Small Changes That Make Your Family Live Greener!
By Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed. – Positively Green
Everyone knows that there are many different environmental problems to tackle in the world. From climate change to depletion of natural resources, there is so much information out in the pubic that it can seem overwhelming when your average family is trying to be ‘greener’.
Many families can’t do the things that the mass media often portray as essential to living an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Need to buy a hybrid car to save emissions? Too costly! Want to buy new energy efficient appliances? The old ones work fine! Bike to work each day to save fuel? But it’s 20 miles each way! Yikes! Forget it!
In the face of what can seem to be insurmountable odds, many families give up and continue to lead their lives just as they have done for years. But if your family is interested in making a difference, you need to know that small things you can do every day can help in a big way over time. Here are 8 easy, doable tips that every family can do to help the environment:
1. Change to energy efficient light bulbs in as many fixtures as possible. This change requires a small investment for new light bulbs, but you will see an immediate reduction in your power bill that will help you recover the cost. Some power companies even offer incentive programs to help defray the cost.
2. Shut off the water when you are brushing your teeth, washing dishes, washing the dog, or washing the car. When you let the water run unnecessarily, you not only use up more but also add more wastewater to the treatment system in your community.
3. Turn down the heat by two or three degrees and save money in the winter, and turn up the AC by two or three degrees in the summer. By making these small adjustments you will save both money and fuel, and will hardly notice the change.
4. Create a compost pile for leaves, clippings, and kitchen scraps. By recycling these different kinds waste instead of putting them in a landfill, you not only reduce the amount of garbage you contribute to the problem, but also your family will have a nutrient-rich source of soil for your garden each year!
5. Recycle everything! Recycling household waste is a free way to make a difference in the planet. Plastics, paper, metals, glass, cardboard, nearly everything has some recycle value. If you live in a community that charges for waste disposal by the bag, you will also save money, since the more you recycle, the less you will throw away into the trash!
6. Tune-up your car. Not in the market for a new hybrid vehicle, but still want to make a difference? Take your car to the mechanic for a tune-up. Cars that are maintained well are more fuel-efficient and give off fewer emissions than cars that don’t run quite right.
7. Unplug all of your battery chargers. All of our portable electronics come with their own chargers, and often they are left in the wall all the time, not doing anything except eating up little bits of electricity all the while. Save some power by removing battery chargers from the outlet when not in use. The same goes for kitchen appliances that are rarely used but have clocks or other displays that use energy.
8. Turn off outside lights at night. Motion-sensor lights hat are always on can go on when a stray cat or dog walks by during the night or even during a wind storm, and is there really a need to light up the night? By having a by-pass on/off switch for your outside lights, you can still have lights on when you need them, but can shut them off if everyone’s home and in for the night.
Working hard at being a green family doesn’t require a lot of money or discomfort. Though you may not make the local news, your family’s effort is making a change where it counts- for the planet! Just imagine the huge difference for the planet if everyone did a few little things every day. It would certainly help keep the world Positively Green!