Did you know that of the total energy consumed in America, about 39% is used to generate electricity. Therefore, electricity consumption is an important portion of a consumer's environmental footprint? And that higher atmospheric temperatures can lead to climate change with undesirable consequences like changes in rainfall patterns, a rise in sea levels from melting polar ice and glaciers, and other negative impacts on plants, wildlife and us? We can help prevent this by checking every appliance in the house and if it’s not being used it should be switched off at the wall. This alone could save 13% off your electricity bill.
Buying fluorescent, energy-efficient lightbulbs.
Opening a kitchen window instead of turning on the extractor fan above the stove.
If the thermostat is near a window shut it because if it's cold outside and you want to turn the heat up if the thermostat is near a window it will become cold and won't display the correct temperature.
Put on a jumper or a pair of tracksuit pants instead of turning up the heating or taking some layers off (not all of them though) instead of turning up the air con.
Getting an electric/mechanical mower instead of a petrol mower.
Fumes called greenhouse gases are created by petrol, electricity and some other sources. They surround the earth so the suns rays cannot get out and heat the earth. One of the main greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide. Trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide. So if there were 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999, 999 x 9,999 trees over the earth they would probably absorb about 99.99% of the carbon dioxide so the earth would be bearably cool for longer (I'm just guessing on this one). Also, if we plant plants native to Australia (if you live in Australia) they will not spread too rapidly or take over our eco system. Here are some ways to do this:
If you're planting, choose plants that will provide food and/or shelter for wildlife.
Reject plants that will ruin the well being of other plants, non-native plants and plants imported from overseas.
Research which trees will grow well in the area of planting.
Visit www.florafauna.com.au or www.naturallyntaive.co.nz/ for info on appropriate native plants.
Here are some examples of endangered species.
Blue Whale - Early 20th century whaling technology made the blue whale the main whaling target. Current threats include collision with vessels and entanglement in fishing gear.
Moon Bear – Moon bears are threatened by hunting (their gall bladders are used in traditional medicines) habitat loss and human settlement.
Chimpanzees - Chimpanzees are threatened by habitat loss due to logging, mining etc. Poaching of chimpanzees for meat is a threat everywhere.
We can save these amazing creatures by doing a few simple things like:
Getting chooks or other birds*.
Cutting up 6 pack holders before disposing of them.
Separating the ring pulls from cans and crushing the cans before disposing of them.
*CHOOKS need a home or coop that is clean, sturdy & spacious.Cover the floor of the coop with a deep layer of wood, shavings, leaves & soil. Clean this out regularly. Feed the chooks leftovers & seed mix. Give them fresh water, shade & access to dirt. Only buy vaccinated chooks & worm them every 3-6 months. Check with the local council for exact regulations.
BIRDS need something to use as a bath. Put out an old tray/large pottery bowl, fill with clean water.
Each year, the people of Australia send 18 million tons of waste to landfill - the equivalent of 1 ton for nearly every man, woman and child. This explains why Australians are the second highest producers of waste behind the U.S.A. On Clean Up Australia Day in 1999, 12,500 tons of litter was collected by volunteers. If we didn't litter and disposed of our rubbish properly we wouldn't need Clean Up Day! But, the world hasn't ended yet, so we can help by taking these actions:
Steering clear of individual packaged objects in plastic wrapping.
Giving and asking for a trip to the footy or the movies instead of a plastic present that you'll throw away.
Recycling glass bottles and jars but removing the lids and rinsing them before disposing of them.
Always printing and writing on both sides of the paper.
Trying to buy things made from recycled materials.
Trying to eat in cafes and restaurants where you eat on china plates, not paper ones.
Not overdoing soft drinks.
Writing a list of all things we can recycle.
Using scraps for shopping lists.
Buying as many books as we can from markets/second hand shops.
Threading popcorn and peanut shells for Christmas decorations. Decorating your home with native flowers instead of tinsel or streamers. But, remember to compost it all afterwards.
**AT YOUR LOCAL RECYCLING CENTRE-Find out which materials are recycled in your area.
Here are some scary facts about food miles, the miles that our food has to travel to arrive in our fridges.
“Road miles" account for proportionately more environmental damage than "air miles".
The price of food is disguising externalised costs - damage to the environment, damage to climate, damage to infrastructure and the cost of transporting food on roads.
If all foods were sourced from within 20km of where they were consumed, environmental and congestion costs would fall from more than £2.3bn to under £230m - an "environmental saving" of £2.1bn annually.
But these things don't have to happen, and they won't if we all:
Buy loose fruit & veg.
Make sure our shopping lists only include things we need.
Always check the country of origin on the labels of food.
Buy food grown locally.
Eat foods in season in Australia, or whatever country you live in.
Join a local organic fruit & veg box scheme.
Make our own fruit and veg juice instead of buying it ready made.
Research greener ways deal with pests. E.g. spray aphids with water. Pull weeds by hand.
Instead of putting down poison for rodents, block any holes they could get through.
Put screens on windows & doors.
Get planting. Look at which trees will grow good in the area. Apple & tomato seeds in a pot are a good start.
Don’t buy furniture made from hardwood.
Use pesticides sparingly and dispose of them carefully so they don't contaminate the soil.
An average African uses about 5.7 litres a day. Your average dishwasher uses about 38 litres. One car wash can go through 300 to 530 litres of water, whereas a wash at one of its garages will take about 115 to 170 litres. Cannonballs aside, a swimming pool naturally loses about 3,785 litres a month due to evaporation. The water sprinklers that keep the turf lush and the flowers blooming can consume up to 1,000 litres an hour. But we can:
Use a watering can not a hose.
Never leave taps running.
Repair dripping taps.
If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down. (Don't even half flush if you pee, but if you poop it's necessary)
Use the half flush button.
Have 4 minute showers.
Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day. 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty. And, just to make it worse, they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.” Great words from UNICEF. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. Here's info on sponsoring a child.
If you sponsor a child through Childfund you will receive:
letters from your sponsored child;
a photo of your child and their profile;
information about the projects being carried out in their community; and
your sponsor handbook.
Throughout the year, we keep you in touch with:
a postcard to introduce yourself to your sponsored child;
a fun letter writing kit;
a progress report about your child;
Childworld, our sponsor newsletter;
ChildFund Australia's annual report.
Visit their website for details.
Please tell me what you think!