Powering your home with clean energy by going solar is a great way to do your part protecting the planet, so if you already went solar or are planning to, kudos to you! Meanwhile, here are ten more ways you can live more sustainably on Spaceship Earth, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
- Bike more, Drive less. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, highway vehicles release approximately 1.7 billions tons of greenhouse gases each year, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide. Each gallon of gasoline your car burns creates 20 pounds of greenhouse gases, adding up to roughly six to nine tons each year. Not only do bikes emit zero greenhouse gases, they are more sustainable to produce, reduce noise pollution, and help the rider get healthier to boot!
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Follow the three “R”s to cut down on what you throw away and to conserve natural resources and landfill space. You can even add a fourth “R” to the list: repair. How about fixing that old washer or dryer before sending it to the dump? Many communities have come up with clever ways to reduce waste including Buy Nothing Groups that encourage members to borrow, lend and share items rather than purchasing something new (a side benefit being members save lots of money!) As far as recycling goes, companies like Terracycle aim to make a global impact by recycling pretty much everything under the sun.
- Conserve Water. The less water you use, the less runoff ends up in our waterways. Water quality is a huge issue in Florida (you can read a little more about this in the article entitled “The Brighton Valley Water Project” in the free Heartland Living Magazine). You can save water at home by: taking a shower instead of a bath, running your washing machine fully loaded, fixing broken toilets and leaky faucets, installing water-saving aerators on faucets, not running your sprinklers in the rain, and in 95 other ways.
- Plant a Tree. Trees are the best! Who doesn’t like trees? They provide food and oxygen, clean the air, and help combat climate change. In a colossal effort to combat global deforestation, The Nature Conservancy is running a Plant a Billion Trees Campaign, and you can be a part of it. Sign up to plant your tree today!
- Shop Sustainably. Bring a reusable shopping bag when you go to the grocery store and purchase less plastic. Large, refillable water containers are far better for the planet than single-use plastic bottles. You can buy cat litter in a biodegradable cardboard box rather than a large plastic tub, and there are many companies out there offering plastic-free solutions for cleaning supplies (Wired Magazine did a whole write-up on their favorites, which you can read here).
- Use Nontoxic Products. By purchasing products like the ones Wired recommends in #5 above, you are also helping to keep toxic chemicals out of our waterways. Many people are ditching chemical-laden air fresheners, replacing harsh chemical like DEET with natural insect repellents (the beneficial bugs will thank you as well), and saying no to #3 and #7 plastics, which can leach toxins and are difficult to recycle.
- Switch to LED light bulbs. LED bulbs put out the same amount of light for less electricity, using approximately 85% less electricity over conventional lighting and 18% less compared to compact fluorescent lighting. LED bulbs are also mercury-free, unlike compact fluorescents, they run cooler (making them safer), and the creative LED products out there assure an LED solution for all your needs, including business needs.
- Choose Sustainable Seafood. According to NOAA, “Sustainable seafood is fish and shellfish caught for human consumption by fishermen operating under sustainable fishery management systems that conserve fish stocks and the ecosystems that support them.” Seafood fraud hurts U.S. fishermen and the environment, but you can help by being an informed consumer.
- Educate Yourself. Reading this blog is a good start, but you can find a list of websites with more information about green living, eco-friendly design, and saving the planet in this article. If you are a solar customer, talk to your friends and neighbors about your decision. The more you know, the more you can help others understand the importance and value of our planet’s natural resources, which leads us to…
- Volunteer! Get involved in green initiatives like community clean-up efforts, sustainability education for kids and adults, Buy Nothing Groups (see #2) and more. Here are a few more ideas. If you want to get involved with advocacy, check out The Sierra Club and 350.org.
If you have more ideas on how to do your part for our planet, we’d love to hear them. Share in comments or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/coronadocustomhomes.