April 18, 2006
How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time? Staff members at the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental organization, share ideas on how to GO GREEN and SAVE GREEN at home and at work. To learn more about Worldwatch's efforts to create am environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs, sign up here for weekly e-mail updates.
Climate change is in the news. It seems like everyone's "going green." We're glad you want to take action, too. Luckily, many of the steps we can take to stop climate change can make our lives better. Our grandchildren-and their children-will thank us for living more sustainably. Let's start now.
We've partnered with the Million Car Carbon Campaign to help you find ways to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. This campaign is uniting conscious consumers around the world to prevent the emissions-equivalent of 1 million cars from entering the atmosphere each year.
Keep reading for 10 simple things you can do today to help reduce your environmental impact, save money, and live a happier, healthier life. For more advice, purchase State of the World 2010 - Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability, a report from 60 renowned researchers and practitioners on how to reorient cultures toward sustainability.
Save energy to save money.
- Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
- Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
- Unplug appliances when you're not using them. Or, use a "smart" power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts "phantom" or "vampire" energy use.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
- Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.
Save water to save money.
- Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
- Install a low-flow showerhead. They don't cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
- Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
- Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.
Less gas = more money (and better health!).
- Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
- Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.
- Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.
Skip the bottled water.
- Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.
- Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.
- Check out this short article for the latest on bottled water trends.
Think before you buy.
- Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you've just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
- Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
- Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.
Borrow instead of buying.
- Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
- Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.
- Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
- Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
- Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you'll be happy when you don't have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).
Keep electronics out of the trash.
- Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
- Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
- Recycle your cell phone.
- Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection event.
Make your own cleaning supplies.
- The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
- Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.
Thanks to members of SustainUS, the U.S. youth network for sustainable development, for contributing their ideas on how to go green and save green at home and at work.
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More and more people are thinking about the environmental issues and ecological condition of Earth nowadays. Why has this problem become so relevant? What should we do to save our future? In my opinion, people have understood that their irresponsibility causes harm to the natural environment. Our planet suffers from numerous problems, which have been caused by the results of the excessive anthropogenic activity. The entire planet suffers from pollution, global warming, deforestation, extinction of biological species, etc. These problems are extremely relevant and require rapid and intensive solutions. It is possible to defeat these problems if the entire humanity changes its approach towards nature, natural resources and the value of nature for its wellbeing. In simple words, people should go green to save Earth.
Why should we take efforts now in order to save Earth in future? Very few people understand that it is important to change their lifestyle now in order to see the results of these changes in a few decades. Doubtless, you will not grow a big forest in a year. You can plant a small tree but it will grow to its proper height only in ten or fifteen years. To my mind, this activity resembles investment into a small firm. In a few years, the firm develops into a big company, which will provide you with the solid profit. Consequently, it is not right to say that the idea of going green is useless. When you do not see the results of your activity now, it does not mean that you will not see them in ten years.
Furthermore, we must not be selfish. It is important to think about the wellbeing of our children and grandchildren. We are responsible for the natural environment and problems, which will become the burden for our children. I know that many people do not care about the condition of Earth after their death. They say that it is the headache of our future generations. I suppose, it is the main problem. People do not care about future and they do not appreciate what they have. This approach is caused by greediness and consumerism. People want more money and material values in order to satisfy their needs. They are ready to exhaust the world they live in. They cut down forests, kill animals, birds and fish and pollute rivers, lakes, seas and oceans. They care about their profit and nothing more. No wonder, people open new and new plants, factories and power stations, which cause harm to the natural environment but provide them with money. It looks ridiculous when people are ready to destroy forests and pollute rivers in order to gain profit. People do not appreciate fresh air and water, though they cannot survive a minute without them. They are ready to live in the unhealthy, terribly-looking and polluted environment in order to receive more money. Finally, they will have to pay for their treatment at a hospital, because they breathe in polluted air and consume contaminated food and water.
How can we save our planet from the results of our harmful activity? To begin with, we should reduce pollution, because it the cause of numerous problems. We must not litter in the street, parks and forests. We should recycle wastes in order to save our priceless natural recourses. We should use public transport more frequently, because it does not release numerous harmful gases, which cause greenhouse effect and global warming. Next, entrepreneurs should use special filters at plants, factories and power stations in order to reduce the amount of poisonous emissions into the air and water. Then, people should stop cutting down forests, because they are the lungs of Earth. Moreover, every forest is a home for thousands of animals, birds and insects, which improve the balance of ecosystems.
In conclusion, our unwise and extensive activity causes harm to the natural environment. We lose priceless natural resources, fresh air, water, forests, animals, birds, fish, insects, etc. People should change their lifestyle rapidly in order to stop deforestation, global warming, pollution and other problems, which can destroy the life on the planet. We ought to go green in order to save the life of future generations.
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