Sometimes people use the words world and earth synonymously, but they have different connotations. The world is a man-made construct, and the earth is the blessing of nature and geology, something humans should harken to and protect. Everyone has ideas how, and some wonder, does it really make a difference. In short, the answer is YES!
- According to treehugger.com 1500 plastic water bottles are used EVERY SECOND!!! That’s right, EVERY SECOND. Stop using water bottles. Buy a Brita or some other filtration system and a reusable water bottle, and save all that packaging that gets thrown in the landfill. Reduce…one of the three R’s of being green.
- Buy natural laundry detergent. The cost is comparable, and no noticeable difference can be noted in the effectiveness of the cleaning capabilities nor the life of the clothing that is being washed. Plus, all of those phosphates in laundry detergent have to go somewhere, and they contaminate the ground water.
- While on the subject of laundry, wash in cold water. The energy that goes into heating the water for laundry is unnecessary. Clothing comes out fresh and clean in cold water, even delicates.
- Stop using paper towels. What? Yes, it’s not that hard. Go to an auto store, but a pack of microfiber towels, and keep them handy for spills. They will get dirty and stained. So what! That’s their purpose. Knowing that, one doesn’t get distraught over their appearance. “I have kids, they make messes all the time, I already do enough laundry. Doesn’t that waste water?” The water used in a washing cycle goes right back to they water treatment plant. Ever hear of the water cycle?
- When that pack of paper napkins runs out, don’t replace it. Break out those cloth napkins that you’ve been saving. They can be used for more than one meal, unless there are very messy eaters. It exponentially reduces the amount of waste created, and makes each meal feel a little classier. Afraid of staining up Grandma’s linens? Go to Target, buy some thick, dark colored ones, and use those; or have some fun and go to your local fabric store and pick out the fabric you want to match your dining room theme.
- If it’s not broken, don’t replace it. Just because a two-year wireless contract runs out, doesn’t mean someone HAS to go directly to the store and buy the latest and greatest gadget. If the old phone is still working properly, save some green and make the planet more green and hang onto it until it dies. If you MUST upgrade, at least donate the old phone to a women’s or a crisis center, so that someone may get use out of it, and it doesn’t just collect dust on a closet shelf as one of your five back up phones. TVs, Computers, iPods, iPads, DVD/Blu-Ray…its all a consumer driven hoax meant to steal cash, and where do all of those old still working items go? If it takes nine years for an orange to biodegrade in the desert, how long for a computer monitor? Sure, new technology might serve as a great capitalistic status symbol, but will it matter to future generations who are living on a decayed planet what TV their great-great grandparents kept upgrading to?
- Actually recycle. Everything. If you can’t recycle, because you live in an apartment complex, find the nearest collection center and make a concerted effort to reduce waste.
- Buy an ecofriendly used car. Maybe not a hybrid, if money is an issue, but at least something that gets decent gas mileage. Is that SUV really necessary? How much hauling is done with that truck? So much energy gets spent on making new cars each year. Reduce that carbon footprint by buying a reliable used car.
- Turn the thermostat down a few degrees in the winter and up a few degrees in the summer. Dress for the weather, instead of always a temperate climate. It will save cash and greenhouse emissions.
- Upcycle. Visit local thrift shops, where treasures are beheld. A few dabs of paint here, a coat of varnish there, BAM! Saved all that money on new furniture, for a unique look, and not a picture in a magazine.
With just one beautiful planet that each individual is such a small part of, make a large impact, and make changes to consumption and waste habits. The effects WILL make a difference, and leave a greener earth for future generations.