Easy and Cost Effective Ways We Can All Go Green
As I have mentioned in the past, I’m not a diehard treehugger, and yet, I do my best to be a responsible steward of God’s creation. I’ve been thinking through some of the things I’ve tried to do to be a better steward. Some of these things are no-brainers for some of my readers, but the reality is, there are a lot of people who still don’t even recycle (much less create their own compost). So, I want to give you my top ten things that I wish everyone in America would do to make the world a better place. More could be added, but at the very least let’s buy into these ten things.
10. Change to CFL lightbulbs.
They last longer. they use less energy. They save you money.
GE says, “If every household in the U.S. replaced ONE light bulb with a GE Energy Smart bulb, we would save…
– A combined national total of $600 million a year in energy costs.
– Enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.
9. Walk or bike for trips shorter than two miles.
Here are a few stats from Trek:
– 60% of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively.
– 24% of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40% of all trips are made within two miles of the home, and 50% of the working population commutes five miles or less to work.
– The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gasoline a year by increasing cycling from 1% to 1.5% of all trips.
8. Stop Drinking Bottled Water
According to the Refill not Landfill Campaign:
– Making all of the bottles for the US requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually. That’s enough to fuel 100,000 cars.
– Americans send about 38 billion water bottles a year to landfills. (According to Brita)
7. Shop Locally
There’s no reason to buy a tomato from Brazil. Many places have local farmer’s markets that you can go to and buy fresher, cheaper ingredients that weren’t frozen, packaged, shipped, unpacked, and put on the shelf. To shop locally is to conserve energy, support your local environment, and to improve your diet.
6. Plant a Tree
The Forest Service has identified a backlog of more than one million acres of America’s national forests that need to be replanted. And each year, with every wildfire, storm, or insect epidemic, the backlog steadily increases. Healthy forests filter water, remove air pollution, sequester carbon, and provide homes for wildlife. Do it on Arbor Day or purchase a tree in honor of someone.
A lot of what you consider to be trash might be what someone else is looking for. Consider the success of ebay for example. Donating old cell phones, computers, and even cars is a good way to make it last just a little bit longer.
4. Do a Yearly Service Project
Does your church organize a missions project each year? Is your family going on vacation? Why not do a Service Trip? Better yet, rather than jet off to some exotic location, why not find a “volunteer vacation” somewhere close by. Vacation is a state of mind anyway so make it a good one this year.
3. Think About What and How You Drive
Some of the tips here are a bit extreme, but there are a lot of great ideas for saving money on gas. Mostly it has to do with keeping the pressure in your tires, cleaning the air filter, not driving recklessly, etc. Over 50 tips for saving money on gas. Obviously, the priciest thing you can do is trade in your 20mpg SUV for a 60mpg hybrid or electric car. It will be the best option in the long run.
2. Go Online
Sure, it uses a small amount of electricity, but think about all the paper you are able to save by doing things online. Most online billing is free. Also, rather than print out a paper copy for your files, just keep it archived on an external drive.
According to Lime.com, “paperless billing [can save you about] $400 on stamps and late fees each year — it also has immense benefits for the environment. In fact, research shows that if every American signed up for online banking, 18.5 million trees would be spared annually.”
You can take cans to a recycling center and get money for it. You can use newspaper for your gift wrapping instead of buying paper. You can simply put your glass, paper, and plastic products out by the curb if your city offers that. And if it doesn’t, you can petition them until they do. Lots of ideas here and it’s simply ridiculous if you don’t make an effort to recycle.
– WasteManagement alone recycled enough paper last year to save 41 million trees.