Global Warming seems to be the topic of the century around the entire globe, and with it has spawned an even bigger topic: Going Green.
Over the last decade, global warming issues have been all over the place. Once considered among the general consensus to be pretty much fact, global warming is now starting to become a very debatable theory. Though most agree that the earth is definitely seeing a warming period, Al Gore's hysteria and his little bag full of "convenient half-truths" that got everyone's attention have begun coming under fire by the majority of climatologists in the world, as well as the theories about how much man actually has an effect on what is now looking to be a solar cycle.
Going green has unfortunately become synonymous with stopping global warming. This is unfortunate because going green has many more benefits and incentives than simply stopping global warming. Many people may be starting to question whether or not humans are causing global warming, but that doesn't mean they should purposely not go green out of spite. The global warming hysteria has put a damper on a practice that is simply more efficient and overall better for the planet and environment. Nevermind how it affects our weather patterns.
I have researched both sides of the global warming topic more than any normal person should over the last 3-4 years. I have heard more than my fair share of both sides of the story. After spending countless days and months researching independent studies out of my own curiosity, I have come to the personal conclusion that global warming has less to do with human causes, and more to do with a solar cycle and unpredictable weather patterns.
That being said, I have always strived to be as environmentally friendly as possible, even before I ever heard about global warming. I see and hear a lot of people from day to day purposely boycotting the "green" way of life simply because they think man-caused global warming is a hoax, and I find that to be a shame. So in honor of all the spiteful global warming skeptics out there, I've created this list of 10 of the absolute easiest ways to go green. Not to stop global warming, no; to save money, to become more efficient, and to help the environment that you and future generations are stuck living in for many, many years to come.
The order of this list is irrelevant, though I did try to make it go from the least to most practical choices.
#10 - Hang Dry Your Laundry. This is not something I am suggesting you do on a daily basis; I know I couldn't do it. But maybe in the spring and summer you can implement this a few times a week. Most dryers use a ridiculous amount of energy, so any time you can get away with not using one just saves that much more energy and lowers your electric bill that much more. Why not do something that benefits you, your clothes, and the environment all at the same time?
#9 - Buy Used Clothes. This may not sound too appealing to most readers, but you would be surprised at how many nice, cheap articles of used clothing you can find at stores that deal in this business. I was skeptical at first too, but I finally gave in a few years ago when I was having money troubles and needed clothes for work and decided to check out the local Goodwill. To my surprise I ended up walking out of there with a lot more than junky old work clothes. After that I tried looking in other used clothing stores, and amazingly there is a boatload of name brand used clothing on these racks that are still in great condition for really good prices. Now I'm a believer. Recycling in the form of buying used clothes is easy and beneficial to me.
#8 - Paper Plates, Cups, and Napkins. Being a young guy myself, I love paper plates, plastic cups, and paper towels. They are so convenient, and they save me so much work on dishes. Obviously using these items is considered wasteful, and rightfully so. So I have cut back, and I now buy these items in moderation. Why not stop buying them all together, you may ask? If you think about it, even though using paper plates and cups is wasteful, if you don't use them then that means you have more dishes to do more often. More dishes to do means more water and/or energy (from dishwashers) to be used. So where's the happy medium? My advice is this:
- Avoid using paper towels and napkins and instead use washcloths or cloth napkins.
- Try to re-use cups throughout the day. Just rinse them out with hot water as soon as you're done drinking and it will be fine.
- It's easy to over-use paper plates because they usually come in gigantic stacks of 200 or more. Try to limit what you use paper plates on. Instead of using a paper plate to make a peanut butter sandwich, for instance, just make your sandwich on a clean counter or table top. Or, if you do use a paper plate, brush the crumbs off and set it aside to be used again later.
Not only will these tips save you money, but they will also save you time doing chores like dishes and taking out the trash.
#7 - Buy in Bulk. Buying your food in bulk is a great way to both save money and help the environment. Most stores have quite a few bulk items to choose from, but a select few specialize in bulk food items. Stores like Sam's Club are great on site locations, but you can also shop for bulk food items online.
#6 - Check Your Tire Pressure. Each of your feet has 26 bones in them. Imagine if, somehow, 11 of those bones on each foot were removed and you were asked to run a lap around the block in the same time it would take you do it with all 26 of your bones. How much more energy do you think you would exert just to find the strength to do such a thing? Quite a bit, I would say. This concept is the same with the tires on your vehicle. The air pressure in your tires tends to fluctuate from time to time and it's important to remember to check up on them at least once a week. If you keep your tires properly inflated you will save a ton on gas mileage and your car won't have to work as hard and cause more pollution.
#5 - Re-usable Grocery Bags. Pretty soon this option is not even going to be a choice. Big chain grocery stores like Wal-Mart are already starting to implement this idea, making it mandatory for shoppers to either use a re-usable grocery bag, or pay a fee for each plastic bag they use. You might as well get yourself some re-usable grocery bags now before the issue becomes so big that everyone is forced to get re-usable grocery bags and they jack up the prices on them. Get them now while they're still cheap.
#4 - Recycle. This is something most have us have heard since we were kids. Recycling is important for obvious reasons. Why anyone would knowingly throw away things that can be melted down and re-used is beyond me, but it happens all the time. Trying to get people to recycle is like trying to get people to floss. No matter how beneficial and important it is to do these things, it still comes off as a "chore", and people don't like to do chores. Luckily, it seems like nowadays people tend to get ragged on a lot more when they don't recycle. Eventually it's going to get to the point where people who don't recycle are going to be looked heavily down upon by the majority of the population. There's simply no legitimate excuse not to recycle, so if you don't already, start now.
#3 - Turn Things Off When You Leave. Better yet, unplug them. Unplug them before you go to bed, unplug them when you leave the room, unplug them when you leave the house. You will be pleasantly surprised next time your electric bill arrives when you see how much lower the cost is. A lot of people don't realize that even if you turn certain appliances like computers and TVs and microwaves off, they are still drawing in energy the entire time they are plugged in. It takes 2 extra seconds to unplug something instead of turning it off, and those 2 seconds could save you a couple of nickels and dimes every time. Those nickels and dimes will add up fast after a few times a day over the course of a month.
#2 - Get a Water Filter. Why pay a dollar or more for a bottled tap water when you can get it for free anytime you want? It's amazing that people still buy bottled water. I do realize that they are convenient at times though. However, if you get a water filter to hook on to your sink, you can have clean crisp water with you anytime you want, without ever reaching into your pocket for the mula. This method can save you hundreds of dollars a year, and not only that, but you'll also be reducing the amount of waste you produce with the plastic bottles.
#1 - Switch Your Light Bulbs. Much like the re-usable grocery bags, this idea is not going to be an option soon. It's ok though, because the incandescent light bulbs are incredibly inefficient and are a huge waste of both energy and money. Compact fluorescents, or CFLs, are light bulbs that last 8 to 15 times longer than incandescents. Why would anyone keep buying incandescents when they can get these CFL's? Eventually the incandescents are going to be a thing of the past, and I say good riddance. CFL's also use a lot less energy to run than incandescents, which will save you some cash on your energy bill.
Now, you may not think humans have anything to do with global warming, but I just listed you 10 incredibly easy methods to help the environment and yourself and not one of them mentioned how they will stop global warming. You don't have to have an agenda to fight global warming just to be environmentally friendly; you just have to have a respect for the planet. If you treat the planet well, she will treat you well.
By the way, for those of you unlucky enough to be confused about the picture I chose to use at the top, here's a little help.