13 WAYS TO BE ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY
October 15 was Blog Action Day with the theme: Environment so here are 13 things I commit myself to do whenever possible.
1. Purchase a vehicle that uses less of the earth’s limited petroleum resources. By choosing a car with the most fuel efficient engine in its class, drivers could reduce their engine CO2 emissions and potentially save on fuel costs.
It doesn’t have to be a hybrid Toyota Prius, there are lots of alternative eco-friendly cars available that’s easy on gas.
2. Take the public transport if you have easy access to it. By joining other commuters and travelers rather than cruising in individual cars, you can save money on parking fees and gas.
If Dubai’s public transport system is as efficient as that of Japan’s, I wouldn’t mind taking it everyday.
3. Make it an effort to recycle. May it be yard wastes, newspapers, aluminum cans, pet bottles or plastic bags.
We make it a point not to buy small bottles of water when we go out. We fill our own water bottles before going out.
4. Reduce plastic waste. Did you know that it takes 20 years for a plastic bag to decompose and 250 years for a plastic cup?
We take our own grocery bag when we shop to reduce the use of plastic bags.
5. Recycle paper. Avoid hitting the print key when you can. Transmit information electronically and only print when you truly need it.
I bring papers printed on one side home, so my daughter can make use of it for drawing.
6. Eat Local. In the area of food, think about how far it has traveled to get to your mouth.
This is very difficult in my part! Fruits and vegetables available in the grocery here come from far-flung places. Our tomatoes come from Holland! I may not be able to practice this but I hope you will.
7. Have Barbeque! Grilling is a healthy way to cook but did you know that it is also good for the air? Outdoor grills take less energy than electric kitchen stoves. It also keep heat out of the house, lowering air conditioning costs.
I know it’s autumn in the northern hemisphere right now so bbq is not possible. However, here in Dubai, we can bbq all year long so we’ll make it a point to grill outside instead of cooking a feast on special occasions.
8. Dine on reusable plates, spoons and forks. Instead of using paper plates, cups and plastic utensils. You can help save a lot of trees and reduce plastic waste.
We bring our own utensils when we camp out and reuse them. I don’t like bringing paper plates as I find them too soft and unstable.
9. Invest on eco-friendly appliances. Check out the products that emits less freon and carbon. Also, think twice if you really need that second fridge in your room just to store drinks.
A little walk into the kitchen to get your refreshment won’t hurt; it can even be a little exercise.
10. Change your thermostat setting. Setting the thermostat a few degrees lower in winter and a few degrees higher in summer can give you substantial savings on utility bills.
When I was in Japan, thermostat settings in offices during summer is 28C and 20C during winter. People adjust to this too hot and little bit too cold temperature by wearing lighter clothes on summer and bringing a light jacket on winter. Here in Dubai? The thermostat is offices and malls are set at 15C or lower. This country will never pass the ISO standard for environment.
I always change the thermostat to at least 20C but someone is always putting it back to 15. I keep a light jacket in the office.
11. Think twice about buying a new cellphone. E-waste from discarded cell phones is a growing environmental problem. Thousands of electronic refuse are being shipped abroad illegally for ‘disassembly’ by workers with little protection against mercury and other toxic substances they contain.
Although I love new technology, I don’t change cell phones frequently. My last cell phone lasted me 5 years before I bought a new one.
12. Make your own cleaning supplies. Use simple ingredients such as baking soda, soap and vinegar to create non-toxic cleaning products that work.
I use baking soda to exfoliate and that saves me from buying a facial scrub contained in plastic. It is also a lot more cheaper and works for me really well.
13. Use flat panel display. Flat panel monitors use 1/3 as much energy than a CRT monitor. A typical LCD requires 25 watts; a CRT, 75. CRT’s need more energy because they require constant power to illuminate the phosphors that produce images on screen. Flat panel monitors not only saves energy, it also saves space.
We have been using flat LCD’s since it came out. The CRT monitors just take up too much space.
How do you contribute to making our planet greener?