Overwhelmed by 99 probs?

10 ways to be nice to our planet

In sharp contrast to my typical devil-may-care ‘tude (“Dream on, Ashley”), I’m gonna get a little heavy here. The world’s got >99 problems. There’s no way around it. Sustainable development, climate change, poverty, species extinction, energy security…the swarm of social, political, economic, and environmental issues can get a little overwhelming. What’s more distressing is the feeling that we are powerless to do anything, that individual action would be ineffectual, that no one is actually capable of making a meaningful difference. That’s a little scary. But you know what? I don’t think that’s an accurate representation of our capability and willingness to force change. I mean, nobody can do everything, BUT everyone can do something. And small steps can make great strides. “If you think you’re too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito” (Betty Reese).

So to get the ball rolling, I thought I’d brainstorm a few easy, painless ways we can all (all!) help out:

1) Recycle, including old electronics (no explanation needed).
2) Buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging waste.
3) Unplug electronics when you’re not using them to kill standby/phantom power.
4) Use reusable drinking containers, instead of disposable coffee cups and plastic water bottles.
5) Turn off the lights when you leave a room to reduce energy use.
6) Don’t take 10 minute showers – consider cutting your shower short by a few minutes to conserve water.
7) Lower your home thermostats, including water heater, to conserve energy.
8) Buy energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs to save energy.
9) Use a reusable rag or towel, instead of napkins and paper towels.
10) Use reusable lunch bags and shopping bags to cut down on paper and plastic.

Obviously, there are a ton of other ways to help our planet, so we’d love to hear your suggestions. A good idea goes a long way, so have at it! @murfiemusic

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