As most of you know, Will and I are really trying hard to become more eco-conscious. For us, it’s not a liberal or conservative issue, it’s just plain common sense. We should take care of God’s creation. Period. Dennis Malcolm, my old pastor at Trinity Bible Church in Lafayette, LA did a great sermon last year about this subject. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it in the sermon archives. Basically his points were that people get all crazy about the “Save the Earth” stuff for a variety of reasons–making money by selling new popular “green” products, saving money (CFLs cut your energy use by a significant bit), etc. But as Christians, we are compelled to be responsible and care for God’s creation, just like Adam did in the Garden of Eden. I really don’t need any more reason than that to be “green.” So I am.
I think the biggest change for me has been mental. I’m over the dollar aisle at Target. I mean, really over it. I’m tired of having a bunch of junk in my house. I can pretty much guarantee that anything I purchase in that aisle has a lifetime of 1 month or less. I’ve got 3 kids, I don’t need one shred more of clutter. So I’m focusing on purchasing the things I need, the things that sustain us, the things that are worth Will working so hard for us.
So I have a list of the Top 10 idiot-proof things to make your life more green. They’re taken directly from The Daily Green. No, I don’t read this daily, but I thought they were good tips.
1. STOP IDLING
Every moment you spend idling your car’s engine means needlessly wasting gas, as well as rougher wear on your vehicle. Idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than is needed for startup. Overall, Americans idle away 2.9 billion gallons of gas a year, worth around $78.2 billion.
2. TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER
Save energy and wear and tear on your hardware by shutting down your computer at night. You’ll save an average of $90 of electricity a year. The Department of Energy recommends shutting off your monitor if you aren’t going to use it for more than 20 minutes, and the whole system if you’re not going to use it for more than two hours.
3. SIGN UP FOR GREEN ENERGY
More than half of all electricity consumers in the U.S. now have the option of purchasing green power from their utility. Find out how you can buy it by visiting the Department of Energy’s state-by-state list of providers. You can also check with your own utility to see what’s available.
We signed up with Renewable Choice, focusing on wind power.
4. TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT.
It definitely pays to give a thought to your thermostat, since most households shell out 50 to 70% of their energy budgets on heating and cooling. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you’ll save between 1 and 3% of your heating bill. Do the same thing in reverse with air conditioning.
5. WASH YOUR LAUNDRY IN COLD WATER.
An easy way to clean green is to turn the dial on your washing machine to cold. Most loads don’t need hot water, and 90% of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating. The higher the water temperature, the higher the cost to you and the planet.
6. PAY BILLS ONLINE.
Save natural resources – as well as late fees – by enrolling in online bill-paying options. Paperless billing not only saves trees; it also eliminates the fossil fuel needed to get all those billing envelopes from them to you and back again. Plus, you’ll save money on stamps.
7. JETTISON JUNK MAIL.
Around 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used to send junk mail to Americans every year, according to greendimes.com. You can stop 75% of unsolicited mail by registering on the Mail Preference Service on the Direct Marketing Association website (for a fee of $1). Within 90 days, most unsolicited mail will stop.
8. PRINT ON TWO SIDES.
Know what? It’s not that hard to print two sides on your computer. But even though most software programs give that option, most of us still print only on one side of the page. Consider this: the U.S. alone uses 4 million tons of copy paper annually, about 27 pounds per person. Save dough and your local landfill. Print 2-sides.
9. CARPOOL IT!
If your drive to work is 25 miles each way and at least half is in typical stop-and-go traffic, you’ll save almost 10 percent of your monthly carbon emissions by carpooling. Not to mention the gas dollars you’ll save and the fun you’ll have sharing office gossip with your friends.
10. CHOOSE HORMONE-FREE MILK.
Look for milk that has been certified organic or carries the words ‘no artificial hormones.’ Conventional dairies inject cows with synthetic recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), aka bovine somatotropin (rbST), to boost production. The practice has been implicated in udder infections, requiring more veterinary antibiotic use, and is banned in many countries. Some scientists worry the hormones may affect consumers.