Taking a few
minutes to turn off electrical devices wont just help you save the planet, it
can also help you save a few bucks off your electric bill each month. At home,
go ahead and turn off the lights when leaving a room (chances are the walls and
floor wont mind the dark)!
Take an extra few seconds to shut down your
computer and printer instead of letting them idle, and-annoying as it
sounds-make morning a routine of unplugging TVs, fans and stereos before leaving
for work. Like any routine, youll get used to doing it in no time
When youre looking to buy new major appliances, go for energy
efficient models with fewer frills-that icemaker requires more power than you
think! Check out Energy Star and Greener Choices for efficiency ratings for new
If you already own an appliance, remember to clean AC filters,
insulate water heaters, and do other simple maintenance to maximize energy
savings. Simply put, less energy = less pollution.
2 Use Less Water
Did you know that in
the average home, the water heater is second only to the heating system in
energy usage? Heres how to use less.
Go ahead and turn the water heater
down to 120°. Wash full loads of laundry in cool water. If youve just got to
use hot, rinse in cold. In the bathroom, skip the water-wasting steam bath and
opt for the quick shower. Install low flow showerheads and faucet aerators, and
turn the water off when youre shaving or brushing.
Have to let it run to
heat up? Catch it and water the plants later. In the kitchen, remember that you
dont need to scald every plate and pot to get them clean, and dont forget to
turn the water off when youre scrubbing!
Thinking about the long haul?
Try setting up a solar powered water heating system.
3 Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light
Dont even try to front: Youve been avoiding fluorescent
bulbs because you fear flashbacks to the industrial pallor and buzzing tubes of
your grade school. But fluorescent bulbs have come a long way,
Watch for ones with higher lumens (not watts) for brighter light;
read carefully for a color rendering index (CRI) over 80, or cues like warmer
light, to get closer to incandescence while saving $30 in energy costs over the
life of each bulb.
Not to mention the benefit to the planet: EnergyStar
has dozens of similes to tell you how much less pollution you generate by simply
replacing your feverish incandescent bulbs with chill fluorescent ones, but they
all add up to a huge benefit for the earth.
4 Choose Products With Less
Think of the layers of armor that separate you from a
new consumer good. The precious cargo is placed inside a pouch inside a plastic
exoskeleton inside a paper sleeve, then bagged for easy transport. Sounds cute
for Russian dolls. But for a stick of gum or a fresh razor blade, its
infuriating, time-consuming, and a waste of resources.
With so many
similar products crowding store aisles, try choosing one that sports less
packaging. (Youll find that companies that give careful thought to packaging
waste are probably considerate of, say, pesticide-free agriculture or humane
working conditions, too.)
Dont have time to comparison-shop? Simply
buying product refills can assuage your conscience, and save a few cents. Bring
your canvas tote to the grocery store to get everything home.
similarly for restaurants: that pile of plates, napkins, plastic utensils and
condiments could easily be spared by making your takeout
5 Buy Organic and Local
Did you know that the blueberries you ate on your breakfast
cereal might have traveled as many as 1500 miles to get to your bowl? Buying
locally grown produce, whether its from a greenmarket, a farm stand, or a
conscientious supermarket, can conserve fuel, reduce pollution, and support your
local economy ... not to mention, produce grown nearby doesnt require
preservatives and waxing to keep it fresh.
Likewise, spending the extra
money on organic produce will not only keep you from potentially ingesting toxic
pesticides, but its good for the environment. Support organic farmers, and
youll be helping to protect water from pollutants, cut down on soil erosion,
and conserve the energy and expense it takes to produce synthetic fertilizers
and pesticides. Plus, theres no doubt about it-organic and locally grown
produce just tastes better.
6 Drive Less
A daily car commute of 20
miles round trip can add up to more than $2,000 per year, parking not included.
If you work in an office, ask the HR department about any carpooling hookups and
free or deeply discounted bus, train or subway passes; check your citys website
for relevant routes. (Use the commute to read up on peak oil
Better yet, buy a basket and some decent rain fenders for your
bike and ride to the office -- and to the post office, your dentist appointment,
the grocery store. Sure, you cant fit as much on a bike as in a car, but
shopping more often means fresher produce, thus tastier meals -- which youll
need after burning all those calories.
Replacing even one or two car
trips a week will trim your fuel bill (and probably your waistline), but driving
smarter can also help. Combine multiple errands into one trip, frequent nearby
shops, and try to group your familys appointments together. Think about the
most efficient route before heading out, and try to avoid busier traffic
7 A Plant a
No gardening project offers quite such instant gratification
as planting your own tree. You get exercise, immediate visual stimulation, and
some serious self-satisfaction. Your tree will convert nasty pollutants to pure
oxygen and offer a welcome to wildlife -- and tree roots can help stay erosion.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide, helping to reduce global warming.
on what kind of tree you choose, and where you plant it, the shade can gradually
help to cool your home as well as offer a perfect spot for contemplation,
meditation or recreation. Trees are charming planted for a child as a living
growth chart, or in memory of a loved one.
You can also donate money to
have trees planted all over the world, at brown spaces or devastated places
where they are most needed.
8 Recycle More
Savvy shopping and a
little creativity can keep your trash pile from mounting. Judge products by
their recycled packaging, such as bottles, cans, paper wrappings, and cereal
boxes. Choose stationery and other supplies made from recyclable materials that
are better the second time around.
Take your used car batteries,
antifreeze, and motor oil back to participating mechanics. Return plastic bags
to the grocery store. Give old cell phones and cars to your favorite charity.
Compost your leftovers and keep your lawn well fed by letting grass-mown
Think outside that empty cardboard box: Its a fairytale
fort for a five-year-old. Finally, hang an old flat tire to a tree and make a
swing for green-minded folks of all ages.
9 Switch to Green Power via Your Local Utility
In many states, you can opt to purchase renewable energy
from your local power company, and then rest easy knowing you just sent that
email from your wind- or methane-powered computer.
To find out if your
local utility has a green power source, check the Green Power Networks U.S.
map. Austin Energy generated the greenest power last year, followed by Portland
General Electric. Xcel Energy (in Colorado and elsewhere) had the highest number
of customers who purchased renewable energy (more than 49,354).
nudge your local utility toward a deeper shade of green by opting into their
renewable energy program..
Spread the Word
Want to shake some sense into people? Use the web
as your own personal bullhorn to make the world a greener place. Inform your
inner circle about good causes or upcoming legislation via e-mail.
can also direct friends to Live the Change to familiarize themselves with
personal impact calculators, simple tips, activism options, and blogs of others
in the community who are trying to make the planet a little greener.
you have a blog or website, start posting information about the issues that
matter to you. Awareness is the key to a sustainable planet, and the web gives
you a powerful way to be part of the solution.
Article Courtesy of Yahoo Green.com