One Person Can Change the World: Earth Day Edition

Apr 22, 2013 3 Comments by

green-earth-dayMonday is Earth Day in the United States. 

I’m not positive, but I think the original purpose of Earth Day was to have us take one day each year to step back and appreciate the beauty and fragility of our planet – and then commit to doing something to preserve it.

Hip, Hip, Hurray!  I’m not exactly a hippie – but I am hip on saving a few bucks on my bills. So today’s post is not about the usual change agent stuff.

It’s about a different type of change… the kind that jingles in your pocket.  It’s also about changing the way we interact with the planet so we can each leave this place better than we found it.

Over the course of the week, I’d like to reinforce the notion that we are each agents of change within our communities. We can make small choices that are not just good for our pocketbooks, but good for everyone.

water-conservationToday’s focus: Change How We View Water. Doing so can change how much water you consume and how much you pay for it.  Considering that only 1% of the Earth’s water is actually available for humans to use, you might want to change your thinking and try some of these 10 water-saving tips:

1.  Ditch Bottled Water. Get an aluminum or hard plastic water bottle and fill it with purified/filtered tap water.  Most community buildings have water fountains of course, but did you know that many airports are adding filtered water stations for passengers who carry containers in lieu of buying little $5 jugs of H2O once they’ve cleared through security?

2.  Get a Rain Barrel. Collect natural rainwater for watering gardens and flowerbeds. The ones with screens and devices that filter the rain on the way in are good for reducing the risk of developing icky algae in your free water supply.

3.  Choose Drought-Resistant Plants & Grasses when you design your landscaping. They’ll be less thirsty and look good with minimal upkeep.

4.  Bath or Shower? The average bath takes about 70 gallons of water. The average shower takes 12-25. Looks to be an easy call.

shower-head5.  Time your Showers. Then Cut Off 1 Minute. Shorter showers obviously use less water – but they can also dramatically cut your bills by reducing the money you pay to heat that water.

6.  Try a Low-Flow Shower Head. It might not be for everyone, but it can decrease your use of shower water by as much as 75%, so it could pay for itself in no time. The water department in one town where I worked even gave these gadgets away for free.

7.  Fill ‘Er Up! Only do full-sized loads of laundry. The average washing machine uses 40 gallons to do each load. With many machines, the amount of water used is nearly the same or even higher with small loads.

8.  Same Goes for Your Dishwasher – Only run it when it’s full. Tests show that most people rinse their dishes way too much while they load the dishwasher too. Rinsing can be drastically reduced for most machines with a savings of 10-20 gallons per load.

9.  Wash Your Clothes With Cold Water. As much as 85% of the energy used to wash clothes with hot water is eaten up by simply heating the water!

water_flow10.  Get Some Big Air! Finally, check that you have aerators on all of your faucets. If the water flow hisses slightly and the stream is white, you probably do. If the flow is dense and clear, you might not. The aerator is that little device that injects air into your water as it comes out to increase water pressure and provide a more full stream while using a lot less water. If your aerator gets gunked up, pop it out and replace it or soak it overnight in vinegar to break up corrosion. Here’s a self-help guide on how to do that.

Water is a precious resource and using it wisely isn’t just good for the planet, it makes good financial sense.

Be a Change Agent for the Planet and try a couple of these tips this week.

Tomorrow I’ll share several easy ways to save money by changing our habits around the use of energy.

-Steve

Questions for Chatter:

  • What other water-saving tips have you learned?
  • Is saving water such a big deal? Isn’t there plenty of water to go around?

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3 Responses to “One Person Can Change the World: Earth Day Edition”

  1. Yuck! | theBigRocks of Change says:

    […] Monday: Ten Ways to Save Water […]

  2. Rocco says:

    We save water by wearing clothes – especially pants- more than once and cutting back on rinsing dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. It’s not necessary.

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