No matter your personal beliefs or opinions on the matter of climate change and global warming, I think we can all agree that we should treat the planet with as much respect as we’re able…and we can do so without it costing us a dime. Sounds good to me!
I think it’s important that we realize that this is the only earth we have. Recently, I was watching Sundance original A Discovery of Witches (shout-out to my fellow pagans) and there was a line in the show that struck a cord with me. Matthew and Diana are taking a walk, and Matthew says:
I have a different sense of time to you. When humans talk about climate change, that’s exactly what they say: the polar icecaps will take so long to melt, who cares?– Matthew Clairmont, A Discovery of Witches
Its sort of embarrassing how spot on that statement is, isn’t it? It’s calling us out. You might not be affected, but, depending on your age, your great-grandchildren will be. Do you want them to suffer in the future because of a choice you made in the past?
So, okay, you get it. You need to change your ways, but how? I think a lot of people make the mistake – yes, you read me right, mistake – of trying to change too much at once. It gets overwhelming, and they go back to normal. Life is stressful enough, you don’t need to add more on to make life hard.
But fear not, my friends! I’ve got you.
Here are 4 easy, free ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Stop using plastic grocery bags. I know, you feel attacked right? They’re so easy to carry, they have handles, they’re lightweight, and you reuse them for your bathroom trash bins…yada yada yada. I know, I’ve heard and used all those excuses in the past. You’re not getting past me with this one! Did you know 8 million tons of plastic ends up in oceans every year? Do yourself a favor and bring your own grocery bags – even if they’re the plastic ones you got on your last grocery store trip. Once you put all your groceries away, gather up the bags and stick them in your car. It’s that simple. Personally, I use cloth bags that my credit union gave me for free. I keep one in my purse, and one in my car at all times. You know what else is great about the cloth bags? I can fit about 5x more in the cloth bags, meaning instead of 5 bags, I walk out with one. That’s only one trip from the car, ladies and gents, and that makes my lazy heart happy.
- Shop local. Shopping local can be more expensive, I will be the first to admit it. This is coming from the same girl who encouraged you all to get an Amazon credit card, but hear me out. Shopping local revitalizes your local economy, that money typically stays in your area, and you’re reducing your carbon footprint by not requiring that something ships five times just to get to you. If you’re going to shop online, shop at Etsy, where they plant a tree for each item that is shipped, to help reduce the carbon footprint.
- Check your Laundry Schedule. Did you know that there are times of day that is cheaper to run your laundry? Yup. Your energy company charges more for energy during “peak usage times”. So you can save money by doing your laundry not during these times. You can also skip the dryer and dry your clothes on racks, your shower curtain rod, on chairs, etc. Personally I started doing this as a way to save money, but still do dry towels and blankets in the dryer. You can save up to $200 a year doing this. If all Americans used these methods to dry their clothes for half a year, it would save over 3% of the country’s energy needs.
- Lower your thermostat. Reducing the temperature of your house by 2 degrees, in the winter, can save you $98 each year. It can also save 2000 pounds of carbon emissions! I was someone who typically kept my house between 68 and 70 degrees during the winter. I thought this was pretty good considering most of my friends kept it above 70. However, I decided to test lowering it for a month to 61 and see what it did to my bill. It resulted in a 51% decrease in my bill cost. I haven’t turned it up since, except in instances that I have company over.
Save the planet. It’s the only one we’ve got.