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Going Green: Steps toward a more eco-conscious lifestyle

Hand holding light bulb against nature on green leaf with icons energy sources for renewable, sustainable development. Ecology concept. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

Global warming is a big problem, and Mother Earth needs you to go green. Are you playing your part by living a more eco-conscious lifestyle?

If you don’t know-how, we have easy ways to go green. But first, let’s take a look at climate change and how ignoring the earth’s plight hurts you and the ones you love.

What you should know about climate change and global warming

Climate change is a result of global warming. Global warming is caused by the release of high amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants into the air. These pollutants are trapping the heat from the sun in our atmosphere, making the earth hotter. As more pollutants are released, more heat is trapped and stored.

Since the industrial era, when CO2 emissions and the emission of other pollutants increased, the average global temperature has steadily been on the rise. In recent years, the trend has accelerated with its effects becoming more evident in the form of climate change.

Some of the obvious effects of global warming on plant life, animal life, humans, and ecosystems include the following.

  • Due to rising temperatures, specific ecosystems are becoming less able to sustain life. Recently, schools of salmon that swam upriver to Alaska to spawn died before they could reach their destination. This was due to the unseasonably high temperature of the waters.
  • Most of the world’s glaciers are melting. Some, such as the Okjokull glacier, have entirely disappeared due to increasing temperatures. The poles are also melting, destroying the natural habitats of polar bears and seals. This melting is also leading to rising sea levels.
  • The oceans are becoming more acidic because they are absorbing more CO2 than usual. The increased acidification is changing the underwater ecosystem, causing coral reefs to disappear and sea creatures to die.
  • Parts of the world are experiencing more rain and snowfall than usual, while other parts are experiencing unusual heat and drought. The result is floods, wildfires, food, and drinking water shortages.
  • Between 10,000 and 50,000 animal species that are unable to cope with the changing environment are beginning to go extinct.
  • People are migrating en masse to escape the effects of climate change, such as drought and rising sea levels.
  • The burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity is among the largest causes of global warming. Coal-burning, petrol, and diesel-powered engines release billions of tons of heat-trapping pollutants every year.

Some manufacturers and electric suppliers are trying to cut down their emissions by switching to more eco-friendly power alternatives.

Doing your part: Tips for a more eco-conscious lifestyle

  1. It reduces the amount of waste we throw away, especially plastic and aluminum waste, which don’t quickly degrade and end up negatively impacting the environment.
  2. Stop using plastic bags, utensils, and bottles. Plastic bags, bottles, and other plastic disposables may be convenient to use, but they create a big problem for the environment and wildlife when dumped. Minimize your use of these items and recycle after use.
  3. Avoid waste. Manufacturing food, cars, appliances, and other items negatively impact the environment. Our demand for these products drives producers to make more. By only buy what you need. Demand reduction will lead to decreased production and the price the environment pays.
  4. Buy second-hand. Using second-hand electronics, furniture, and other goods reduces waste and minimizes pollution. You can let others have used goods you no longer need by donating them.
  5. Buy products with less packaging. Polystyrene (Styrofoam) fillers and bubble wrap end up in the garbage and contribute to environmental pollution. Buy products that use less packaging materials and donate packagings, such as boxes, Styrofoam, and bubble wrap to shipping companies that can reuse them.
  6. Upgrade to eco-friendly appliances. Appliances such as boilers, air conditioning, light bulbs, and more now have eco-friendly models that consume less power. Switch to these variants to minimize your carbon footprint.
  7. Drive less. Vehicles are a big source of pollution. Consider driving less, carpooling, using public transportation, or switching to an electric vehicle or hybrid to reduce your carbon footprint.
  8. Make your home more eco-friendly. Consider switching to more eco-friendly ways to power your home, such as solar or wind. You can also minimize your carbon footprint by reducing how much energy you burn for heating and cooling. Do this by improving your insulation and using a programmable thermostat.

Going Green

Another effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is switching to electricity providers that are committed to generating power through cleaner energy, such as natural gas. Compare electricity rates to discover which of your available options offer a better deal and switch up to enjoy cleaner living that costs you and the planet less.