Now that the release of my book “Achieving Victory Over a Toxic World” is only a month away, I thought it’s time to start giving my readers tips on how you can make a difference when it comes to our environment. We tend to think that our footprint compared to big companies and governments are so small that any change we make is miniscule. Furthermore, so many of the books out there remind us that if ¼ of the population were to do something (like change from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs), the environment would improve greatly. This is nice in the abstract but how does this excite me to make a difference. My thought is that it doesn’t matter what everyone else does until you do it yourself.
If you can put your head on your pillow tonight knowing that you did something, even something very small, to lower your environmental footprint, then you will have helped save our planet.
My blog for the next few weeks will focus on tips of ways you and your family can make a difference. No need to do them all; pick a few that you feel you can accomplish and those that pertain to your life. I will be posting those things my family and I will be doing to change our habits to be better stewards of our environment. Together we can and will change this world.
Tip #1 – If you can’t lower your travel, offset your carbon dioxide (CO2) emission by going to the CarbonFund website and make a donation. They have calculators to show how much your travels generate greenhouse gases and what it would cost to offset them. An example is how much my car, a 2003 Saturn Vue would cost to offset for one year. I travel about 15,000 miles a year and to offset the 6.34 tons of CO2 it cost me $34.85 to offset that (My Prius only cost me $13.31). This money goes towards projects that will counter my polluting ways. My next car will be one that is about 20% more efficient than the Vue which is another way to lower my footprint.
Tip #2 – Automate your bill paying. Bills are never fun to pay but paying them online instead of via the mail reduces paper waste, lowers the gas needed to transport the payment and lowers postage costs. My family has been doing this for a few years now and it is much more efficient than the old paper way.
Tip #3 – Cook your meals from scratch. Stop buying pre-packaged foods that are a waste of material, energy hogs (creation of the product to the containers), and is infinitely healthier for you. My two daughters go to a Montessori school and they don’t allow pre-packaged foods to be used for their lunches which I believe is a great thing. The amount of time it takes to make a real meal versus a pre-packaged one is small. Make dinner creation a family event. It will bring you closer and will be good for your health and the health of our world.
Tip #4 – Don’t buy bottled water. Ugh, this one annoys me to no end. Fiji Water could be the worst. Imagine the amount of energy it takes to transport the bottling material from China to Fiji, then to pump the water up to the bottling plant and then shipping it to the US? Sound ridiculous to you? Does to me. I once wrote about this on my blog to show the insanity of buying bottled water. Get a glass or stainless steel container and bottle your own tap water (use a filter if you need to). It’s smart, environmentally right and you will save a bundle of money (remember, bottled water costs around $9.00 a gallon, tap is about .03¢).
Tip #5 – Stop using bleach. There are a number of alternatives and here is an easy one. Instead of using bleach tablets to keep your toilet clean, mix a cup of borax, mix in some vinegar (just a teaspoon should do) and leave overnight. Scrub in the morning and your porcelain is clean as can be and non-toxic. Guess what the Schauss family will be doing today?
The next few weeks I will be sharing lots more of these tips and then I will be uploading a tracker spreadsheet to help you see what kind of an impact you are having. It could become a fun, family affair or you can make it a neighborhood challenge to see who can make the biggest difference.