It is depressing but true that extreme weather has become common throughout the world. City swallowing hurricanes, nation destroying tsunamis, neighborhood trashing tornadoes, and cross country sweeping deep freezes have all become part of global news reports on the unpredictable weather impacts of Mother Nature.
Most scientists point to manmade global warming as the reason for these dramatic weather events, while a small percentage dispute the impact of human influence and say that these things would cyclically occur anyway.
One thing that everyone agrees on is that each person in the world should learn and implement small adjustments in their behavior to reduce their “footprint,” or have as little environmental impact as possible.
The challenge most people find in reducing their footprint is caring versus convenience. They want to do their part but they also want to avoid inconveniences. This being said, here are six small things with big impact that you can do immediately to reduce your footprint:
- Run all your errands in one day
- Don’t fill landfills with plastic bottles
- Wash in cold water
- Recycle paper, glass and plastics
- Donate clothes and shoes
- Buy from companies that care
Run all your errands in one day
Vehicle emissions have one of the biggest impacts on the environment with carbon gases getting released into the atmosphere every time a gasoline-fueled car or bus makes a move. If you plan your schedule so that you run routine errands all in one day, instead of multiple trips throughout the week, you condense vehicle emissions and have less of an environmental impact.
Don’t fill landfills with plastic bottles
With concerns about questionable tap water quality, or for convenience, almost everyone has bought bottled water from time to time. Bottled water poses several major impacts to the environment from the way that it is manufactured to the millions of plastic water bottles being discarded and put in landfills every year. An easy way to make sure you are getting top quality water into your body, and not having an impact on the environment, is to simply install a reverse osmosis water filtration system in your home and to buy a couple of reusable water bottles. Then you can have fresh, pure water at home and on the go!
Wash in cold water
Washing your clothes in hot water sounds like a good idea but in reality, hot water tends to set stains and also has a greater impact on the environment since heating water requires nine times the electricity that would be needed if you were to simply wash your clothes on cold. There is no difference in the cleanliness of your clothes but a big difference concerning your environmental footprint. Remember this tip next time you’re throwing in a load of clothes.
Recycle paper, glass and plastics
Most city sanitation departments have a recycling option so that you can have your recycle items picked up with your regular trash items each week. If you check with your city’s service and this is not available, you may be able to find a local, private, or non-profit service to handle your recycling. You could also be the proactive citizen in your city and start a new citywide recycling program.
Donate clothes and shoes
Annually, Americans throw away tons of clothes, shoes and toys. These all end up in landfills. Instead of throwing them away, call Goodwill or another local non-profit to pick up your unwanted items. They may be trash to you but a treasure to someone else. Help non-profits be able to serve more people by collecting and selling these used goods.
Buy from companies that care
You can reduce your environmental footprint by spending your money with companies that are investing in materials and processes to have a lower or neutral impact on the environment. You can even call your power company and switch to “green” electricity that is being generated from renewable sources like wind, solar, hydro and biofuels. By being loyal and supportive of these eco-friendly services and brands, you are sending a message to other companies to do a better job; plus, you are providing the environmentally protective companies with the means to keep up the good work!