Earth Day was celebrated this week on Tuesday, April 22nd. What steps can we take to care for our earth a little better and maybe appease Mother Nature’s crazy mood swings? We’ve all heard the familiar “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and truly these words sum up what we all should be doing. The Environmental Protection Agency lists many things we could do that would help our planet over time. Here are some of the easiest ones:
1. Take quicker showers. With a regular shower head, a ten minute shower on average uses 42 gallons of water plus the energy to heat it. Try installing a “low flow” shower head, take quicker showers or just turn the water off when soaping up, shaving or washing your hair.
2. Run only full loads when using the washing machine and dishwasher. Some washing machines can use up to 45 gallons of water per load.
3. Turn your thermostat down in the winter when you leave the house or at night when you are sleeping (a programmable thermostat is great for this). In the summertime, if you’re wearing a sweater in your house, your air conditioning temperature is too low. Turn it up a few degrees and your body will adjust. You’ll also be saving energy and lowering your heating and cooling bills.
4. Quit buying bottled water. According to BantheBottle.net, “Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. And that’s not even including the oil used for transportation.” Also, “The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.”
5. Every year over 4 billion plastic shopping bags are thrown away. Only 1-3% of the used bags are recycled. If you’re going to use regular plastic shopping bags, at least recycle them. Most stores have recycling boxes near the front door. Better yet, use reusable cloth bags to bring your groceries home.
6. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with ones that are energy efficient. They typically use 25%-80% less energy and last 3-5 times longer.
7. Recycle! Almost every neighborhood has a convenient recycling program. You no longer have to separate, wash thoroughly or peel off labels. By making it a part of our normal daily routine, it becomes a habit. It’s not hard.
These are super easy ways to save energy that we all could adopt with little effort. Despite all the politics involved in the subject, there is scientific proof that the earth is warming. Some of the crazy weather we have been observing across the country over the years is just one of the consequences. Even if we all maintained only one of the above suggestions, it would be a step in the right direction.