Monday, October 12, 2009

Re-Run: Small Eco-Steps to Live Better, Preserve the Planet, Save Money and Be Happier

We hear it everyday: Reduce our carbon footprint, eat less meat, turn down the thermostat, put on a sweater, recycle, stop drinking bottled water. If we don't want to literally melt the Earth, we have to do all of these things, plus keep up with our jobs, our daily lives, running the kids here and there-- combining as many trips as possible to avoid emitting CO2. It can be overwhelming to mentally juggle all we already had on our daily plates, let alone throw some more "helpful" ideas to save our planet.

But does it need to be that hard? Well, in a nutshell, no. It does not. Let's face it, no matter where we fall on the "green" spectrum, there is always room for improvement! And that's where this Blog comes in. The objective here is to help people help themselves, help the planet and maybe get a little happier in doing so. So, here is a list of 10 small "eco" steps you can take to do your part for the environment. It's not long, and you can probably pick just one, maybe even two things for starters. But, if you're feeling bold, do them all. It can only help.
Of course, you can probably search and find these steps just about anywhere you want to look. Consider this to be the first installment or Eco-Steps 1.0. There will be more in-depth ideas to come, but let's start simply, shall we?
#1: Power Down
Plug electronics into a power strip, then turn it off when not in use.
Enable the sleep mode on your computer and set the monitor to turn off after 10 idle minutes . (screen savers don’t save energy!).
Unplug your cell phone chargers.
Replace appliances with Energy Star appliances.
Buy (or use) a programmable thermostat.

#2: Waste Less
Recycle #1 & #2 plastics, cardboard, glass bottles, cans, aluminum foil, cardboard, etc.
The U.S. EPA estimates that 75 percent of our waste is recyclable, which goes well beyond what you toss in your recycling bin at home or at school.
Buy in bulk- uses less packaging.
Compost – fruit & veggie scraps, coffee grounds– keep them out of landfills and makes great (and free!) plant & garden fertilizer.
Aim for one-bag of garbage a week!
More info at:

#3: Change Your Light Bulbs
Compact Fluorescent light bulbs use 75% less energy.
Each CFL will save about $30 over its lifetime, pay for itself in about 6 months and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent (regular) bulb.

#4: Carpool and /or Telecommute
Carpooling – Saves money, lowers driving stress, reduces carbon emissions , builds personal and professional networks. 

Carpooling calculator:
Telecommuting  - Gaining popularity among employers
Cheaper for employers and for You!
Healthier  & Safer
Improved productivity and job satisfaction.
Better for the environment!

#5:  Unplug
Turn off your TV and computer.  Aside from saving energy, you’ll avoid all of those ads for stuff you don’t really need.
Go outside .  Take a walk, ride a bike, talk with your neighbor.  Play with your kids. Get some exercise.
Call a friend.  Really- actually TALK to a friend you haven’t connected with in a while.  Read a book.  Reacquaint yourself with your local library.
Volunteer.  Help someone.

#6: Detox Your Homes  
Check your cleaning supplies.
Open your windows.
Indoor air pollution can be 10 times worse for you than the air outside
Shoes off at the door.
Change your furnace filter often.
Get houseplants - they help to clean the air.

#7: Buy Less Stuff  
Evaluate the stuff you already have.
Give your stuff a second life:  Donate or sell unused or unwanted items (clothes, toys, etc.)
Craig’s List, Freecycle websites, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Volunteers of America
Ask yourself: Do I really need it??  Need vs. Want.
Buy Used– Break the cycle of consumption.
Save Money!

#8: Buy Local, Buy Fair Trade, Buy Organic
Buying local keeps the money in the community and supports local merchants.
For every $100 spent at a chain store, only $13 stays in the community.
For every $100 spent locally, $45 remains in the community.
Buying Fair Trade gives workers a fair and sustainable wage.
Buying Organic eliminates harmful pesticides from our food supply, our bodies, our planet. 

 #9: Demand Better!

As consumers, we have more power than we think!
Contact your Congressional Representatives, Senators, etc., and tell then what you think.
Write letters, e-mails, Blogs, Letters to the Editor, whatever it takes.
Vote with your dollars!

#10: Spread the Word!
Tell people!  Share what you’ve learned with everyone you know.  Word of mouth is the easiest way to spread the word on starting small.

Other Quick & Easy Eco-Steps
Turn the water off when brushing your teeth.
Take shorter showers and/or get an eco-flow shower head.
Wash only full loads of laundry- on cold.
Run dishwasher only when full- skip the drying cycle.
Repair leaky faucets- can leak up to 170 gallons / day!
Turn your thermostat down during the night.
Combine errands into the fewest possible trips

Check back often for more eco steps, tips and ideas for living better, preserving the planet and saving money.  Who wouldn't be happy about that?

No comments:

Post a Comment