A few months ago a group of my friends and I were talking about global climate change and environmental issues. I was shocked to hear one of them say that until someone told her that she had to change her lifestyle that she was going to just keep living the way she was accustomed—i.e. not making any effort to conserve energy, recycle, reduce her carbon footprint, etc. It made me realize that the problem with this may be a lack of awareness of how to make some changes…some of us may be happy to change some simple things, if we were given some good advice on how to go about doing just that. So, in the spirit of the season, here’s a list to start with. I have done all these things and although some may involve a little bit of planning ahead (like sometimes I still forget to put that reusable to-go container back in my car after I wash it), it would be simple to start with one and make your way through the list throughout 2009.
- Carpool, ride the bus, walk or bike to work at least once per month (start slow, work up to once per week).
- Become conscious of/reduce the amount of packaging in what you choose to purchase.
- Vote with your dollars choosing to support local, environmentally-friendly, socially-conscious businesses (and for electronics, choose companies with take-back programs for recycling).
- Bring a reusable bag everywhere, not just the grocery store.
- Get a programmable thermostat that keeps the heat/air monitored while you are not at home.
- Recycle everything possible even if that means having to go above and beyond curbside convenience.
- Invest in a power strip so you can turn off your computer, monitor, etc. with one easy switch, at home and at work.
- Stop using plastic utensils/paper plates/napkins at parties and go reusable!
- Start a simple composting adventure in your back yard for food waste.
- Invest in reusable containers and water bottles for when you are not at home—no more plastic bottles! Put a reusable container in your car for restaurant leftovers and take-out – demand that your favorite places stop using Styrofoam!