Today is Earth Day. And in fact, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which was begun in 1970 and, back then, resulted in the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other important actions.
Earth Day is recognized worldwide to bring awareness and support for protection of the environment – and at this particular time, we need this more than ever. Earth Day brings attention to a large number of issues that need to be addressed, such as pollution of the ocean, debris leftover on land, climate change, conservation of our earth’s ecosystems, energy conservation, soil corruption, corrosion, overpopulation, nuclear issues, the depletion of the ozone layer, the depletion of the earth’s natural resources, the introduction of wastes and toxicants into the wilderness and the seas, nanotechnology, deforestation of rain forests, and the endangerment of many species.
This seems like a lot, and it is – but don’t be discouraged. Every little bit helps protect our earth. Since many of us are at home right now, water and electricity consumption have probably increased in your household. I know that in our house, the screen time has definitely increased, which means an increase in electricity.
Now may not be the time to install new energy conserving windows, or replace your toilet to a low flush model, but there are small things that you can do to help conserve energy and water.
1. Turn off the water. I bet hand washing alone has increased water consumption. Whether washing your hands or brushing your teeth, leaving the tap running wastes up to 2½ gallons per minute! So turn off the tap while you brush, and while you scrub your hands.
2. Cut down on shower times. Save water and energy by reducing shower times to 4 minutes. Almost 1/4 of household water is used in the shower. Cutting your shower time by just 2 minutes can result in a water savings of up to 30%. You can also turn off the shower while you are washing your hair and body and turn it back on to rinse.
3. Reuse your water. Making hard boiled eggs? Instead of tossing the water, wait for it too cool and use it to water plants!
4. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. If you will be out of a room for 15 minutes or less, go ahead and leave the lights on. If you’re leaving for more than 15 minutes, turn the lights off.
5. Cut down on phantom energy. Did you know that 75% of your energy use is caused by electronics that are turned off? Your television, computer, internet router, and kitchen appliances are making your electric bill higher. This is because they are continually working even while off. To cut your electric bill significantly, use power strips and turn them off when electronics are not in use.
6. Air dry. Does it feel like there is more laundry these days? If you have warm weather, hang your clothes outside to dry. I have set up a clothesline in my basement where I hang pants and shirts. It really has cut down on the amount of electricity we use. Dryers consume between 1,800 watts to 5,000 watts per load.
7. Use off-peak rates. Some cities and towns offer reduced electricity rates during certain hours of the day (off-peak hours). If you capitalize on these off-peak rates, you can shave a little off your electric bill. For instance, do your laundry or run your dishwasher during these hours.
Photo from here, with thanks.