Reducing our planet’s energy usage and pollution starts at home with a little conscientious action from each one of us. Here are eight easy ideas to drastically lessen the carbon footprint of your household:
- Replace old energy hungry appliances: Old refrigerators, for example, that are not energy star approved (they do not have the energy star logo) consume more power than any other appliance in the home. Modern refrigerators use up to half the power of old ones, so if your fridge is ten years or older – lose it!
- Reduce the use of toxic cleaning products: Many of these products are extremely toxic to you and the environment; try purchasing products made from alcohol rather. Instead of petroleum based ingredients, seek out detergents and disinfectants that employ the use of plant oils.
- Use less water, put aerators on taps: These save a good deal of water. Install a new toilet as they use less than half the water of older models.
- Energy efficient globes: Compact fluorescent globes use less than half the amount of energy of a regular globe and have a much longer lifespan.
- Do away with plastic: Plastic is a nightmare – it has a ridiculous lifespan and is suffocating our planet. Use brown paper shopping bags where possible; or have designated shopping bags that you can take with to the grocery store. If you must use plastic try re-use and recycle them.
- Keep an eye on heat: Much of a home’s energy consumption is on account of heating and cooling. Replace an old furnace with a modern one. To stay cool while reducing the use of air conditioners, erect awnings or shade clothes over east and west facing windows. Ceiling fans use less energy than aircon units.
- Save our forests: Use recycled paper where possible. Take yourself off junk mail lists to save on unwanted pamphlets and flyers.
- A toxic free garden equals a toxic free body: Make your own compost and avoid using fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Compost making is as easy as throwing vegetable matter in a pile and watering and turning it every so often. This creates a nutrient rich medium that is able to meet all the mineral requirements of your plants, without polluting the garden with toxic chemicals that eventually end up in our rain, oceans and rivers. Pests are intolerant to many natural substances such as tobacco, garlic and cayenne, so purchase organic insecticides or make your own.
Having the smallest possible negative impact on our environment should be everyone’s prerogative. Even the smallest changes we make to our lifestyles now will greatly slow the degradation of our planet and atmosphere. If we carry on the way we are, in just a decade or so the damage will be irreversible and life on this planet will no longer be possible, and we will only have ourselves to blame.
This post was written by Jay Ruger. a Cape Town-based freelancer. Jay enjoys writing on a diverse range of subjects, including interior design and home décor.