The old adage says, “money doesn’t grow on trees.” We all learned that the hard way and the new question for today’s generation is: “How do we make trees grow with money?”
Over the past couple years the environment has jumped to the top of the list of global concerns along with world hunger, HIV/AIDS and more. Whether you believe in global warming, have watched the Story of Stuff or Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, you know that oil is a finite resource, the global population is growing, there are less and less places to put our ever-surmounting piles of waste, and the ozone is impacted by our daily emissions.
Not to be a downer…
On the bright side, people are actively taking steps in their everyday lives by turning their Starbuck’s cups into compost and recycling (or better yet bringing a thermos), shutting off the water while they brush their pearly whites, using energy-saving light bulbs (or better still, turning off AND unplugging) and taking public transportation or riding bikes to work. But what about the larger environmental campaigns? How do we make the most out of our efforts and raise a savvier generation?
1. Make your home energy efficient. Close up gaps and cracks in your home where heated or cooled air might leak out, insulate, change your lighting, upgrade with the most efficient appliances when they need upgrading, increase your thermostat a few degrees in summer and decrease it in winter. You might spend some money on the efficiency upgrades, but all of these will eventually pay you back, since you’re actually decreasing the amount of energy that needs to be generated.
2. Support green energy alternatives. You can do this by purchasing accredited green energy from your utility company or by investing in on-site renewable generation via solar PV panels, solar hot water, heat pumps, etc. Make sure your home or business is well suited to this. If not, see #3.
3. Offset. Fully assess your lifestyle and where you can’t reduce your usage (like that vacation flight this summer!) or switch to green energy, purchase certified offsets for your remaining carbon footprint. Visit Carbonfund.org to learn more.
4. Educate. Support organizations that educate the public about climate change and which lobby the government to make a positive change. The problem is GLOBAL and while many individual actions can make a big impact, doing it “silently” can mean you end up working against yourself. Advocate if you can or want – but if you don’t, support leaders who can and do. Tell your children about the things you do every day to protect their earth. Teach them your good habits and explain why it makes a difference.
Read and listen to the latest news and to continue educating yourself as well. There’s something new to learn everyday about how we can be a part of the solution.
Author: Michelle Koffler