Each day, you engage in activities that contribute to global warming. Every time you drive, use electricity or simply scrape the salad remnants from your dinner plate into the trash, you generate greenhouse gases (see References 1). Fortunately, there are several easy ways to help stop global warming by reducing the level of greenhouse gases that promote climate change.
Exercise your purchasing power by following the mantra of "reduce, reuse and recycle." The reduce portion has three dimensions: limiting the number of products you purchase to only those that are essential and choosing products that use less packaging and those with recyclable containers. You can also help curb global warming by using items or their containers for another purpose. Participating in a recycling program is also helpful, because many household waste materials can be recycled, such as paper, cardboard, glass and aluminum. According to the EPA, practicing the "three Rs" helps reduce the effects of global warming, because these measures conserve energy and resources that would otherwise be expended in the disposal of these materials or the manufacture of new materials to take their place. (See References 3)
Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient ones to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA estimates that emissions generated from the equivalent of nearly 10 million cars would be prevented from entering the atmosphere if each U.S. household replaced the regular bulbs in five of its most frequently used light fixtures with bulbs approved under the agency's Energy Star program (see References 3).
Save water by shutting off the faucet instead of letting the water run while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing dishes. This action counters global warming, because less energy is used to treat and to transport water through municipal water systems. However, more actions can be taken to help save water and reduce climate change, such as using toilets, showerheads and faucets that carry the EPA's WaterSense label, indicating they use less water. Leaky faucets and toilets waste a lot of water and should be repaired as soon as possible. A leaky toilet alone, says the agency, can waste 200 gallons of water every day. (See References 3)
Green your daily commute by walking, biking, taking public transportation or carpooling to work or to school instead of driving. If your job allows, telecommuting even one day per week cuts down on transportation-related emissions. When you do drive, try to combine outings with errands. According to the EPA, taking your vehicle off the road two days each week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,600 pounds annually. If you must drive, keep your car well-tuned and your tires inflated properly. These actions not only make your ride safer but also improve fuel efficiency. (See References 4)
- If your sanitation department doesn't provide a recycling program, contact your local community officials and urge them to start one.
- In addition to using energy-efficient lighting, consider replacing old appliances and heating and cooling systems with Energy Star-rated equipment.
Karyn Maier has been a full-time freelance writer since 1992 specializing in health, particularly botanical therapies. She has written many feature articles and columns for numerous national magazines, including "Better Nutrition," "Your Health" and "Mother Earth News," and she has authored numerous natural health-related books currently published in four languages. She also has more than 10 years' experience as a legal assistant.
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