We can ALL make a difference. Every action we take, however small it may seem, makes a difference. Whether you decide to recycle, to reduce the time you spend in the shower, or plant your own vegetables, we all have the power to make changes in our life and help reduce the harm we cause to nature. Here are some simple ways you can help reduce your negative impacts on the environment and, at the same time, on your pocket.
USE ENERGY-EFFICIENT LIGHT BULBS
If you are still using incandescent lamps, you are not only paying more than you should but also causing a lot of energy wastage and carbon dioxide emissions.
Replace your light bulbs with either CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). For more info about CFLs and LEDs, have a look at this Facebook post I made a little while back about CFLs and LEDs: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.519714178069968.1073741826.116618288379561&type=1&l=d292cbd318
USE RECYCLED PAPER
Use paper products with recycled content whenever possible (for example, use 100% post-consumer recycled printer paper, recycled paper towels and napkins).
REDUCE AIR CONDITIONING USE
Air-cons use up a lot of energy to cool down the air and releases the heat into the environment. Many air conditioners also contain hydrofluorocarbons which contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. They also have a negative impact on our bodies’ natural adaptation to hot and cold temperatures. If you are used to blazing cold air conditioning, try to raise the temperature a little bit more everyday and you will see it’s not so bad! Maybe you can even go without or use a fan instead?
TAKE SHORTER SHOWERS OR INVEST IN A SWH
If you use an electric shower, it is likely to account for a major part of your water heating costs. Taking shorter showers will not only reduce your electricity bill but also reduce the negative impact you have on the environment. Even better, invest into a solar water heater and you will only use natural heat energy from the sun to heat up your water.
Did you know that by keeping your electronics plugged in, you are wasting huge amounts of energy. Save energy by making sure your phone charger, TV, blow dryer, etc. are unplugged when they are not being used!
WASH YOUR CLOTHES WITH COLD WATER AND AIR DRY THEM
When you wash your clothes, choose the cold wash setting on your washing machine for clothes that are not very dirty. You will save energy by not heating up the water. Air-drying your clothes rather than using a tumble dryer. We are lucky to have sunshine all year round, so why not make use of it!
CARPOOL WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Fuel prices are climbing at an astounding rate, so why not save some money and at the same time do something good for the environment by carpooling to work/school. Try to organise carpooling yourself and suggest it to friends. If your place of work is at walkable distance, walk or ride your bike instead.
REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF GARBAGE YOU PRODUCE
Recycle as much as you can (paper, plastic, glass…) and buy products which have less packaging when you shop. You will save a lot of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere by doing those simple acts to reduce your garbage.
PLANT A TREE
Do you enjoy gardening? Plant a tree in your yard or take a plant along to your workplace. Not only will it make you feel better, but you will also reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. A single tree will absorb a ton of CO2 over its lifetime!
STAY AWAY FROM PLASTIC
Different kinds of plastic take different times to degrade. Most plastic bottles will sit in landfills for several hundreds of years! Even worse, bottles made with Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) will never biodegrade. Very few plastic bottles are recycled, meaning a lot of them also end up thrown in public places or in the sea. Plastic thrown into the warm sea water gets broken down more quickly with UV rays (this can be in as little as a year) and toxic chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomer are released. These either end up in the digestive systems of of sea animals or get washed up onto the shore, where we humans are most likely to come into direct contact with the toxins. Who loves a swim in toxic water? Mauritius is blessed with lovely beaches that we are meant to enjoy safely. So, please share and either don’t go for plastic bottles, recycle them if you do use them and don’t throw them in watercourses or the sea! Use glass bottles as far as possible. Most of them can be returned to the shop where y0u buy them, and you even get some money back for doing so!
Does any of the tips above speak strongly to you? What else do you think can be done by us individuals to help reduce global warming? Let me and other fans know on my Facebook page.Emma Özsen
Sustainability Consultant & Building Design Analyst