April has come and gone, but the highest point on the eastern seaboard is still a landfill.
North America is home to 8 percent of the world’s population yet consumes one third of its resources and produces half of its garbage. According to The Green Book, the average American family has 10,000 items in their home; worldwide it’s 127.
If we want to leave the planet in better shape than our predecessors did, we must contemplate and modify our habits to preserve our resources.
• Remember that reduce is the first R. Buying products with minimal packaging can decrease waste by 30 percent; recycling can lower it 75 percent; composting cuts 23 percent.
• Reusable bags, lunch containers and coffee mugs reduce school and office trash 50 pounds annually.
• Though 71 percent of the Earth is water, only 1 percent is drinkable. So take shorter showers and install water-saving devices.
• To save gasoline, arrange carpools, take public transportation, ride your bike and walk.
• E-banking saves gas, paper and time.
• Lowering the heat and raising the air conditioner one degree conserves enough energy to save $100 annually.
• Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than standard ones.
• Buying locally grown food reduces transportation costs and air pollution—and helps our economy.
• Since each cow produces 100 gallons of the greenhouse gas methane every day (which is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide and comparable to the pollution of a car) and requires 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound beef, eliminating two pounds of beef impacts global warming and conserves enough water for a five-minute shower every day for a year.
So what are you waiting for? If we each do a little every day, we can make a world of difference.