What Can the Individual Do?
By Jessica Armstrong
In Portland, Oregon we often hear about pollution and global climate change. We hear about the dangers of factories that pollute our water sources and air, but rarely do we hear about the little things we can do as individuals. Stopping pollution from factories is just as important as changing our daily lives to improve our situation. There are several small steps that individuals can build in to their daily routines that will not only decrease greenhouse gases but also that can save money. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has outline three places in which individuals would be able to greatly decrease their contributions to climate change.
At home a few choices to reduce your greenhouse gases would be to change the old light bulbs in your home to more energy efficient bulbs, replace your heating and cooling systems to more efficient models which will also lower your electricity bill. Simple steps like recycling, using less water, and properly insulating your home will not only allow you to reduce your carbon foot print but also allow you to save money. Teaching your children these habits in the home will instill good sustainable habits later in life.
Students are also able to help lessen their carbon footprint with good habits. Habits such as bringing a reusable water bottle to school instead of buying water bottles everyday would greatly reduce plastic in landfill. Also if student do have to buy a bottle of water at school recycling that bottle is their best option of disposal. Also students can help by encouraging and educating their peers on responsible use of natural resources.
When at work decreasing energy use and becoming more efficient with our natural resources can be tricky, but it is completely possible. One of the easiest ways to be more efficient is to recycle paperwork or use the back of unwanted paper as scratch paper. When your office has to replace equipment choosing energy efficient equipment that will turn off or go in to “sleep” mode when not in use, this will save energy but also money for your employer. Try to carpool to work or take mass transit, and if you have the capability plan to live within walking distance of your job.
"What You Can Do." United States Enviromental Protection Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. <http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/>.