Earth Day 2014: Tips on Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Arnaldo Vazquez cleans solar panels to maximise energy efficiency during the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington.

Earth Day 2014 marks the 44th anniversary of the annual event and will see over a billion people worldwide celebrating the day of action.

This year’s Earth Day focuses on green cities to highlight the impact of more and more people migrating to cities to live.

“With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future,” event organisers said. “Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.”

To mark Earth Day 2014, IBTimes UK looks at some of the ways people can save energy, become more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Saving Energy

Taking public transport, cycling or using a car pool for just two days out of the week for the commute to work can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,600 pounds per year. Similarly, by saving up car journeys for shopping trips and errands, and doing them all in one go, will help reduce air pollution and traffic congestion, and save money.

Check how energy efficient you are by looking into how much of your power comes from renewable sources, such as wind or solar energy. Using green power – if optional – will help to reduce greenhouse emissions as well as protect against future costs of fossil fuel scarcity.

Completing an energy audit of your home to work out where you can save money will have a big impact on the environment and your wallet. This can be through simple changes, such as replacing conventional light bulbs with energy efficient ones, or through installing your own green power sources such as solar panels.

Water efficiency

There are a number of ways people can use water more efficiently. The planet only has a small amount of water available for human consumption, so using this resource sensibly is paramount.

  • Don’t pre-rinse dishes before loading them into a dishwasher – tests showed it does not improve cleaning and you will save about 20 gallons per load. If your dishwasher is inefficient, buy a new one that saves water – it will be worth it in the long-term.
  • Shower instead of bath – a five minutes shower will save up to 25 gallons of water in comparison to running a full bath.
  • Installing a water-efficient showerhead will also save water and money.
  • Fix leaks from faucets as this will mean you use less water and save thousands of gallons each year. To test if you have leaks, you can check the metre before and after a period of a few hours while no water is being used. If the meter has changed, there is likely a leak somewhere.
  • Only use the washing machine when you have a full load and if the machine is inefficient, buy a new one. Newer models use just 28 gallons compared with older machines that use up to 41.

Recycle

Recycling around the home can be done in a number of ways – instead of throwing out garden waste, create a compost heap for natural disposal. Food waste from the kitchen can also be added to the heap to break down naturally, meaning you can also save money on fertilisers.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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