1. Switch off.
Remembering to switch off unnecessary lights, appliances, etc., contributes a big amount when you consider that a lot of people leave electrical equipment running even when they’re not in use.
Appliances on standby mode still consume electricity with their pilot lights and monitoring modules. Mobile phone chargers and other such electrical adaptors still consume low amounts of power when left plugged in even though the phone is not connected. Households consume atleast 120 kilowatt hours of electricity per year by leaving their appliances on standby mode – this is atleast 70 kilograms of carbon dioxide anually! So, either pull out the plugs or use a multi-socket power strip with its own power cut-out.
3. Switch to more energy efficient bulbs & appliances.
Compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFL) saves you as much as 80% consumption and useful life is eight times longer compared to incandescent bulbs. Light emitting diode (LED) lamps consume even less and last even longer. Plus, LED does not contain toxic mercury like any of the older lighting technologies (even CFL). Appliances that have lived beyond their indicated useful lifespan (or are simply older) usually use up more energy to do the same tasks a newer one does. Check energy efficiency ratings, especially for airconditioners, refrigerators, freezers and such, then compare between models if you’re getting a new appliance. Sometimes what you save on a face price may be lesser than what you’ll save with a more energy efficient model. Plus, you get to do your bit for Mother Earth.
4. Walk, bike, commute, car pool (in that order).
A heavy off-road vehicle or a large limousine emits 1.3 tons of carbon dioxide to travel less than 3000 kilometers (or 2000 miles). A lean consumption vehicle will go over 18,000 kilometers. A car pool would mean less emissions per person compared to each driving her/his own car. A public vehicle with capacity to shuttle more people brings emission figures further down.
5. Segregate waste.
Garbage thrown together means reusable bottles and other containers lose their remaining useful life. Paper and other recyclable materials won’t get to be recycled as well. This means more containers, papers, etc. need to be produced from scratch, so it also equates to more trees cut, more carbon emissions from manufacturing, and more material for landfill in a shorter amount of time. It’s a losing proposition all around. Separate reusable from recyclable from compostable from absolute trash!
6. No single use containers, bring reusable instead.
Single-use packaging, cups, bags and similar products are the biggest components of solid waste. The battle between “paper vs. plastic” can go on and on and on…but if people continue using such single-use stuff, it doesn’t matter if it’s paper or plastic — it ultimately trashes our planet faster either way.
7. Minimize packaging, consume less of everything in general.
More products used means more energy expended to produce such, with higher carbon footprints and more waste produced. The arguments regarding population control can go on and on and on…but studies have shown that smaller populations can have higher carbon footprints when they have a more intense culture of consumption.
8. No GMOs, support organic & other sustainable agriculture practices & foods instead.
GMO foods mess around with natural agriculture efficiencies and undermine biodiversity. They are the biggest silent threat to food security. GMOs and chemical-intensive farming are being promoted by big agro-chemical corporations to gain more and more control of the world’s food sources. On the other hand, Organic agriculture, the “slow food” culture (grow, buy local, etc.) and other sustainable agriculture practices gives farmers back control of their produce and their profits.
9. Educate yourself & support environmental organizations.
Act, volunteer, donate.We can’t do it alone. But together, we become strong like the proverbial bundle of sticks. We become even stronger when we make the binds systematic. So we have to continue improving as individuals and as groups.
10. Be the example & spread the word.
Nothing moves forward if no one sets the trend.