Thursday, October 11, 2012

Time to make some changes...


Who has time for change?

By Autumn Huggins


The health of the environment is one of the major concerns of life today. It seems you cannot make it through the day without seeing evidence of the efforts being made to improve the overall health of the Earth and her ability to sustain life for future generations to come.  At some point, the question most of us will ask ourselves is, “What can I do to help”?

While our desire to do our part in keeping our home livable may genuine, many people lose their aspiration to do so because of either a lack of knowledge, or a lack of time. These two barriers can easily stifle the most committed of people. To get to the heart of this problem, we can take a look at two components, the first being the impact one person can make, the second what are the most effective ways to make an impact with little time available to do so.

Our daily activities as individuals do contribute to the environmental problems we are facing. The little changes we make every day will make a difference. Many people will rationalize that as one person, they aren’t likely to be the cause of the problem, nor any effective solution. However, we know that in combination with others, our individual actions play a part in the whole.

According to the Personal Environmental Impact Calendar at http://www.energy.wisc.edu/eic/          the average American generates 4.4 pounds of household and commercial waste daily. That adds up to being about 30.8 pounds a week and roughly 132 pounds a year! Americans are literally generating millions of pounds of household wastes every year!

So, other than our garbage, what is the greatest negative impact we make on the environment? According to the EPA, “Driving a private car is probably a typical citizen's most "polluting" daily activity.” Other than the obvious solutions of finding a “greener” way to travel, or buying an eco-friendly new car, they offer many suggestions on their website which you can do for your own car to reduce the emissions and even save gas and improve mileage. Just a bonus for you!

These, of course, are just two basic examples of our personal impact on the environment. Looking at them, it is not too difficult to see where we can make some changes that will not take much time or effort to make.

Paying attention to the impact you and your family are making on the environment is the first step in making a change. Being more mindful of the products we purchase makes us more aware of how they will be discarded and being sure to discard them in the most responsible way possible. Reduce, reuse, recycle… and compost! This will not only lighten your garbage output, but likely your conscience as well.

Here are a few additional ideas if you want to make a change:

1)      Learn more about what you are doing and can do!

2)      Prevent energy leaks in home (seal up doors, get double pane windows etc.)

3)      Lower thermostats

4)      Use low-flow shower head and toilets, if possible

5)      Plant trees (in your yard or someone else’s)

6)      Use organic materials in lawn and garden

7)      Turn off lights, appliances and water when not in use

8)      Fix water leaks in home

9)      Invest in solar energy

10)   Choose different transportation methods

11)   Get involved! ( either locally or globally, from community cleanups and other volunteer work to bigger global projects)

12)   Invest! ( If you have more money than time…donate!)

 There are many ways we can get involved and do our part to keep our home clean and livable. Small changes that we make can make a difference. Whether we have a lot of time to offer, or seemingly none at all the simple awareness of our actions and the changes we can make can mean all the difference in the world.

Reference:

http://www.epa.gov/epahome/trans.htm

 http://www.energy.wisc.edu/eic/              

 http://www.practicalenvironmentalist.com/21-practical-ways-to-help-the-environment

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