Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How do I become environmentally friendly?

For a long time I used to wonder how I can contribute to protecting the environment. The two easy (pragmatic) and the only clear paths I saw were to save/plant trees and burn less fuel (gasoline, diesel, firewood, etc.). And I must say that that I have been very faithful to my ideas; I plant trees and I don't burn firewood unless I am camping of course.

But, is this enough? Am I done, is the environment safe? Probably not. It's safer but it is not protected from me, yet. And, this is because there are certain other habits I have cultivated over the past few years that are detrimental to the environment. A friend of mind recently forwarded this article to me, which exposed a number of ways I may be harming the environment, ranging from drinking bottled water to eating excessive meat.

So, here's what you can do to help protect the environment:

  1. Take luke warm showers instead of hot ones.
  2. Avoid hot drying of dishes in dishwasher. See if you can handwash small utensils rather than dumping them into the dishwasher.
  3. Run large loads of laundry instead of smaller loads more frequently.
  4. Dry clothes on the lines in your garage. Does that bedsheet/kitchen towel/curtain really needs an electric drier? Can your shoes/sneakers be air dried?
  5. Avoid using anti-weed spray/feed in your lawns. See if you can take some time out to weed the weeds out of your lawn manually.
  6. If your house is not on an acre of a property or more you can use electric garden tools rather than gasoline powered.
  7. Have you considered opening blinds and curtains on your windows and doors to let the sunlight come in and warm the house in winter months?
  8. Using fans inside of your house reduces electricity consumption.
  9. Set your garden sprinker system to run every 3-4 days instead of twice a day during wet/rainy season.
  10. Use organic manure in your garden/lawn.
  11. Reduce your shower time from 15 mins to 10 mins. Turn the shower off when you are using body soap or shampoo.
  12. Turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth.
  13. See if you can use brooms and mops to clean your hard floors instead of vaccum cleaners.

All of the steps above either help reduce gasoline, water, and electricity consumtion or reduce the toxic chemicals that we introduce into the ground water and natural streams.

Becoming eco-friendly and green is not an overnight transformation but a change in lifestyle that takes several months or even years. Get green and spread the word and practices around.