From eco-conscious celebrities photographed in their Prius’ to Al Gore receiving a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change, environmental awareness is in the air. This holiday season, even the Rockefeller Center holiday tree and the Times Square New Year's Eve ball got green makeovers and switched over to energy-efficient lighting.
So with all the talk of climate change and going green, you’re probably wondering what you can do to help.
As you make your New Year’s resolutions, here are some tips for how you can conserve energy and contribute to a healthier world and a healthier you in 2008 (and none of them involve joining a gym!)
- Walk, bike, roll, jump, skip… Whenever possible, don’t drive. Use your body to get around instead. Not only will you burn less gasoline, but you’ll burn calories as well. And if you need to go farther than you can get on your own two legs, use public transportation.
- Drive smart. If you do decide to drive, make good choices. Carpool if you can. Increase your gas mileage by keeping your tires inflated, getting regular tune-ups and driving the speed limit. And if you’re thinking about purchasing a car, choose a fuel-efficient vehicle. These strategies will not only help you burn less fuel, but they’ll also reduce air pollution and related negative health conditions like asthma.
- Conserve energy. Lower your thermostat at night and during the day while you’re gone. You can do this manually or invest in an electronic thermostat that you program to automatically lower the temperature at certain times in the day. Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs — they’re a bit more expensive but last 10 times as long and will also keep half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air over their lifetimes.
- Turn off the lights. Your mom was right — there is no need to waste money and energy by leaving lights on in rooms when you aren’t in there.
- Buy local. When shopping for food or other goods, try to buy things that were grown or produced locally. Goods that come from nearby don’t have to travel as far to get to you — and that means less fuel burned in transportation. And as an added perk, locally grown food is often fresher, safer and better for you.
- Buy energy-efficient appliances. Flex your consumer muscle when buying appliances by choosing “Energy Star” energy-efficient models. You'll save a lot on electricity and be doing your part to conserve energy.
- Purchase green power. If you live in an area where you’re able to choose your electric company, try to pick one that generates a good portion of its power from wind, solar energy and other clean sources.
- Speak out. The momentum is shifting and now is an important time to let your elected officials know that you demand policies that will steer our communities and our nation toward important solutions to climate change.
These are just some of the many simple steps you can take to do your part to reduce climate change. And as an added benefit, these tips and energy-saving strategies allow you to save some green while being green!
Here’s to a happy, healthy and green 2008!