How To: Help the Environment This Summer

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School’s out, which means more time for chillin’ with friends and outdoor things. This summer why not make a few simple adjustments that can have a large impact on energy consumption, pollutants, waste and more. Below are some EASY changes you can make that will not only help the environment, but make you feel great! 

  1. Try re-usable water bottles. Bottled water can cost up to 500 times the cost of tap water and just one of those plastic bottles takes hundreds of years to decompose, not to mention the pollution distributed into the air when the bottle is being made. (Yikes.)
  2. Ride your bike instead of driving. Driving a car emits about 80 percent of carbon monoxide and 55 percent of the nitrogen oxide pollution into the atmosphere. 
  3. Turn your appliances/electronics off: Open your windows and turn off the air conditioners. When you leave a room, make sure the lights, television, radio, computers etc. are all off.  One switched off light can make a big difference. 
  4. Use less water. Try these easy changes:
    • Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. You’ll save 25 gallons a month. 
    • Shorten your shower by a minute or two. You’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
    • Water the yard in the evening or early morning to minimize evaporation. Just know that you are using up to 10 gallons of water a minute.
  5. Plant an organic garden. Instead of driving to the grocery store and purchasing pesticide infused, genetically modified or hormone enlarged fruits and vegetables, try planting your own garden. You will know exactly where it came from, how it was handled, and no transportation is involved. Plus, you have the luxury of not having to pay to eat the produce. 
  6. Get a re-usable grocery bag. Consider the amount of plastic bags used in one trip to the grocery store, now consider the amount used in a month, now in a year. Just one of those hundreds of bags can take anywhere between 15 to 1,000 years to decompose in our environment. In America, only 1 percent of plastic bags used are actually recycled. 
  7. Get involved in your area. There are plenty of organizations, volunteer programs, and groups that specialize in helping the environment. Take a day or two to take action with one of them. Some organizations clean rivers, beaches, parks and more. Search for ones that meet locally and give them a hand! 
  8. Hang dry your clothes. Instead of turning on the dryer, hang your clothes on a line and let the wind dry your clothes. Europeans dry almost all of their clothes on a line or a drying rack. In America, about 5.8 percent of residential energy goes towards clothes dryers. 
  9. Carpool. When you and your friends are going to the beach, out to eat, or to a friend’s house; ride together and save fuel. Create a routine and alternate drivers to make it fair. You'll save money AND the environment will benefit greatly from the amount of fuel saved.
  10. Use public transportation. Why? Because public transit saves 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to the amount of energy used by 4.9 million households. 
  11. Donate your old items. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Americans discard an estimated 68 pounds of clothing a year, and 99 percent of discarded items are re-usable. Locate a clothing bin to drop off old clothes. Refer to http://www.donationtown.org/ for a guide on donating items, and where they should be dropped off. 

Check out these 5 common ways that people pollute. GO

- Angela Ciroalo is a New Jersey writer, who is obsessed with healthy eating and helping others. Her favorite cause is Homelessness and Poverty because she believes it is often overlooked.