Written by Chelsea Ward
The chaos of the holidays is over and we’ve said goodbye to 2010. Now it’s time to reflect, set goals and move forward into 2011.
With a new year comes a clean slate. We encourage everyone to take a few moments to think back over 2010 and ask themselves a few important questions:
Did I reduce, reuse and recycle as much as I could have? Was I conscious of the impact I was having on my neighborhood, my city, and ultimately the world?
Albeit, these questions may be a little broad and difficult to answer, but none the less, they get you thinking. It’s far too easy for us to forget that our actions and decisions do make a difference; and not always a good one. That is why it’s important to reflect on our previous actions, recognize the things we did well and habits we want to continue and build upon, and truthfully acknowledge where we could use some self-improvement.
Here are a few tips to help keep you on track toward being a conscientious local and global citizen in 2011:
Conserve water! Wasting water wastes electricity, too. In most cities, the largest use of electricity is dedicated to supplying water and cleaning used water.
•Instead of taking a bath, which can use up to 70 gallons of water, opt for a five minute shower which only uses 10 to 25 gallons.
•Cleaning a full load of dishes in the dishwasher uses 37% less water than washing them by hand. However, to be even more efficient, you can fill up one side of the sink with soapy water and the other side with regular rinse water. If you try washing your dishes this way you can actually conserve enough water for that five minute shower.
Perhaps the most effective expression to always keep in mind: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!
•Go shopping with your own reusable grocery bags. Americans throw away nearly 100 billion polyethylene bags per year (which can take 1,000 years to decompose).
•Purchase your own personal water bottle. America goes through 25 billion plastic bottles a year. Buying one means you never have to buy another again!
•Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for three hours, or a TV for two hours!
•Reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding driving alone. Walk, bike, jump on the bus or carpool to get around. You can also make new friends this way.
So here’s to a great 2011. Make it the best, smartest, and greenest you possibly can!
Source: Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense program.