No, I’ll not be asking you to plant trees around your town. And I will not ask you to go back to the stone-age when there was no pollution. I am going to talk about 25 pretty easy-to-follow ways to help mother earth by saving the environment around you.
Charity begins at home, you start today, your neighbor starts tomorrow and the whole city starts doing this by year-end, how about that? No, I can’t be that optimistic; but what’s the harm in throwing the idea around? Are you with me?
Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find. ~Quoted in Time
Steps to reduce pollution
We all pollute the environment we live in, I do, and your dog does too. It’s very much in our control to reduce this pollution.
1. Go paperless, save environment. Sure you can’t stop advertisement leaflets coming in to your mail box (shouldn’t there be an environmental law to ban this practice, or at least, be made it mandatory to use recycled paper?) but, you can control the statements, updates and notices which you get from your financial institutions.
Select paperless as the mode of communication. Mostly all of them support this. It’s high time that all govt. agencies implement this too.
2. Stop using bottled water. This may be very hard for many, I understand. If it’s not that hard for you, start using re-usable materials and fill it up every time.
3. Stop smoking. Smoking creates pollution inside of your body and for the people around you. Even after hours of smoking, your kids can be recipients of harmful effects of your nicotine consumption.
“The pollution caused by cigarettes does not stop in our bodies or the air around us; it also affects the land we live on and the water that we drink. Millions of cigarette butts are discarded on to the ground every day“.
4. Use less electricity. There are various options to save on electricity, I can write an entire post about this. The easiest of the ways is to use fan instead of an AC, if you can. Air drying clothes, letting sunlight come in the winter and blocking it in the summer are other easy options to try out at your home.
5. Use less gas. Bike to work, car pooling are the easier options you can try. There are various other effective ways to save on gas.
6. Recycle. Don’t just throw your old electronics and batteries to trash. Make use of local free recycling facilities. Dispose your plastic containers as well by separating them out from normal trash.
7. Use reusable shopping bags. It was my wife’s idea to start using reusable bags. They are made of cloth and need cleaning once a week. We eliminated a lot of plastics from our life this way. You can do the same.
8. Buy fresh local produce. Whenever you have option to buy from farmer’s market or local grocers, give it a preference. Processed goods take a lot of energy, first for processing part and then, the fuel consumption in transportation.
9. Save water. Sweet water is a scarce resource and it’s being depleted at a greater pace than earth is replenishing it. There are various ways to save water in everyday use from fixing leaky outlets to adjusting the timers on sprinklers.
10. Use emails and eGreetings. Unless you are already using it, what’s preventing you from going ‘e’ route? Apart from being environment friendly, it also reduces effort required to pass your message across.
11. Use ceramic cups. Instead of plastic, paper or Styrofoam, the ceramic cups can be used over and over. This reduces the impact on the environment and on your budget.
12. Print less. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to print, refrain from doing so. When you do have to print, consider printing on both sides of the paper.
13. Refuse receipts. I understand this is just small savings of paper use here, but every little bit helps! Use credit/debit card to pay at the stores and decline the printing of the receipt. Your purchase is documented in your statements any way. If required for taxes, you can easily access the information.
14. Reuse and re purpose. whenever possible, re-use the containers, cartons and envelops. Oh, your tooth-brush as well! For cleaning my sports shoes, I use old tooth brushes, it goes in to the grooves perfectly. Here’s 30 ways to reuse bottles and containers.
15. Use energy-efficient bulbs. In the long run they save a lot of money and energy. Best are the LED bulbs, even fluorescent light bulbs consume 1/3rd (or lesser) of the energy of incandescent light bulbs.
16. Use clothes more than paper. Reduce paper usage by using cloths to wipe your hands or the things you normally wipe with paper towels. My home is paper towel free and I use old dresses to make wipe cloths. Do you know something called handkerchief?
17. Use microwave. I am not sure if you can bake cakes in a microwave. Last time I checked, my wife also didn’t know. But, she could tell me 100′s of other dishes that can be cooked in microwave. Use microwave more often to reduce your carbon footprints.
18. Leak proof your home. Ensure you are not losing warmth or cool through leakages, by having your home properly insulated and window and door seals checked. By doing so, you are saving energy and money.
19. Replace air filters. AC air filters for your home and car, if replaced regularly, can save a lot of energy which in turn can save you money.
20. Consume less. This is for your financial good as well. Live simply, use your furnitures and clothes until they can’t be used any more. If possible, check out used items on Craigslist or garage sales.
Steps to absorb pollution
21. Plant trees. Your garden/patio or balcony, do you have space anywhere? Grow plants, grow flowers, and attract honey bees wherever you find a place for a pot. If you have a garden, you can go on a green mission by planting as many trees as your yard or garden permits. A good-looking home and better place to live, for sure!
22. Donate to organizations that help planting more trees and work towards a better planet. I am a member of Fairchild Botanical Garden, here in Miami, FL. My membership dues go to green causes.
23. Pickup and deposit pollutants. Whether at home, at work, at local super market or while running or jogging, if you find a pollutant like plastic or Styrofoam on your way, pick it up and put in a nearby trash bin.
24. Volunteer in anti-pollution drives. Many cities here in south Florida organize periodic beach cleaning events. Thousands of volunteers donate their time towards these large-scale environmental cleaning events. Check in your local area for opportunities like this.
25. Have indoor plants. Indoor plants and aquatic plants (in aquariums) are very efficient in cleaning the inside air pollution of our homes. Think about it, by spending a little money to green up our homes we are improving our health as well. In the long run, these efforts should pay off in terms of better health.
26. Drive a clean car. I added this point as an afterthought. If vehicle inspection is not mandatory in your state, try tos till go for one. Check emission level and fix the problem, if any.
This was one of my prepared speeches in my toastmaster class. I tweaked a bit to make it a blog post. I hope you enjoyed this article and you’ll start practicing a technique or two in your daily routine.
If not majority of the steps, you can easily follow a few. If you are willing to follow all 25, you deserve a good hug from me!
I know, only a few of us practicing green living won’t change the environment around us. Still, I would like to wake up to a tomorrow where earth is cleaner and environment is safer to live. I dream on…
The biggest area where you can go paperless are your bills and receipts from in-store shopping. We need to keep all such documents for year-end tax filing purpose. If you itemize your return you should have those receipts ready for IRS audit, should it happen. Many merchants offer electronic receipts, you may opt for it and receive in your mail box, instead of on a small piece of paper.
For the paper slips, the ink that is used to pint such receipts, usually disappears within few months, then it becomes hard to read it. To the rescue, there is an online service called Shoeboxed. They charge $10 per month for individual account (with 30 day trial, no risk period) to store those receipts online. You can send up to 50 receipts per month by mail and within a week they will upload those to you account.
In my case I take images of them every time I have a new receipt with my cell phone, and upload on my Shoeboxed account. Not only for tax purpose, I use them for my budgeting purpose as well. At the same time a Shoeboxed account help you de-clutter! You can first try it out at no cost in free trial period, you can cancel within first 30 days,if you don’t like and not pay any money.
Since posting this article, I wrote another related post 101 ways to save environment, if you implement at least one of the techniques mentioned in these two articles, let us know by commenting below. Let’s make this page a good resource to help raise the awareness.