With summer in full swing, everyone can benefit from a few tips on how to reduce our environmental footprint. Here are 5 tips to be more environmentally friendly this summer in the activities we take part in and the energy we use (as well as some motivating statistics to illustrate why it’s important to do so):
Take a stroll/hop on a bike
The average passenger vehicle emits 423 grams per mile, averaging about 5.1 metric tons a year so let’s reduce the miles we drive whenever we can. Instead of giving into our dependence on cars and fossil fuels, walk or bike to your destination when you can. Getting a little sunshine, exercise, and reducing your carbon footprint is a win-win.
Pick up after yourself
Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. As we are out camping, having picnics, enjoying rivers and beaches don’t forget to leave with everything you came with. Let’s try to keep those beautiful places beautiful for generations to come!
Be conscious of your A/C use
In the U.S., about 100 million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted each year due to air conditioning use – an average of about two tons for each home with an A/C. We know that during the summer you need to turn that A/C on in order to cool down, but make sure it is operating efficiently and minimize energy consumption. Clean out your air filters, only cool the rooms that you are using, and if you have centrally controlled air, turn the temperature up (or turn the A/C off) during the day when you aren’t home. Make sure all vents are open; closed vents mean that the system will work harder to maintain a constant temperature.
Replace the plastic
U.S. generated almost 7 million tons of plastics as non-durable goods, such as plates and cups in 2012. Only 9% of the 14 million tons of total plastic waste was recycled. It is easy to just grab a plastic water bottle on the go, but it is so much more fulfilling to fill up a reusable one. Same goes for utensils, cups, and even paper plates which are the more environmentally friendly choice for BBQs or camping trips.
Don’t forget the veggies
Livestock accounts for 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions with cattle-raising alone contributing 65 percent of the livestock sector’s GHGs. Our meat addiction also has environmental and social effects across borders as forests continue to be cleared to meet increasing demands. Of course, we love BBQs, but it’s no secret that eating vegetables is better for the environment. Show salads and summer veggies some love as well.
Keep these tips in mind when you are out-and-about enjoying your summer in order to minimize the impact these sunny, fun-loving activities have on the environment!