You don’t have to buy a hybrid car, move to EcoVillage or install a wind turbine in your yard to help curb greenhouse-gas pollution. Here are eight easy things you can do without drastically changing your lifestyle:
It seems too easy, but turn off the lights when you leave a room or go to bed. If every home in the country replaced a normal light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, enough energy would be saved to light 2.5 million homes for a year.
Recycle. Every dorm and apartment has at least one recycling basket, so use it. Collect soda and beer cans leftover from the weekend, take them down to the grocery store and make a little extra money.
Minimize your use of disposable products. Many greenhouse gases are created during the production of plastics, so instead of buying plastic cups or plates for a party, use the ones you already have.
Classrooms aren’t really that far from the Circles or Gardens, so leave 10 minutes earlier and walk to class, or get a few friends together and carpool. It will even help free up the crowded parking lots.
When you’re not using it, shut off your computer. Even when appliances are turned off, they are still burning up useless energy when plugged in. Plug everything into a power strip and turn the strip off when you go to class or bed.
Hot water adds up. Instead of taking a 10-minute shower, try cutting it down to a few minutes. How much time do you really need to get clean? If you buy the right detergent, you can start using cold water to wash your clothes instead of hot.
Pay attention to what you eat. Buying locally grown foods helps to prevent the energy costs in mass production and shipping. If Americans cut their meat consumption by 10 percent, there would be a drastic effect on curbing global warming because the processing of meat creates greenhouse gases, says Jason Hamilton, assistant professor of biology.
The next time you buy appliances for your dorm room or apartment, look for ones with an Energy Star sticker. They are not much more expensive and will surely help cut down on your energy consumption.
Most importantly, be aware of your actions. You don’t have to join one of the campus or local environmental organizations to make a difference. Remind your roommates and friends about the easy steps they can take to help curb climate change and make a better future.
Sources: Sustainable Tompkins, CleanAir-CoolPlanet.org