Today is blog action day. The idea is that today, 15,000 bloggers as well as companies such as Google and Reddit, and organizations like The United Nations join together to bring one thing to everyone's attention: the environment. Now I don't claim to be an expert on the environment, and I don't know if the whole world is about to be one big swimming pool due to melting glaciers, but I do know that it doesn't hurt to be conscious of the fact that our actions have consequences, and acting willfully ignorant of our impact on the Earth can't possibly be a good thing, so here are a few ideas to help you lessen your negative impact on the Earth in as painless a fashion as possible.
1. Use CFLs.
Compact florescent light bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
Save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime.
Produce about 75 percent less heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.
2. Bring your own water.
To create enough plastic to bottle the 26+ billion liters of bottled water consumed by Americans each year requires over 1.5 million barrels of oil. This is enough to fuel about 100,000 cars for a year. And this is just in the U.S. Not to mention, that bottled water that you just paid $2.25 for probably came out of the tap. I know it has a picture of a mountain on the front, but read the fine print. Aquafina comes from Detroit's municipal water source. Depending on where you live, your tap water may very well be safer for you. And in blind taste tests, New York City's tap water beat out all the major brands. Check out this review of reusable water bottles to find one that fits your lifestyle.
3. Ride a bike.
Ummm... duh. You don't have to quit driving, just replace your short trips with a bike. Nobody likes smog and riding a bike is easy, healthy, FUN, good for the environment and good for pretty much everyone. Burning gasoline is stinky, toxic, deadly and really pretty boring. Being healthy is a privilege, not a right. Plus gas is $3.25 a gallon and biking is FREE.
4. Unplug unused and idle appliances.
Even when your appliances are off, they drain energy quickly enough to cost the average household a few hundred bucks a year in electricity costs. Use a power strip to make it easier, just unplug the strip to "unplug" everything at once.
5. Buy low-flow shower heads.
You can save a couple hundred bucks a year in unused water and water-heating costs, as well as saving your local grey water treatment plant some energy costs. It adds up.
6. Shop at the farmer's market.
The average carrot travels over 1,800 miles before it lands on your plate. It uses tons of fossil fuels to ship it there and package it. Plus you'll be eating delicious fresh fruits and veggies and supporting your local farmers!
Okay, six is a good number, so I'll stop here. Use your imagination, being green is easy and it can save you money too. If you need help finding any of the information or products mentioned here, leave me a comment saying so and I"ll tell you where to find it all.