Our hearts and prayers with Houston that was devastated with Hurricane Harvey. There are certain climate change-related factors that we can say worsened the flooding. We believe we can avoid natural disasters from reaching this magnitude by reducing our carbon footprint.
We all have a role to play in the changing climate. Here are a few ways to lighten our impact.
1. Reduce energy use. Quick steps:
- Change your lightbulbs to LED
- Unplug unused electronics
- Wash clothes in cold water and hang them to dry
- Insulate your home, especially doors, windows, attic and attic door
- Check lights, appliances, curtains and your thermostat every morning and night and anytime you leave home
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Buy certified energy efficient appliances
- Get an energy audit
2. Reduce water use. Quick tips:
- Decrease outside water usage. The best way to save H2O at a residence is to water lawns between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m (in small intervals). Watering lawns during these hours allows water to be absorbed by lawn and plants effectively because there is little chance the water will evaporate in the sun’s heat.
- Repair any and all leaks in pipes and fixtures. Faucets, shower-heads and toilets should be checked regularly for leaks. A toilet with a leak can cause a loss of about 200 gallons of water daily.
- Replace existing shower heads with the lowest flow product you can find. Shower heads with a mist setting let you reduce water flow even further. Shower instead of taking a bath. Time your showers - try to keep them to 5 minutes.
- Always run full loads of laundry and dishes. Choose the short cycle at low water levels whenever possible. Set the clothing washer at the lowest possible temperature needed and for single rinse only.
- Use your dishwasher and don't rinse dishes beforehand (for an average 20 gallon savings). If you buy a new washing machine, choose a "high efficiency" model.
3. Embrace a minimalist lifestyle.
Declutter your home and donate unneeded items to charity.
4. Buying locally sourced.
Buy organic, vegan, locally sourced food and personal care products.
5. Recycle as much as possible.
Recycle even when travelling, and buy products with recycle-able/minimal packaging. Search online for ways to recycle hard-to-recycle items in your local community.
6. Green your transportation. Quick steps:
- Walk, bike, carpool and use public transit as much as possible
- Consider replacing your car with a ride sharing service
- If buying a car, buy the most energy efficient and low emission car you can afford
7. Support climate action organizations.
Research the companies you buy from (especially ongoing purchases). If they aren't reducing greenhouse gases themselves and supporting action on climate change, switch to a company that is.