With news of ice sheets gradually melting, global temperature and sea levels rising, and extreme weather phenomena like intense rainfall and hurricanes, one cannot deny that Mother Earth is indeed suffering from climate change.
We might not be aware of it, but everyone is contributing to this phenomenon through our carbon footprint. Carbon footprint refers to the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions produced in relation to any human activity, and is expressed in tons of carbon dioxide.
Simply put, it is a measurement of the environmental impact of an individual’s lifestyle or an organization’s operation. The problem lies in the increasing emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are trapped in the atmosphere, and have adverse effects on the Earth’s temperature.
So, our lifestyle choices add up to our carbon footprint. Even the simplest activity such as choosing your outfit of the day can already increase carbon footprint.
If you are going to backtrack on the production of your clothing, and measure the greenhouse gas emission produced in manufacturing it up until it landed on your wardrobe, you will gain a better understanding of how we contribute indirectly to climate change.
Since we are all involved in this, know that we can also contribute in the battle against global warming and climate change. Here ten small things that you can do to help save Mother Earth.
- Rethink your mode of transportation.
More and more cities are taking into account walkability and cyclability in roads when it comes to urban and infrastructure planning. This is very much welcome since these activities reduce carbon footprint. Plus, walking and biking are great forms of exercises, so you get to improve your health while saving the Earth at the same time!
If you cannot avoid using your vehicle, plan your trips and errands so you can combine them in a single trip. You can also opt for carpooling to save gas fees.
- Conserve water.
Climate change is affecting even our water sources. Did you know that an estimated 2.7 billion people experience water scarcity for at least a month every year? Furthermore, according to the World Wildlife Fund, by 2025, water shortage will be a problem experienced by two-thirds of the world’s population.
To help in water conservation, make sure to turn off faucets and showers every after use. In case of leaking pipes, fix it immediately to prevent more water wastage. Make every water drop count.
- Choose organic.
Eat wisely and do the Earth and your health a favor. Buy locally grown, organic food items as much as you can. It is even recommendable to grow some of your food because even the transport and storage of food contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reduce energy use.
All appliances consume energy. The simplest way to reduce energy consumption is to switch off the lights. Turn off and unplug television, cable boxes, game consoles, and computers when not in use. You can also opt to switch your light bulbs to LEDs since they use less energy while still delivering the same amount of light.
- Recycle stuff.
Recycling is a key component of waste reduction that can help in limiting greenhouse gas emission.
When purchasing stuff, choose those that are packaged in recyclable materials, such as glass jars and cans. Also, it is recommendable to buy products that are eco-friendly and utilized recycled packaging materials.
Make recycling a habit in your household. For instance, you can re-use plastic bags to pack small items, or use glass jars as containers for smaller household items. Segregate aluminum cans, steel cans, newspapers, magazines, plastic bottles and other recyclables. You can bring them to local recycling facilities, and earn a small amount of money in return.
- Repurpose and upcycle.
Don’t throw everything away just yet! Sort out your stuff, and see if you can salvage anything through repurposing and upcycling.
Don’t know what to do with tissue paper rolls? You can actually turn them into cable organizers. You can also upcycle an old tire into an ottoman. There are a lot of do-it-yourself tutorials in Pinterest that can serve as an inspiration to find another use for an item. Not only do you save money, keep your home organized and newly-decorated, you reduce waste and energy in recycling these stuff.
For gently used clothes that no longer have that “spark” for you, charity institutions are always welcome for donations.
- Forget about the dryer.
16 million tons of carbon dioxide – would you believe that that’s the volume of carbon dioxide emission coming from clothes dryer alone in U.S. homes? Imagine its effect on the global temperature, and how it contributes to climate change.
If you’re doing your own laundry, maybe it’s time to rethink about how you dry your clothes. Switch to air drying if you can. Not only does it reduce energy consumption, which means more savings for your pocket, but air drying also causes less wear and strain your clothing.
- Buy high efficiency appliances.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program has made it easier for you to help in caring for the environment. All you need to do is simply choose to buy electronic products labeled with ENERGY STAR. These products promote energy efficiency as they utilize up to 40 percent less energy than other models.
- Go green in terms of power.
Check with your electricity supplier if you can choose a renewable source of energy such as geothermal or hydroelectric sources. If you can, installing solar panels in your home is also a good alternative.
- Close up holes in your home.
Seal in cracks in your home, and make sure there are no gaps in windows and doors. This way, you can ensure that the heat stays inside your house regardless of the season. You can also buy a programmable thermostat, which adjusts temperature each day, and reduces energy consumption by 20-30 percent.
Stacey Marone is a freelance writer. She is fascinated with traveling, exploring new cultures, languages and people. Her hobby is to gather interesting facts and stories and she gladly shares them with everybody.
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!