The earth is getting warmer. There’s no doubt about that. The average temperature of our planet rose 1.4°F over the last 100 years, and is expected to continue on that path over the next 100 years. Some are even predicting an increase by as much as 11.5°F, and with these temperature changes come environmental changes. Droughts, heat waves, rising sea levels, and melting ice caps are slowly becoming the norm, taking a permanent residence on the back burner instead of where they should be…front and center!
As residents of the earth, it is our responsibility to keep it healthy and inhabitable. The Environmental Protection Agency has simplified this by doing the research and giving us 25 lifestyle changes that are sure to reduce climate change.
- Replace your five most frequently used light fixtures with energy efficient bulbs.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing appliances, heating/cooling equipment, and electronics.
- Improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by changing your air filters regularly, installing a programmable thermostat, and performing regular maintenance to your equipment.
- Reduce air leakage by caulking, weather stripping, and insulating your home’s envelope.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Newspapers, plastic bottles, and junk mail can all be recycled.
- Conserve water wherever possible. The EPA states that “three percent of the nation’s energy is used to pump and treat water.”
- Build a compost pile in your backyard to limit the amount of trash you send to landfills.
- Purchase green power or invest in renewable energy by installing solar panels.
- Calculate your home’s carbon footprint to understand where your emissions come from and how to eliminate them.
- Spread the word about your green initiative to your family and friends, and help them get started with their own projects!
AT THE OFFICE
- Adjust the settings of your computers, laptops, and other equipment to power down when idle.
- Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified printers, copiers, and computers.
- Tell your facility maintenance department about the ENERGY STAR buildings program, which will further assist your building’s performance.
- Become the office socialite and organize a carpooling program.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Always remember to print double sided, buy supplies made from repurposed materials, and recycle all batteries and printer cartridges.
ON THE ROAD
- The next time you shop for a new car, take a look at hybrid and electric models that will increase your fuel efficiency (watch out for smart car tipping though!).
- To improve fuel economy, avoid hard accelerations and fast stops, limit the amount of time spent idling, and get rid of any unnecessary weight.
- Schedule regular maintenance visits and use the recommended grade of motor oil to extend the life, and fuel efficiency, of your vehicle.
- Remember to keep your tire pressure at the correct level to avoid drag.
- Give your car a rest and opt for biking, walking, or taking public transportation to work.
- If it’s compatible with your car, use renewable fuels such as E85 and biodiesel.
- Track your school’s greenhouse gas emissions using EPA’s Climate Change Emissions Calculator Kit.
- College students can reduce emissions by controlling the energy used in their dorms and working with administrators to develop an efficiency plan.
- Teach students about climate change and its harmful effects on nearby ecosystems.
- Encourage faculty, staff, and students to limit energy usage and, of course, reduce, reuse, and recycle!
If you classify yourself as a go-getter, then set your goal high and work to accomplish all of these tips! If you’re just getting started with saving the planet, take it one step at a time and begin with a few. Either way, you’ll be helping to limit climate change, and that’s really what it’s all about.
For more information on any of these quick tips, visit epa.gov.
Photo Credit: Climate Change and EPA Tips/shutterstock