50 years ago, the country was in facing an environmental crisis… oil spills, smog and rivers that literally caught fire because they were so polluted. On April 22, 1970 20 million Americans joined together in the first Earth Day, protesting around the country and demanding a better way forward for our planet.
This year, the theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. According to EarthDay.org “Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.”
You don’t have to protest or wait for Earth Day to do your part! In fact, with a few small changes in your home, you can make a big difference year-round in reducing your carbon footprint, cleaning the air and conserving energy.
The best part is that becoming more environmentally conscious in your home isn’t just good for the environment. It’s good for your wallet. Saving the environment actually saves you money! Even, better it doesn’t cost much to get started.
Line-dry your clothes if possible. Ok you might not want to air dry all of your clothes but every little bit helps. You don’t even need a clothesline or a drying rack to do this. You can throw your clothes over your patio furniture/railing or hang them on a hanger over your patio door. It’s better for the life of your clothes too.
Take off your shoes. This one irritates some people when they are asked to do it but consider this. Taking off your shoes reduces the number of pollutants and toxins you could bring inside from the bottom of your shoes.
Keep your car in the garage. Rideshare, bike or walking can be good alternatives to driving everywhere. Plus, it’s good exercise for you.
Less than $10
Invest in a power strip. Here’s why. Lots of appliance drain power just by being plugged in, even when they are turned off. By one estimate, Americans pay $1 billion a year to power televisions and other appliances that are turned off. By using power strips and turning them off when you aren’t using the things that are plugged in, you can conserve energy.
The tool you didn’t know you need. This long, skinny brush can loosen gunk from the coils under your fridge and clean the lint slot on your dryer. You are going to be equally amazed and grossed out by what comes out! Your appliances will thank you for being able to run more efficiently.
Upgrade your light bulbs. On average, about 12 percent of your home’s energy bill goes toward lighting. Replaces those incandescent bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs. They use less electricity and they last longer (10-25 times longer!) which means less time and money spent climbing up on chairs to replace them. These types of bulbs also emit less heat which makes it easier on your air conditioner in the summer. And as a bonus, some utility companies offer programs to get them for free or offer rebates with purchase. Check your provider’s website for details.
How low can you go? Anytime you can reduce the amount of water you use the better. That could mean switching to low flow faucets or shower heads, washing your clothes in cold water, or fixing leaking toilets. Leaks in a home actually account for more than 10-thousand gallons of wasted water every year. Depending on the leak you may need assistance from a plumber.
Use native plants in landscaping. Native vegetation uses less water to survive. That means less maintenance for you which means less need for fertilizer, pesticides and the use of gas powered equipment. According to EPA.gov, approximately 30 percent of water consumed daily in the United States is devoted to outdoor uses, especially irrigation. Talk to your local nursery about what plants thrive best in the local climate.
Look for the star.
Did you know that the average U.S. home can pump out twice as much in greenhouse-gas emissions as the average car?
When its time for new appliances look for Energy Star rated appliances and electronics. They typically cost more up front but save you money in the long term by cutting down on your monthly energy bills.
Install a smart/programmable thermostat. These allow you to change the temperature of your home to more or less depending on your needs. For instance, you can set it to drop a few degrees at night… or change it one the weekends when you are out a lot.
Checking to make sure your windows aren’t leaky, and that your home has good insulation are also general maintenance checks you should make regularly.
From what/how you eat to the products you use in your home there are so many ways we can do our part to help this planet. To find out more about Earth Day and how you can participate check this out.