Monday, September 3, 2012

Four Small Changes to Make in Your Daily Life

Inspired by this month's theme - "A Day in the Life" - the Climate Crusader shares three things she does in her daily life to make a difference.

The environmental problems we face are very, very big. When you consider them, it's easy to feel discouraged. How can one person address such massive issues?

The good news is that you don't have to have all the answers. By making small changes, and sticking with them, you can make an impact. Those little things that you do in your daily life add up quickly, because you repeat them over and over again. Today I'm sharing five things I do in my own daily life to make a difference.

Reusable bag overload

Four Small Changes to Make in Your Daily Life

  1. Carry reusable bags everywhere. I carry reusable bags in my purse wherever I go. I have Envirosax, ChicoBag and some knock-offs, and they all fold up really small so they're not cumbersome at all. Now I never have to take a plastic bag when I buy something. The average American uses 300-700 plastic bags each year, so this little change packs a big punch.
  2. Drink tap water. The Eco-novice made a great case for drinking water. It's free or incredibly cheap, it doesn't come with any packaging and it's good for you. If you carry a reusable water bottle with you when you go out you can easily refill it as needed. In airports I empty mine out before I go through security and refill it on the other side, and I'm never without a drink when I need it.
  3. Increase the temperature on your thermostat in the summer, and decrease it in the winter. Big changes in temperature are hard to take - but even a one degree change for eight hours each day can reduce your heating bill by one percent. If you can, consider installing a programmable thermostat, so that you can automatically reduce your heating and cooling during the hours when no one is home.
  4. Eat less meat. Meat production is a major contributing factor in climate change - in fact, livestock produce as much as 18% of the planet's greenhouse gases. Meat production also uses far more water than growing plants. I'm not a vegetarian, but I have taken steps to reduce my meat consumption. Even one veggie meal every day can make a big difference, and you may even get the chance to try some new recipes while you're at it.
Each change that you make carries a benefit for the planet. And the changes that you make in your daily life carry extra weight, because over the course of a month or year they really add up. So don't feel that you need to have all the answers right away - start small, by changing one little thing in your daily routine. The planet will thank you.

What environmental changes have you made in your daily life? I'd love some more suggestions!


Liz said...

I had no idea eating meat was such a big factor. Any suggestions for great meat-free dinners?

Betsy Escandon said...

Liz, check out Meatless Monday on Midnight Maniac's website:

I love the airport water tip!

Steve Hayes said...

Orthodox Christians fast from meat (and dairy products) twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays.

But if livestock produce all these greenhouse gases, what about wild animals? Shouldn't we exterminate them too?

Elizabeth said...

cheadd1) Love the reusable bags. Have some fine mesh ones just found so can bag produce rather that letting lemons loose on the conveyor.

2) My children have all grown up with the carry the water bottle everywhere mindset. It is harder for me to remember. We have well water at home and work in city. We bring in jugs to make our coffee and tea and for drinking water as tastes better to us.

3) Judiciously place fans can help move the air around so can keep the A/C use less.

4) We don't eat meat. Don't see the need and if you read about factory farming you see how much water and energy go into them and how much waste comes out. Not to mention the animal cruelty. Meat is fine for those who want it, but I think as in anything there is responsible consumption. There are countless vegetarian blogs to follow...I think there is one called Meatless Meals for Meat Eaters, if I remember right.

Amber Strocel said...

There are two big differences between wild and domestic animals. (1) We breed WAY more domestic animals than would breed on their own. For example, in the are where I live there are over 25 million chickens, and just 2 million people. This ups the ante. (2) In agricultural operations, waste is typically fed into pits until it's ready to handle. The lack of oxygen in the pits leads to methane production. This doesn't happen when an animal just poops on the forest floor.

Amber Strocel said...

I just recalled a third difference between domestic and wild animals as well. Domestic animals carry a carbon footprint because we do things like heat and light barns and transport feed over long distances to them.


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