Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and blogs about New Year resolutions because, hey, it’s the new year! And while I do absolutely love the idea of improving certain areas of our lives that need work; nobody is perfect. According to research by Scranton University, only about 8% of people keep their resolution.
I think this is largely because we make resolutions we can’t possibly keep. Making lifestyle changes takes time, and time is a scarce commodity these days. That’s why I’m proposing sustainable living as a New Year’s resolution this year.
Sustainability is a big deal to me. When I started creating solar luminaries, it was really important that I be as resourceful as possible. Almost all the parts I use to create my punch cup luminaries are gathered from the local landfill or are leftover from an estate sale. I believe this is where the true art comes to light - when you revitalize something that someone else just threw away.
I understand how daunting a “sustainable” lifestyle can seem. To make this a reachable goal, I’ve listed some ways to help you easily incorporate “reducing” into your daily life. Just think, if we all managed to maintain just a few of these steps, we could make the world a better place in 2017!
If all Californians replaced five light bulbs with compact florescent lights, it would be the equivalent of taking 275,000 cars off the road. Turn off unnecessary lighting and use compact fluorescent lights instead of overhead lights. Use sunlight when possible to light up your home – sunlight is the best kind of light for our mood and general well-being!
We should all probably take a small step away from our electronics anyway. By doing so we have a positive effect on our environment. Use surge protector power strips to switch off televisions, radios, monitors, printers, etc. when you leave the house. Use sleep mode for your computer (it really does make a difference). The plus side could be a lower energy bill!
Heating and Air
Lowering the temperature by 5 or 10 degrees can save you up to 20 percent in heating costs – that’s huge! Replace or clean furnace filters regularly and get a furnace tune-up to help heating efficiency. During the summer, adjust and set your air conditioner to 78% or warmer, health permitting.
Purchase organic and local products. Local produce isn’t shipped in, eliminating the pollution from long haul deliveries. When you’re finished with an item, don’t throw it away. Post it for free (www.Freecycle.org). Remember, “away” actually means “landfill”.
Some simple ways to conserve water include using a bucket to collect shower water that can later be used to water plants or to clean. Turn off the shower while soaping up for just 6 minutes to eliminate an incredible 342 pounds of CO2 from your annual total. Just a reminder – as much as 19 percent of California’s electricity is used to pump, transport and treat water.