to reproductive problems in men and in wildlife, and can build up in animals’ bodies.
- Carpool or take the public transport once a week. Sure, we don’t like waiting around, or probably sharing music, but gas prices are already putting a serious dent in our pockets. If your drive to work is 25 miles each way and at least half is in typical stop-and-go traffic, you’ll save almost 10 percent of your monthly carbon emissions by carpooling. You can use your saved money on other things and you’ll have fun sharing office gossip with your friends.
- If you decide to drive, don’t leave the engine idle. Every moment you spend idling your car’s engine means needlessly wasting gas, more than 10 seconds in idle mode wastes gas the same amount that the engine needs to start up. Overall, Americans waste about 2.9 billion gallons of gas a year, worth around $78.2 billion, just because of leaving the engine idle.
- Install a low flow shower. Switching from a conventional 2.5 gallon per minute of showerhead to a 1.5 gpm will save 3650 gallons of water usage per each year.
- Go vegetarian at least one day per week. Not only will your heart thank you, but so will mother nature. Skipping meat is also like eliminating 1600 kilometer of driving when you factor in all the resources required to produce animal protein.