Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about my impact on the planet. I feel a little bad, because for most of my life I haven’t thought about this stuff at all. But as I get closer to graduating from college, I think that now is a great time for me to start thinking harder about how I can make sure that my lifestyle as an adult is environmentally friendly.
But I’ve never really been a big hippie or anything, so I don’t know where to start. Experts, can you give me a crash course in putting our planet first?
You don’t need to be a “big hippie” to recognize that our lives have a big impact on our environment. And you don’t need to put the planet’s needs ahead of your own in order to make at least some effort to minimize your impact on the planet. It’s possible to live in an environmentally-conscious way and still live a regular lifestyle: you can drive, live in a nice home, and continue to consume things while also making an increased effort to do so in an efficient way that is as environmentally responsible as you feel is possible for you.
Let’s start with something that makes a huge impact on our planet: the burning of fossil fuels. We humans consume a lot of energy to drive our cars and heat and cool our homes, and this is a particularly large problem among Americans, who waste more energy than people in other countries do.
So what can you do? Well, taking public transit is a great alternative to driving. Carpooling will cut down on your impact, too. But the very least that you can do is to make sure that you are at least driving an efficient vehicle. Visiting a reliable mechanic for regular maintenance and repair work is essential because it keeps your vehicle reliable and efficient. That’s good for your finances as well as for the environment, which will benefit because a well-maintained car is going to be more fuel-efficient and cleaner than a poorly-maintained one.
In your home, you can aim for the same goal: efficiency. You don’t need to stop air conditioning your living space in order to help the planet. Just make sure that your home is an efficient one, say the builders from Starling at Big Lake. New home builders have the luxury of starting from scratch by installing the latest heating and cooling systems with eco-friendly technologies. Existing homeowners can make a large difference with their energy conservation efforts simply by keeping an eye on things like insulation, cracks in the piping around windows and doors, and even siding. The condition and level of wear for all of these affects how well your home maintains a comfortable temperature throughout the seasons. Americans lose an alarming amount of energy from their homes each year — don’t let that be you!
Simple changes like this can go a long way toward limiting your carbon footprint and your impact on our planet. So don’t worry about going “full hippie” just yet — but do start thinking about how far you can go in ensuring that what you do consume is consumed as efficiently as possible.
“Come forth into the light things, let nature be your teacher.” –William Wordsworth