"Sustainable Living: Give the Earth a Hug"

It’s April, and Earth Day is just around the corner. This is a great time to reflect on what each of us can do to live a more eco-friendly, sustainable life.  It’s true that one person’s contributions don’t make much of an impact on the world, but if we all make teeny, tiny baby steps towards living a more green existence, we can effect a huge change in this world.

There are several things we can do to live more sustainably. Some are far simpler than others but striving to make an impact in even the most insignificant manner can improve the quality of our lives and that of our children and their children far into the future. Going “green” isn’t a fad; it’s a way of life that our society is, at long last, slowly embracing.

1)      Moderate your indoor heating and cooling temperatures. During the warm months, keep you air conditioner turned up a couple of degrees warmer than in the past. Conversely, in the heating months, keep the temps lower. This will reduce the amount of energy you consume and you will be rewarded with a reduced heating/cooling bill.

2)      Walk or ride your bike to your destination as often as possible. This is good for you and the environment.

3)      Manage the “solar gain” in your home. If you are home during the day, control the heat that comes into your home through the windows. In warm weather, close blinds on windows that have direct sunlight coming into the house on either the east or west side, so you have less heat and therefore less cooling requirements. In the winter, take advantage of sun shining in your windows to capture the heat coming in to your home through the windows and reduce the amount of energy you need to heat your home.

4)      Donate old clothes and household furnishings you no longer use. If someone else has a use for these items, it reduces the demand for these similar new products to be manufactured. An added bonus is that you have less clutter in your home!

5)      Wash laundry when you have a full load. Wait until you have enough clothes for a full load to use less water and energy. If you need something washed and don’t have enough laundry for a full load then simply wash the item by hand.

6)      Change the showerhead in your bathroom. Install a low-flow showerhead. It will use significantly less water (approximately 2,000 gallons of water a year), place less demand on your water heater and still get you clean. Make sure you get the okay from your landlord before implementing this change.     

If you make a few of these changes, you will be well on your way to making a meaningful contribution to the environment and quite possibly save yourself some money in the process! 

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