Ethanol is still a controversial replacement for a non-renewable resource, oil. So, while scientists spend countless hours calculating and recalculating the energy balance and estimating the positive and negative effects of ethanol fuels, you can take action. Here are some tips to going green and saving some energy.
Interesting and informative material on environmental awareness and sustainable living is all around you. Be it a magazine, the nightly news, or the Internet, you can learn a lot about solving the problem of, just by learning what exactly that problem is. So pick up a copy of The Conservationist, or Plenty. Or try other websites, like Ideal Bite or Worldchanging for some great advice. And if you’re not much into reading, try An Inconvenient Truth, Who Killed the Electric Car? or the BBC’s Planet Earth.
A large part of our impact on the environment is the way in which we move things, particularly ourselves. So, for everyday trips, consider walking, biking, or carpooling at least a few days a week, and leave that gas-guzzling monster truck at home. And for longer voyages, consider taking the train instead of flying, which is notoriously carbon intensive.
Many of the most effective ways to cut carbon emissions are also the cheapest. You don’t need expensive solar panels, fuel cells, or wind turbines to go green at home. In fact, many carbon emission-cutting measures actually save you money. Turn the lights of when you leave the room, install energy efficient light bulbs and appliances, and turn the thermostat down a little in the winter.
And that brings us to the water issue. Even if you don’t live in the desert, water is still a major ecological issue. Clean, drinkable water is precious and requires a lot of energy. Every drop of tap water requires energy to filter, purify, and transport, all emitting fossil fuels. So, install a water-saving showerhead, turn the tap off when brushing your teeth, collect rainwater to use in the garden, and take short showers!
We all have to eat, and what we eat has a huge impact on the planet. With food being shipped from all across the nation, and all across the world even, our food choices have become even more important in terms of fuel conservation. So eat locally grown food, eat seasonally grown fruits and vegetables, eat organic foods, and eat less meat.
Every item thrown away has taken energy and resources to manufacture and transport, and in it’s disposal will take away even more energy and resources. So follow the four r’s of conservation, reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink, and in that order. And think about the c too, don’t forget to compost!
Food, energy, and water are all major environmental factors, but so is clothing. Consumers who always eat locally and organic, and always remember to turn the lights off when leaving a room may also be happily wearing garments that were sprayed with noxious chemicals. Organic cotton, and other alternative fabrics like hemp, flax, or bamboo have become increasingly more common, and even more fashionable. But if you’re not due for a new look just yet, consider vintage and thrift shops for some not-so-new, but definitely not outdated, styles.
Less is always more when it comes to living green, so forgo the clown look and consider going ‘au natural’. Or if you’re a little hesitant, trying going for natural products instead. So read the labels, use aluminum-free deodorant, avoid fluoride toothpaste, and apply petroleum-free products.
9. House Wares
Tropical hardwoods from the Amazon may look great in your living room, but it’s a poor way to look after the dwindling forestry on Earth. But fortunately, the industry has started incorporating certified sustainable, recycled and salvaged materials for furniture, so when shopping for your new apartment, make sure you know where that nightstand came from.
10. Cleaning Up
Many everyday cleaning products are made of some pretty harmful chemicals, but there are now natural alternatives that work just as well. So leave the chemicals at the door, but also consider using baking soda as an odor eliminator rather than aerosol sprays, take advantage of your communities’ chemicals recycling day, and use a doormat to prevent bring oil, antifreeze, animal waste, pollen, and who knows what else from entering your home.
And good luck going green!