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Doing our part for the environment

Uploaded by Tim Dachtera

Uploaded by Tim Dachtera

After a recent trip to the iMax Theater at the Science Museum and seeing the Grand Canyon film currently showing (which I suggest you go see) coupled with walking thru the current Water exhibit they have, it was made quite clear how our environment has changed over the last century in regards to the decrease of natural resources, mainly water.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the most Eco-Friendly person out there, however I am trying to get better at it. One fact that hit me, was the amount of energy it takes to process, bottle, distribute and then recycle a single plastic bottle full of our wonderful water, equates to 1/4 of that bottle being filled with oil. Oil was the resource being monitored for using in this case vs. other resources, but to think, I need 1/4 quart of Mobil 1, to drink my 20oz. Desani water, kind of made me sick.

Looking also at iJustine’s contributions to Charity Water, makes me realize how lucky I am to have tap water that I can drink, compared to millions of others in the world. Sure I may still run it all thru a Brita filter for that extra bit of purity, but our source of water is nothing compared to other areas in the world.

Without getting too far off on a tangent, I am going to attempt to become more aware of what I use, and how I use those things affects the environment. I’ve started to become more aware of cutting down the amount of waste I use, and so far, by eating more fresh foods, or organic when possible, I’ve cut down the amount of packaging I use at home. In the past, our trash and recycle would both be full each week, and now with just myself, I can go about a month most times before I need to wheel the trash down the driveway. Recycle can go two to three weeks now.

I still have a flat of bottled water in the garage, however, I will be re-using my stash of bottles for myself, and saving some new bottles for guests of course that don’t like tap water) I’ve stopped buying bottles at work, and instead will be using my Nalgene camping water bottle to reduce the waste there.

As far as other ways to reduce the resources we use all the time, what can we do? We can switch to CFL bulbs in our homes, and I know this isn’t always practical, I’ve replaced many in my home for light fixtures where the bulbs are not exposed. Also, as many of you know, I keep my house at a cooler temperature than most, typically about 62 or 64 during the day, and 66 or 68 when I’m home at night. I will bump it up for company, but I’m more than happy to put on a fleece and snuggle with the pup than have a 72 degree house and waste all that energy in a big home I only am in a small amount of. (I also don’t like the huge gas bills)

While I’m on the subject of power and gas, I’ve heard many times that if you keep your house at 60 or 58 when you aren’t home, and then ramp it up to 68 or 70 when you are home, it actually costs MORE than keeping the high and low temps closer together, as the furnace doesn’t have to work hard to heat from 62-68, but really has to crank to get up from 58, especially in the cold Minnesota winters. I’ve actually seen a drop in my power bill in using this method this past season.

There are tons of things we can do, from using low flow shower headers, efficient toilets, recycled this and that, along with just being mindful of what we are consuming and disposing of. While I’m not advocating every go out and completely switch (because much like diets, we all revert back to our old ways in time) I suggest we take a look our our current lifestyle, and figure out how we can all cut back our use of water, other resources, or gas etc. It might be spending the 10$ on the trendy mug from Starbucks vs. the paper cup every morning, or it may be walking to the grocery store 3 blocks away instead of driving, and using your own bags, or buying the store bag like many stores offer now.

If you have any ideas, or suggestions of how we can reduce, and be more mindful, feel free to comment. All it takes is one person to make a difference, and start a change.