Individuals Can Make a Difference
You don’t have to lobby in Washington or donate swaths of your income to activist organizations to make a difference. Some of the best and easiest ways to change the world at large is to change the way you behave. We’ve compiled a list changes you can make in your daily life that will have a big impact. A great benefit of implementing changes that help the environment is that these changes also help your health. Do as much as you feel comfortable doing, and know that even one small step is a step in the right direction.
Compost – Composting is simple and can be a lot of fun. It increases a soil’s water holding capacity, improves soil fertility, stimulates healthy root development and provides food for beneficial micro-organisms. It keeps useful organic matter from going to a landfill and can feed the trees in your forest or the food plants in your garden, which brings us to the next tip. For advice about how to get started composting visit www.compostguide.com
Grow some of your own food or eat local – Gardening can be a joyous activity that brings you entertainment and food what more could you ask for? Well, it will also cut down on food miles (the distance food travels from point of production to the consumer) which release harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The New York Times reports that the typical carrot in Iowa has traveled 1,600 miles. You can reduce 1600 miles to 16 steps outside your front door. How cool is that?
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs and appliances – Since its inception the light bulb has evolved to become more and more energy efficient. If you haven’t already, you should consider switching out your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, or just replacing burnt out incandescent light bulbs with CFLs. One new CFL light bulb will save your $40 worth of electricity over its lifetime and last much longer.
Eat less meat – Reducing your meat consumption is one of the easiest, fastest, and most effective way to help the environment. Livestock require copious amounts of clean drinking water, grain, and land to be maintained. Every 1lb. of beef requires 4.8lbs of grain; this aggravates world hunger as edible food is shipped across the world to be consumed by cattle. Indeed, the feed cost of an eight-ounce steak will fill 45 to 50 bowls with cooked cereal grains. Not to mention the water and land pollution that occurs because of concentrated factory farming. You can take steps to affect change by cutting down on meat in your meals.
Stop buying bottled water – Bottled water costs almost 2000x the cost of tap water, yet people in the US alone buy almost half a billion bottles of water a week; that’s enough to circle to globe more than five times! Some water sources are truly polluted but most of us in the United States enjoy clean tap water. Each year to make water bottles sold in the US, it takes enough oil and energy to fuel a million cars. To learn more click here.
Use water efficiently – While safe water is runs aplenty in most of United States it takes a lot of energy to purify the water you use every day. To reduce the energy used, you can reduce the amount of water you use. Take shorter showers, turn the water off when brushing your teeth, and fix a leaky toilet immediately (they can lose up to 200 gallons per day).
Travel smart – If you’re thinking of purchasing a new vehicle, look for one that has good fuel economy. Energy efficient vehicles have been on the road long enough; you can easily find a great used car that gets excellent gas millage. No matter what kind of car you have, it is better to drive less, walk or bicycle more, carpool often, and take care of the vehicle you have so that it will last as long as possible.