Elle over on Kitchen With Kids posted this morning in honor of Blog Action Day '09.
And because I'm a jumper of bandwagons (at least worthy ones), here's mine.
It's hard to see all the time, but climate change is real. Although we can't necessarily *stop* it - some is part of nature doing her thing after all - we can certainly do something about how much we contribute to the issue.
It's really easy to fall into the "I'm just one person, what can I do" state of mind, but there are 6 bajillion of us on the planet... if we each did one very small thing, wouldn't that be amazing?
Dare I say...
Thrilling?! (See how I can make anything fit my theme days? I should add that as a skill on my resume.)
It's equally easy to feel like if you don't do EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE, then somehow you're slacking, so why bother.
I know that I often feel that way...there are so many who do so much more than I do, but while I admire that, it doesn't mean my part doesn't count!
I don't compost, but I recycle everything I can.
I bleach the crap out of my bathroom on a regular basis because I have a slight germ thing, but I also buy natural cleaning agents as much as possible.
I keep my heat low and wear a sweater instead (although to be honest that's half because I'm cheap), but you can bet your butt I crank the a/c if I'm home on a hot day, and if it's particularly chilly I will totally up the heat for awhile to warm up.
Nobody's perfect, and we all just do what we can.
And we can all do *something*!
Here are some easy things you can do (which you're probably doing already, but they're good to remember!):
* Swap the regular light bulbs in your house for CFL bulbs. They're a little more than the 99 cent regular bulb you usually get, but they last a LOT longer. (WHY?) Just be sure to dispose of these properly and be careful when handling them...read up about that here. You can also take your used ones to many Ace Hardware stores; check with your local one or find a CFL recycling center by searching here.
* Pay your bills online. Most companies to whom you might make a payment for services use online billpay these days. Your cell phone, your cable, even your utilities are all payable through company websites. Even if they aren't, almost all banks now offer free online checking... half an hour with your paper bills setting up payees could mean that box of checks you bought will last you the next 5 years! (I think I've written 10 checks in the last year.)
* Set yourself up with online billing, while you're at it. Most companies offer this too - it saves them money. Not only will you save paper by doing this, you can also guard against identity theft because you won't have bills sitting in your mailbox anymore. You can even make it so your bank sends your statements to your inbox!
* Install a programmable thermostat. If you're not home all day, do you really need to keep your house at 70 degrees? Probably not. I have mine set to keep us comfy for a couple of hours in the morning, and a couple at night... the rest of the time I set it high in the summer and low in the winter - and my utility bills went down drastically when I started doing so! Double bonus. (Unless you have a lizard or bird, your pets will survive if your house gets to 85 in the summer and down to 60 in winter.)
* Use cloth grocery bags. Now granted, I'm guilty of going plastic now and again, but I really do try to use the reusable ones as much as possible. Lots of grocery stores are even giving 5 cent per bag discounts if you show them you've brought your own! You can even make your own... remember my favorite bag pattern?
* Check your tires. (From the Time.com article.) "Just giving your engine a tune-up can improve gas mileage 4% and often much more. Replacing a clogged air filter can boost efficiency 10%. And keeping tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage more than 3%. The bottom line? If you can boost your gas mileage from 20 to 24 m.p.g., your old heap will put 200 fewer pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere each year."
That same Time article had a lot of interesting points, some of which I probably couldn't do myself (solar panels, etc.) but that were worth reading about. The strangest one that I could personally accomplish was to make more right turns. It sounds weird, but I never really thought about it... how much time do you spend sitting waiting to make a left? If you go a slightly longer way that you know will not have you sitting around waiting to turn, you're actually using *less* gas... even if you went a mile or two out of the way.
Just to add to the thrill of Thrilling Thursday, here's a lovely bit of vid that reminds me of why I do these little things...
I live here.