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Make your family more eco-conscious

Start small when going green. It's easier than you think to make your family eco-friendly.
 ( / The Spokesman-Review)
Start small when going green. It's easier than you think to make your family eco-friendly. ( / The Spokesman-Review)
Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore

Global warming: You can’t go anywhere without hearing about its massive effect on our planet and our lives. Temperatures are rising.Glaciers are melting. And it’s only getting worse.

There are a wide variety of things we, as individuals and families, can do to become more environmentally friendly. By following a few simple steps, it’s easier than you think to get your family ecologically Buttoned Up.

Alicia on “Focus On A Few”:

“When starting to make your family more eco-conscious, it’s best to focus on the one or two changes that will have the biggest impact. Start turning lights out in rooms you aren’t using. Plant a tree. (A single tree will absorb 1 ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air-conditioning bill by 10 percent to 15 percent).”

Sarah on “Starting Simple”:

“The important thing is that you start to do something, anything, to make your imprint on the environment as small as possible. The ‘perfect’ place to start is to find changes that you can easily integrate into your daily life. The more readily they fit into your existing routine, the more likely you are to stick to them over time.”

10 Tips To Going Green Without Going Nuts:

1. Bring your own cloth bags to the grocery store. Not only do you get to keep plastic bags out of landfills (these bags that take many, many years to biodegrade), some stores give you a 10-cent discount per bag you bring in.

2. Unplug the electronics. Even when turned off, things like hairdryers, cell-phone chargers and televisions use energy. In fact, the energy used to keep display clocks lit and memory chips working accounts for 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption.

3. Check your tires. Proper inflation can improve gas mileage by more than 3 percent and thus reduce carbon emissions.

4. Use fluorescent bulbs. Fluorescents use 60 percent less energy than a regular bulb. If every household replaced just three 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents, we would reduce as much pollution as if we took 3.5 million cars off the roads.

5. Stop using plastic water bottles. Americans use 3.3 million plastic water bottles every hour but recycle only one in five. Use reusable bottles.

6. Bring your own coffee cup.

7. Adjust the temperature. Don’t heat or cool your home when you’re not there. Move your thermostat down a bit more in winter and up a little in summer. Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling.

8. “Warm” wash. It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Start washing your clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot.

9. Install a low-flow showerhead.

10. Seek out and support local farmers’ markets. Not only is the food fresher, these markets reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you.

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