I’m not a “SAVE THE PLANET!” type of guy. I fail to see how the earth is in any danger of being destroyed or irreparably harmed by the progress of mankind. I don’t worship the earth, view it as our Sacred Mother, or think it has a higher priority than the people who live on it.
But I’m also not a “slash-and-burn” guy. I don’t believe progress should come at the blind expense of what it does to the earth. Nor do I hold to the theory – often expressed in religious circles – that since the whole world is going to burn in the end we can do with it now as we please.
I see extremes when thinking about either of those positions. To me a more balanced approach is called for that recognizes and supports the need for human progress and at the same time develops constraints for the purposes of conservation.
It’s more about wise stewardship than saving or using/abusing.
To that end I believe there are certain issues on which SAVE-THE-PLANET-guy and slash-and-burn-guy could even agree.
Consider these environmental objectives:
- Maintaining clean air standards
- Having clean water to drink
- Balancing our land usage
- Eliminating waste
- Preserving the earth’s natural beauty
- Limiting non-biodegradable plastics
We could all get behind those, right?
The great thing is it doesn’t take a lot of work to be a wise steward of the resources we’ve been given. And even better is that many of the things we can do to practice conservation and meet those environmental objectives can also save us money.
Money Saving Tips That Help the Environment
So how can we save money and help the environment? Many of the practical things we can do deal with reducing energy usage and saving other natural resources. We can do them at home, on the road or even at work.
Here are some money saving tips to help the environment (with some links if you’d like to learn more about that topic):
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.
- Turn off lights, appliances and electronics when not in use.
- Buy a programmable thermostat. Adjust it up in summer and down in winter.
- Install water saving fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water instead of drinking bottled water.
- Take shorter showers instead of baths or…
- Shower with a partner. (…can’t believe I just said that…not for kids).
- Turn off the water as you brush your teeth.
- Recycle bottles, cans, paper and glass products.
- Drive a more fuel-efficient car.
- Car pool, walk, bike or take public transit to work.
- Print less and use both sides of the paper when possible.
- Buy Energy Star certified appliances. (www.energystar.gov)
- Work from home and use video/telephone for conferences to reduce travel.
- Eat all leftovers.
- Eat less meat.
- Switch to items that are reusable or rechargeable (batteries, lunch containers, bags, etc).
- Turn off computers at night.
- Don’t completely rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
- Only pre-heat the oven when necessary (for breads or pastries).
- Wash clothes in cold or warm water only.
- Air-dry your clothes using a rack or clothesline.
- Use cruise control in your car.
- Reduce speeding, fast accelerations and hard braking. (All these driving practices waste gas.)
- Combine errands (thus reducing the amount of trips taken each week).
- Maintain your vehicle so it is running properly.
- Keep your fireplace damper closed to reduce heat escaping up the chimney in winter.
- Use matches instead of plastic lighters.
- Clean the lint trap in the dryer. (A dirty one will cause the dryer to use more energy to finish the job.)
- Cook in bulk to decrease the overall amount of times you have to cook.
- Buy produce from a local orchard or farm.
- Utilize a crock pot to reduce energy usage.
- Cancel hard copy magazine subscriptions.
- Run or walk outside instead of using energy to power a treadmill or driving to the gym.
- Save clothing that could be used as hand-me-downs.
- Check all heating and air ducts in the home for open gaps.
- Insulate around and use caulk to seal all windows and doors.
- Use fans in the home instead of the air conditioner.
- Add insulation in the attic or basement.
- Sell items at a garage sale instead of throwing them away.
The Earth Is Precious
I really do love the earth we’ve been given. There are few things I enjoy more than being in nature and enjoying its beauty and natural wonders. At some level I have a responsibility to do what small things I can to preserve it for future generations. The less energy and resources we use now the more we will have in the future to support our growing population.
I surely missed some strategies here though. So now it’s your turn to chime in. What else could we add to the list above? To qualify the suggestion should help the environment in some way and clearly lead to money savings for you. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.
Questions: What activity are you currently doing to save money and help the environment at the same time? Where do you fall on the spectrum between SAVE-THE-PLANET-GUY/GIRL and slash-and-burn-guy/girl? What other money saving tips would you advise?
What frustrates you the most about the environmental debate? Do you agree we should use but not abuse the earth?