Environmental issues have made their way into mainstream discussion and we are becoming acutely aware that we all need to do our part in helping repair the damage we have done to the environment. You hear a lot about natural resources and how we need to conserve them or find more efficient ways of using them. Natural resources are anything we use that comes from nature, such as oil, trees, most forms of electricity and water. We utilize these resources every day and we can stand to use them less and more efficiently. If you want to be more environmentally conscious, there are lots of easy ways that you can do right in your own home; here are a few to get you started.
Switching to low-flow showerheads and toilets can save substantial amounts of water. Using a low-flow toilet, for example, can save several gallons of water per flush—this may not sound like a lot but think how many times a toilet gets flushed around the world. While you will have to lay out money initially for the products, you will get back the cost many times over from the savings in your water bill.
Traditional light bulbs are a major energy drain and they do not last as long as other lighting options. Switching to compact fluorescent or LED bulbs will help you use energy more efficiently and save you money over the long run. While they may cost more than traditional light bulbs, they will not need replacing for many years. Their long life coupled with more efficient use of electricity can add up to some nice savings for you.
If you live in certain places, you will certainly need your heat, but there are steps we can take to use it more efficiently and not have to crank it up as high. Black-out curtains can reduce heat loss through your windows by up to 20 percent; if you are good at sewing, you can make your own by attaching the blackout lining yourself to your current curtains. Use covers to keep cold air from coming in through unused outlets. Buy a programmable thermostat so you can automatically set the temperatures to accommodate your needs at different times of the day. If you have a fireplace, get glass doors to prevent heat loss more effectively and only use it for special occasions.
It is understandable to want a nice landscape, but our gardening activities are a major contributor to wasted water. Put your garbage to good use by composting—the process where organic materials breakdown and can be used as fertilizer. It is good for soil quality and better soil requires less watering; examples of acceptable items include fruits, vegetables, ground nutshells, newspaper, plain white paper, coffee grounds, egg shells, cardboard and yard trimmings.
Examples of inappropriate items include eggs, dairy, meat, fish, animal bones, cat and dog waste, oily foods, greasy foods, fatty foods and colored, glossy paper. Use irrigation-drip watering for plants and flowers to deliver water directly to the soil. Plant native species—they are perfectly adapted to your environment, meaning they need less water and are easier to maintain.
If you want to do your part to reduce deforestation, be more conscious about your use of paper. Opt to receive and pay bills online whenever applicable. Use cloths instead of paper products when cleaning. Only use your printer when necessary; use both side when printing or writing. Look for products that use recycled materials for their packaging.
A commitment to small changes can make a big difference. One of the best parts about being more conscious about conserving natural resources is they also help save you money. I do not know a better incentive to be more eco-friendly. The planet needs our help and there are lots of ways we can offer it that do not cost a lot of either money or time. Make every day Earth Day.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about how people can be more environmentally conscious. One person who often gives her advice for her articles is Bradley S Cohen and she finds him extremely useful.