Saturday, 11 May 2013

33 ways to greener living

I read today that the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere are the highest they have been in 3 million years.
I would love to write a post about 3 million things you can do to help change that horrible fact, but that would be excessively long and I don't know if I personally know of 3 million things.  But here is a list of things that we (our family) does to lower our carbon footprint on a daily basis:

1. Wash laundry in cold water
2. Avoid purchasing food that comes individually wrapped. More wrapping not only means more waste, but involved more costs of production (more carbon) at the manufacturing plant.
3. When you clean the inside of your fridge, UNPLUG IT. Your food will survive.
4. Grow your own food.
5. Make your own food.  And that does not mean reheat food that you bought in the frozen section of the store.  It means buy actual ingredients and make real food.  I could go on, but you get the picture.
6. Buy a manually-powered lawn mower. Like this one.  We own it. Never have to sharpen the blades, easy to push. And the best part: no noise.
7. Plant less lawn and more food-producing plants.
8. Wear your jeans more than once before you wash them.
9. Shower with someone.  Hey - fun for everyone!
10. On hot days, keep windows closed and cover the windows during the day, open the windows at night.
11. When the heat is getting ridiculous, seek refuge in the basement.
12. Be naked.
13. On cold days: your car only needs 5 minutes to idle and warm up the motor in the winter.  5 minutes.  Not 10, not 20. Five.
14. Make less trips into town. Plan ahead and do all your errands at once.
15. Keep a reusable cup in your car for when you want to buy a coffee or iced-coffee.  No waste.
16. Use waste-free lunch containers like these.
17. Unplug your electronics EVERY NIGHT. The easy way: plug them all into a timer-equiped power bar. Then set the timer to turn on and off at a certain time each day. You have no idea how much power your LCD TV, blu-ray, etc are sucking when they are turned off. 
18. Use a rain barrel to water your plants.
19. Buy a green car. Not the colour green.  One with better fuel economy than your current car. Although the car could also be green on the outside. Not all families need minivans. You can fit three carseats into the back of a Prius.  We have done it.
20. Walk or bike to get where you need to go.
21. Turn the lights off when you leave a room.  Or install motion sensor light switches. 
22. Reuse plastic grocery bags as garbage bags for your bathrooms.
23. Use cloth diapers.  Even considering the cost and energy consumed to wash them, they are still much more green than disposable.
24. Compost
26. Turn down your hot water tank. Especially if you leave for a few days.
27. Turn down the thermostat at night and cuddle up to someone for heat.
28. Wash and reuse your ziploc bags.
29. Grow your own herbs and dry them. They taste so much better than store bought!
30. Make weed tea to fertilize your plants.  It stinks, but it works!
31. Drink regular tap water.  You can filter it through a Brita or whatnot, but it saves money and plastic from all those little water bottles.
32. Make your own iced tea from tea bags, lemons and sugar. The tea bags get composted, the lemons are biodegradable, and the iced tea is super delish. Want some recipes? Check these out.
33. If it's yellow, let it mellow...and get a toilet that uses less water per flush.

Off the top of my head, that's what I've got.

What do you do in your house?

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