bad-180-150I’m excited to be taking part in my first mass-blogging event. Today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s theme is Climate Change.

Being a former science center administrator, I know first hand that discussions on climate change can start to feel overwhelming really quickly.  That’s doubly true when you’re five and you don’t even know what the word “climate” means.  Throw into the mix that many families have different beliefs, religiously based or otherwise, about climate change and what we should or shouldn’t be doing, and you’ve got a hot spot.

No matter your background, your age, or your beliefs, the bottom line is that we need to take care of our Earth, since, at the moment, it’s the only human-friendly environment around.   The numbers don’t lie, and they do seem overwhelming.  We’ve got too many people, too many factories, and too many plastic bags and bottles dirtying up the place.  BUT, it is true that we can each make a difference, and when families work together, the impact is even greater.

Today, I’m posting up a list of actions you can take around the house to help take care of your earth.  Each of these actions will cost you nothing, and many of them will actually SAVE you money.  So, earth friendly and money savings: two of my favorite things to write about!

  • Stuff a Sack In It.  Your car that is, BEFORE you go to the grocery store. Reusable bags are so much more earth friendly than plastic bags.  Over 500 Billion plastic bags are used every year, and although some of them are recycled, most end up in landfills (or stuck in trees, fences, power lines, etc.).  Plastic Bags are a petroleum product, meaning they are made from oil, so even the production of plastic bags has a huge impact on our earth, and on our wallets.  Even if you don’t have cloth bags around the house that are suitable for toting groceries, you can bring the plastic bags from your last shopping trip back to the store and use them again.  Most stores offer a discount per reused bag at each shopping trip, so if you decide to purchase reusable bags (at about $1 each)  you’ll pay them off in a matter of months.
  • Kill A Watt. Unplugging electronic items that are not in use can cut your electricity bill substantially.  Most people pay more for the wattage that flows to their electronics when they are off than when they are on.  So, unplug those coffee makers, phone chargers, TVs and video game systems, and whatever else is sucking electricity out of the grid and money out of your wallet.
  • Put a Cork in It.  Or a snap-on lid. Whatever kind of water container you opt for, make sure it is reusable (preferably metal) and stop buying bottled water!  It took 1.5 million barrels of oil to make the plastic bottles for bottled water last year.  For those of you here in Little Rock, know also that Dasani is bottled right here in Little Rock, from city tap water.  So, you can fill a reusable water bottle out of your tap for pennies, or you can buy a flimsy plastic bottle full of water for $1.50.
  • Let if All Hang Out.  I bet you’ve got some string around the house somewhere.  If you don’t already own some, a pack of clothespins will run you about $1.  String up a clothes line and hang your clothes out to dry.  In addition to all the great benefits of using a clothesline that I’ve written about previously, keep in mind that your dryer accounts for about 6% of your total utility bill, so you can earn back the $1 cost of clothes pins in just a couple loads.
  • Start Something New.   Many new products start out as old products. Many towns and cities offer curbside recycling at no extra cost.  If you don’t have access to curbside, you’re probably closer than you think to a recycling drop-off point.  You don’t need fancy bins.  You can start off gradually if you like.  Place a cardboard box or paper bag near your trash can and pick one type of recyclable item to collect (paper, plastic, metal).  You’ll be amazed at how much less trash you have each week and how many recyclable items you are keeping out of the landfill.  To find the nearest recycling center or curbside service in your area, visit Earth911.org.
  • Take it Down a Notch.  If you haven’t turned it on already, you’ve probably at least started to think about turning on the heat in your house.  When you do turn it on, keep in mind that 2 equals 5.  That’s right, your heating system is an english major, and is really bad at math, but that’s a good thing for you.  For every two degrees cooler that you set your thermostat, you’ll save about 5% on your utility bill.  So, turn down that temp, and let the warm fuzzies you get from saving money keep the chills at bay.

In most cases, each of these six actions can be done RIGHT NOW.  What are you waiting for?  Pick one and go do it!  Remember, habits take 21 days to learn. Get the whole family on board so you can keep each other in check.  I thank you for your efforts.  The Earth thanks you too.

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