This Christmas season and for the new year, why not give Mother Earth a gift by taking on these eco-friendly habits?
Here are daily things you can do to save our only planet:
Turn your thermostat down just two degrees.
This easy and simple act alone can save 2000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $98 per year!
If you can stand it, best approach is to avoid using air conditioners.
Ceiling fans use 80 percent less energy than central air conditioners. By only using ceiling fans you can reduce your annual cooling costs by 10-65 percent.
Switch your lightbulbs!
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) last for years, use a third of the energy of regular bulbs and actually produce more light. Choose those with ENERGY STAR label, which means the bulb has been tested for quality and efficiency. Each ENERGY STAR qualified bulb can cost more initially - however the bulb lasts longer. You may pay more up front, but you will actually save over the long term because of their long life.
And if every household in the U.S. replaced a burned-out bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent bulb, the cumulative effect would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that from nearly 800,000 cars. It would also save enough energy to light 2.5 million homes for a year.
If you can, drive a hybrid car.
Replacing your gas-guzzling car with a fuel-efficient one is by far the best thing you can do. But not all of us can do that - at least, not right now.
Or, drive less.
What most of us with cars can do is - drive less. Every year, Americans as a whole drive more miles than they did the year before. Stop this trend. Telecommuting and public transportation are great options. Leaving your car at home two days a week will reduce your CO2 emissions by 1,590 pounds a year. Even piling multiple errands into one trip helps and if you can walk instead of drive, even better.
Get your car tuned up.
Studies have shown that a poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10-20 percent.
Slow down, don't race your car's engine, and watch your idling.
All of these save on gas and also money, and have a big impact on burning gasoline. You can save gas by turning the engine off and restarting it again if you expect to idle for more than 30 seconds.
Carpool to a greener planet.
It's easy and it saves you money. Carpooling with friends and co-workers saves 790 lbs. of carbon dioxide and hundreds of dollars per year in fuel costs.
Recycle as much as you can.
Recycling produces less of 27 different types of pollutants when compared with using virgin materials, in manufacturing products and disposing wastes. Manufacturing goods from recycled materials requires less energy than producing goods from virgin materials. When less energy is needed, fewer fossil fuels are burned and less carbon dioxide is emitted.
As for plants, do everything you can in your yard and garden to create ways in which plants use less water.
Choose hardier plants, plant things in groups that need more water and put in mulch to help keep moisture in. When you mow your grass, make sure you do it smartly - with sharp blades, and only when the grass needs cutting. Finally, make sure you water your lawn sparingly. All of these will conserve energy.
Plant your own vegetable garden. It's not as hard as you might think.
Buy in bulk. In short, bulk items use less packaging, which translates into less energy.
Buy one of something, not 21 of something. You don't need 21 pairs of shoes, if one pair works just as well.
Go through your closet. Donate or recycle what you really don't need, then make a pledge not to replace everything you just got rid of.
Buy quality products that will last longer. Over time, you'll obviously buy fewer products that way.
Whenever you travel, be conscious of your carbon footprint. Choose available rides where there are, support local communities and business and accommodations with green initiatives. Most big hotels run their ways the usual, without thinking of how they are affecting our ecology. Beware of this establishments, especially at this time and age when green is in.