Let’s face it – there are countless problems in the world, and as human beings we all want to do everything we can to make our planet a better place for our children and grandchildren. While there are tons of ways to help the Pacific Northwest environment by decreasing our foot print, we’ve put together 7 quick ways you can start helping today. Check out the list below, some require nothing more than keeping an eye on your energy usage, while others need your time and commitment.
1. Unplug Appliances – This is probably the simplest thing you can do to reduce energy consumption and save money. Did you know that when your TV is turned off it still draws around 30% of its power? We’re not saying to do a nightly run around the house unplugging everything, but to simply be conscious – unplug the toaster, microwave, Instapot and other kitchen appliances, and try a power strip that can be easily switched on/off for your TV, audio and other entertainment equipment.
2. Less Plastics – Plastic is everywhere, including our oceans and forests. Say no to the Big Four:Plastic Straws, Plastic Water Bottles, Plastic Grocery Bags, and Coffee Cups! Yes, disposable coffee cups are lined with plastic which makes them virtually impossible to recycle because you have to remove the plastic film from the cup, bring your favorite ceramic coffee cup for your morning routine. Say no to straws, it’s really that simple – do you really need a straw to drink coffee or water? Stop buying disposable plastic water bottles, instead carry a reusable water bottle (keys, wallet, phone, water bottle) – repeat. Use Reusable Grocery Bags – I know it is hard to get in the habit of remembering your reusable grocery bags, but it’s like anything, it takes practice and commitment (try keeping some in your car).
3. Recycle and Reuse – We all know the routine, separate your plastics, papers, glass and metals. While the recycling system is not perfect, I assure you it is making a difference by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in both production and disposal. Reuse and repurposing items is another simple way to make a difference, product containers and tubs make great food storage for those Pacific Northwest lunches and leftovers!
4. Respect the Water – While we are very blessed here in the Pacific Northwest in this regard – especially after this week:) We can still be respectful of this precious resource. Limit showers to 10 – 12 minutes (this will help your power bill too), make sure you don’t have any leaks, even a small water leak can mean 100’s of gallons a year. Choose environmentally safe dishwasher and laundry detergent to lesson the harsh chemicals you personally release – these are becoming very price competitive in the market.
5. Use Your Windows – By no means am I saying go without heat or AC when you need it in the Pacific Northwest, but make the right call. On cold days, opening your blinds during the day will help you retain heat from sunlight even at night, and the opposite goes for keeping them closed to stay cooler on hot days. Opening multiple windows will help circulate air by creating a nice cross-breeze during summer months and using a ceiling fan can help circulate heat from a fireplace or stove in the winter months – this is a big money saver as well!
6. Buy Less – We don’t need much of what we own. I look at it this way, is what I own useful and does it bring me joy frequently? Invest in quality products that will last longer, I understand that the cost is a bit more up front, but if you take care of stuff it will take care of you. When we keep buying and throwing out the same things over and over again it increases production, consumption, pollution, and waste of valuable Pacific Northwest resources.
7. Eat Less Meat – Everyone knows this but no one likes hearing it. The farming industry is affected by our buying choices. Right now factory farming is in overdrive. Livestock consumes over 1.3 tons of grain per year, billions of gallons of water, and drastically contributes to mass deforestation. Factory farming is also the single largest contributor to pollution, producing 130 times more pollution than all humans combined. Factory farming increases methane gas and animal waste being released into our air and water supply. I get it, we are Omnivores and meat is a part of our diet – but we can definitely cut back the meat to 1 or 2 days a week while increasing healthy Pacific Northwest vegetable consumption.