Wednesday, 1 June 2011

become an eco superhero

Sunday is World Environment Day. Thinking 'bout the environment makes me feel panicky, but that's probably a common feeling when it comes to mother nature these days, right? Thing is, I try be green and eco-friendly and all, but I know I can do so much more. I should do so much more. We all should. Every little green action does make a difference!

Here are some eco tips I found on Ecology Fund.

Bike, use public transit, carpool to work, drive slower, keep your tires inflated
One-third of all traffic is commuters. Use alternative transportation when possible. If you must drive, go slower with proper tire inflation. It saves both fuel and tires, and lowers emissions. It also saves lives.

My dad drives my car because I work from home and don't need one. When I do need to go somewhere, I take a taxi or go with the husband.

Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost
Reusing packaging material saves more energy than recycling. By avoiding extra packaging, you save both energy and landfill space. Yard and kitchen waste (leaves/grass/vegetable scraps) are 30% of trash. Reduce this amount by composting. Also be sure to re-use plastic bags, or better yet... refuse plastic bags when you really don't need them.

Live in a flat, so composting is kinda difficult. I do re-use plastic bags and have started using fabric bags for gorceries.

Conserve water
Don't let faucets run. Never water your lawn at midday. Place a brick in old toilets. Take low flow short showers. Run the dishwasher only when it is full. Let grass grow longer. Plant native or drought-tolerant garden plants.

The husband and I only shower. I wash our dirty clothes only when there are enough to fill the washing machine.

Quit smoking
Second-hand smoke is a major indoor air pollutant and health hazard. When you quit, both you and your family will lead longer and healthier lives.

I don't smoke and after smoking for ages, the husband has stopped.

Don't use pesticides/herbicides on your lawn
Along with nitrogen fertilizer runoff, these are major water pollutants.

No lawn, so this doesn't apply, but I do use eco-friendly products by companies such as Bloublommetjieskloof around the house, which don't pollute the water as badly.

Keep your cat indoors
Domestic cats kill over one billion small birds and animals every year (1 outdoor cat averages 40 kills per year). They upset natural predator/prey balances and eliminate ground nesting birds.

My two cats live indoors.

Eat less meat/eat more local and organic foods
Feedlots are a major source of organic pollution. Tropical forests are cut to raise beef.

I eat sustainable fish and game meat occasionally, but for the most part I am meat-free.

Lower your thermostat in the winter. Raise it in the summer
Wearing a sweater in the winter and short sleeves in the summer saves energy and reduces pollution.

Volunteer/lobby for the environment
Work locally and globally to save natural places, reduce urban sprawl, lower pollution and prevent the destruction of wilderness areas for timber and oil.

I do my bit for groups such as WWF, Greenpeace, and Sea Shepherd.

Plant a tree with a child
Take a walk in the woods, or plant trees which store CO2. Teaching our children to love and care for the planet is the most important thing we can do to insure the future of humankind.

The husband and I used young indigenous trees as table decorations for our wedding and then gave them to guests afterwards to plant in their gardens.

Wash dishes by hand in a basin, and then use the dish water for outdoor gardens.

The husband washes the dishes in the sink.

The husband and I also switch off our geyser every evening and only put it on again in the mornings. It definitely lowers one's electricity account. Try it.

Images: WWF South Africa

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