What can individual consumers do to help slow down global warming and reduce carbon dioxide?
We can help in various ways – outdoors as well as at home – by using “smart green technology” and by adapting new green habits and attitudes.
At work and in the home environment, for example, having a few tree planted around the house and even planting a garden in the backyard is a slow but sure way to contribute to the efforts of reducing carbon dioxide. Using public transportation whenever possible, forming car pools, and switching to a hybrid electric vehicle are some other good ways.
It is definitely possible with collective cooperation as well as with individual actions to join in the task of solving the issue of carbon emissions. Each and every one of us can do a lot without spending money. Here are a few little things we can do at our home sweet home.
Energy savings is the key and is something that everyone can do in order to fight the global warming phenomenon. Installing a programmable thermostat is a practical way to act on the issue. Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. You may not know it but almost half of the energy we use at our homes goes to heating and cooling. By using a programmable thermostat you could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and it’s a simple adjustment to make. It may cost you a little now but you save a lot of money in the long term.
Take a shower instead of a bath. A shower takes up to four times less energy than a bath. To maximize the energy savings it is also advisable to use low-flow showerheads, which are cheap and provide the same comfort. In addition, since it takes a lot of energy to heat water, by installing a low-flow showerhead you save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
When purchasing new appliances, choose energy efficient products. Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most energy efficient items available. And while you are at it, replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb. This can save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Apropos electrical appliances, it’s a good practice not to leave appliances on standby. Use the “on/off” function on the machine itself. Consider this very interesting fact: a TV set that’s switched on for 3 hours a day (the average time Europeans spend watching TV) and left in standby mode during the remaining 21 hours uses about 40% of its energy in standby mode.
Don’t let heat escape from your house over a long period. When airing out your house, open the windows for only a few minutes. If you leave a small opening all day long, the energy needed to keep it warm inside during the six coldest months (10ºC or less outside temperature) would result in almost 1 ton of CO2 emissions. Replacing your old single-glazed windows with double-glazing can also be a good way to keep it warm inside. However, this requires a bit of upfront investment, but will save the energy lost through windows and pay off in the long term.
In conclusion, global warming is a dramatically urgent and serious problem. We don’t need to wait for governments to find a solution for this problem. Each individual can make an important difference by adopting a more responsible lifestyle, starting with little, everyday things. It’s the only reasonable way to save our planet before it is too late. We all need to take personal responsibility by doing what we can in our homes and in our personal lives.