9 Things You Can Do to Help Save Earth

9 Things You Can Do  to Help Save Earth

By Katie Lambert & Sarah Gleim


The United Nations suggests that climate change is not just the defining issue of our time, but we are also at a defining moment in history. Weather patterns are changing and will threaten food production, and sea levels are rising and could cause catastrophic flooding across the globe.

Countries must make drastic actions to avoid a future with irreversible damage to major ecosystems and planetary climate. But what about individuals? What can we do to pitch in and help save Earth?

There are plenty of things you can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and your carbon footprint to make a less harmful impact on the environment. Taking care of the Earth is not just a responsibility, it’s a necessity


1. Conserve Water

The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, you’re doing something good. Got a leaky faucet? You might be dripping as much as 90 gallons (340 liters) of water down the drain every day. So fix it! It’s easy and cheap. And stop drinking bottled water. Switch to filtered tap water. You’ll save a ton of cash and help reduce a ton of plastic waste in the process.


2. Eat Sustainable Foods

Today, large-scale food production accounts for as much as 25% of greenhouse emissions. So how do you eat sustainably? Choosing food from farmers that aim to conserve natural resources and have as little impact on the land as possible. Even buying as much as you can from local farmers makes a difference. Eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts, and less red meats and processed foods does too. Grow your own fruits and vegetables.


3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,


You can help reduce pollution just by putting that soda can in the recycling bin. It really does make a difference. Take reusable bags to the grocery, and avoid using disposable plates, spoons, glasses, cups, and napkins.

Contact companies that send you junk mail to get off their mailing lists. When you order online, see if you can group your packages together for mailing. Buy products that are made of recycled materials. And don’t forget to recycle your own paper. It can make all the difference.


4. Live Energy-wise

Make your home more energy efficient (and save money). Your home’s windows are responsible for 25 to 30% of residential heat gain and heat loss. If they’re old and inefficient, consider replacing them.

Smaller things you can do right away include replacing your air filter regularly so your AC system doesn’t have to work overtime. Keep your window treatments closed when it’s extremely hot and cold outside. You can also consider installing a programmable thermostat so your system isn’t running (and wasting energy) when you’re not home.


5. Walk, Bike or Take Public Transit

Walking and biking are obvious ways to reduce greenhouse gases. Plus, you’ll get some good cardio and burn some calories while you do it. If you live in an area that’s not walkable, take advantage of your local mass transit if you can, or carpool. Even one car off the road makes a difference.


6. Plant a Tree (or Two)

Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and most countries are not reducing carbon emissions. But there is a natural way to combat climate change: plant a tree.

Plants naturally absorb carbon from the air. One young tree can absorb CO2 at a rate of 13 pounds (5 kilograms) per tree. Every. Single. Year. And that’s just an itty bitty baby tree. Once that tree reaches about 10 years old, it’s at its most productive stage of carbon storage. Then it can absorb 48 pounds (21 kilograms) of CO2 per year. Trees also remove all other kinds of junk from the air, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and small particles.


7. Give Up Plastics

The statistics are shocking: people around the world buy 1 million plastic drinking bottles every minute, and use up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags every year. Humans are addicted to plastic, and hardly any of it—about 9%—gets recycled.

A staggering 68 to 219 million tons of plastic is currently in our oceans. Break the cycle. Stop buying bottled water. Say no to plastic shopping bags and use cloth bags instead. Don’t use plastic straws. Drink from a reusable cup instead of a plastic one. Avoiding plastic can divert a ton of waste from the oceans and landfill.


8. Switch to LEDs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are great. They can last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and they use at least two-thirds less energy, but even CFLS have issues. They’re hard to dispose of because they contain mercury.

Enter light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs. They emit light in a very narrow band wavelength so they’re super energy-efficient. Start replacing your old incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs now (if you haven’t already). They do cost more than CFLs and incandescents, but equivalent LED bulbs can last at least 30,000 hours compared to 1,000 hours for incandescent bulbs, or 8,000 to 10,000 hours for CFLs.


9. Be Car-conscious

If you can, stay off the road two days a week or more. You’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,590 pounds (721 kilograms) per year. It’s easier than you think. You can combine your errands — hit the school, grocery store and dog daycare in one trip. And talk to your boss about teleworking. It’s a boon for you and your company. But being car conscious also means maintaining your car on a regular basis. You can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% to 3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure, and be sure to make necessary repairs if your car fails emission tests


source: howstuffworks.com


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