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things to do for the environment

I got the idea for this from Ben Hutchings.
A. Copy the list below to your own journal and

Bold the actions you are already taking
Underline the actions you plan to start taking
Italicize the actions that don’t apply to you

B. Add one (or more) suggested action(s) of your own

C. Leave a comment here, so that she can track the meme to your journal, and copy your suggested action(s) back to the master list.

  1. Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs
  2. Choose energy efficient appliances – I’m documenting the power consumption of my computers
  3. Wash clothes in cold(er) water – Colder than what? I suspect this is based on American machines that are controlled by mixer valves rather than using a thermostat.
  4. Turn the thermostat of your hot water tank down to 50°C (125°F) – this is a good safety measure anyway
  5. Install a programmable thermostat (or turn the heat down over night and when you’re out of the house)
  6. Register with the [Canadian Marketing Association’s] Do Not Contact Service to reduce the amount of junk mail delivered to your house. – Substitute MPS.
  7. Eat less meat (particularly feedlot beef) – For practical purposes I’m vegetarian, with occasional exceptions.
  8. Walk, bike, carpool or take public transit as often as possible – I’m writing this on the tram
  9. Make sure you know what can be recycled in your area, and try to recycle as much household waste as possible
  10. Compost using an outdoor compost bin or an indoor vermicomposter
  11. Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner
  12. Buy local, organic or fair trade food where possible
  13. Reduce air travel – pity that long-distance trains suck in Australia
  14. Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
  15. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible – don’t own a clothes dryer, hanging up clothes inside near a heater works on cold days
  16. Plant a tree – pity my trees are dying because of the drought / climate change
  17. Buy fresh foods instead of frozen
  18. Keep your car tuned up and your tires inflated to their optimal pressure – also minimise driving. I drive about 5000Km per year.
  19. Use biodegradable dishwashing liquid, laundry soap powder, etc.
  20. Drink tap water (filtered if necessary) rather than buying bottled water – remember the Benzene incident…
  21. Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth
  22. Unplug seldom-used appliances and chargers for phones, cameras, etc., when you’re not using them – the power use is small so I only do this for rarely used chargers.
  23. Plug air leeks and drafts around doors and windows with weatherstripping
  24. Switch from disposable to reusable products: food and beverage containers, cups, plates, writing pens, razors, diapers, towels, shopping bags, etc – I’ve done this for most things, could improve though.
  25. Consider garage sales, Freecycle, eBay, or borrowing from friends/family before buying a new tool or appliance – second-hand and refurbished computers are so powerful and so cheap that you don’t need to care about the environment to do this.
  26. Reuse bathwater, maybe to flush the loo, water the garden, etc.
  27. Make sure your roof is well-insulated. – I think it is, but as tenants it’s not really our choice.
  28. Always wear a jumper/sweater and socks indoors unless it’s warm enough outdoors to go without both.
  29. Run your vehicle on biofuel/sustainable fuels
  30. Set up a grey water barrel to use when clean water isn’t necessary – grey water should never be stored. It contains chemicals that are used as food for bacteria.
  31. Put grey water on your garden immediately without storing it.
  32. Install tanks to collect rain-water from your roof for watering the garden, washing your car, etc.

2 comments to things to do for the environment

  • Wilfred

    About no. 29. Biofuels compete with food production so I don’t know if it is such a good idea. Also the destruction of rain forest for plantations which produce the stuff is also an argument against using biofuels.

  • etbe

    Currently we have a massive surplus of food production capacity in all first-world countries. In Australia significant agricultural resources being mis-used (EG growing rice in water-poor countries such as Australia) and wasted (EG transporting irrigation water by canal instead of pipe).

    http://etbe.coker.com.au/2007/03/15/worse-than-fossil-fuel/

    The above blog post includes some useful calculations about using waste vegetable oil for powering vehicles in the UK (not sure how the numbers compare for Australia).

    As for destroying forests, the solution is to produce the bio-fuels locally.