Resolve to Make 2007 Your Greenest Year Yet!
Here's a set of New Year's Resolutions that are a LOT more fun than trying to shed those extra 10 pounds. There's no better time than now to take stock of how we can reduce our impact on the environment. Whether you care about reducing global warming, saving our forests, or improving the health of our rivers and oceans, make 2007 the year when you take action. Follow these seven simple steps at home in 2007 and you can really make a difference. Complete this list and you can even reward yourself with an extra bar of organic chocolate!
#1: Cut your waste stream in half. 30% of our landfill space is filled with organic trash that could have been composted. You can drastically reduce the amount of trash you generate by composting your food and yard wastes. You can get a great composter here. While you're at it, also get some reusable shopping bags so you aren't constantly using new paper or plastic bags. One 15-year-old tree only yields 700 paper bags, and plastic bags are made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. Get some sturdy cloth grocery bags here.
#2: Read your newspapers online. Or just convert to online for your weekday editions and keep your weekend papers to enjoy with your coffee. You'll save trees, energy, and money! If only 10 million people in the US cancelled their Monday-Friday newspapers, we'd save almost 50,000 trees each year.
#3: Cut your home energy use by up to 20%. This may sound tough, but you really can do it. Start with free changes you can make today. Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees. That's plenty hot for all your household needs and it can reduce your annual carbon emissions by 400 pounds! Next, only wash dishes and laundry when you have a full load. This saves power AND water.
Then there are a few very inexpensive steps you can take to cut your power use further. First, replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescents. They use 1/4 of the energy and last up to 10 times as long as normal bulbs. Then get a programmable thermostat. This little box will help you regulate your heating so you are not warming your house when you're away, and will keep you toasty during the cold nights. Finally, insulate your hot water heater and insulate your pipes-- it's cheap and easy.
With this combination of simple steps, you will notice a major impact on your power bills and your contribution to global warming will really drop.
#4: Start using renewable energy. There are several ways you can get on board with green power. Many utilities now offer green power alternatives for a nominal monthly fee. Check with your local utility to see if this is an option. Or better yet, you can make your own power: investigate whether solar or wind energy might be right for you. Click here to learn more.
#5: Reduce your use of gasoline. First, drive less. Ride your bike or walk to the grocery store, and plan your shopping to get as many errands into one trip as possible. Carpool or use public transit at least once per week. And if you drive a gas-guzzler, you can "go the extra mile" and trade in your current car for a hybrid. There are so many great models now--check out the hybrid selection. If your car or truck uses diesel fuel, consider biodiesel -- you can cut your contribution to global warming by over 50%.
You can also purchase carbon offsets to counter-balance your remaining emissions. Just click here, calculate your car's output, and pay a small fee to help fund renewable energy projects to offset the environmental effects of your car's pollution.
#6: Save the rain to water your yard. Why let all of that good moisture run down your gutters and right into the sewer? In addition to wasting water, this run-off picks up trash and other pollution farther down the drain system and carries it straight out to our rivers and oceans. You can get a rain barrel to collect the rain and use it to water your yard and plants. See our rain barrels.
#7: Landscape for where you live. We all want a beautiful yard, but many of us use plants from other parts of the world to get there. This can be OK, but there are often unforeseen consequences: these plants can use more water, are not beneficial to local wildlife, and can sometimes spread so quickly they overwhelm local plants.
This year, consider improving your lawn by making it consistent with your climate -- it saves water, fertilizer, and your precious time. It will also bring local birds and butterflies to your yard. Why not start by replacing a small patch of grass with native plants? Typical turf requires between 30-70 inches of water a year. Native plants in almost all regions will use less. To learn more, get a good book on climate-appropriate gardening.
Thank you for resolving to do more to save the environment this year! We hope you have a fun, healthy and green 2007.
Individual results of using green products and services listed herein may vary. Low Impact Living, Inc. takes no responsibility for individual results, nor for service providers or products listed on this website.