Perhaps the previous generations haven’t been too kind to you guys. We’ve wasted, we’ve polluted, and we’ve ravaged our home planet’s climate. Facing the hottest temperatures ever on record just this year, the threat of climate change and the disastrous fallout that would come from it is very real. But not all hope is lost. Your generation is inheriting this planet. Despite the mess previous generations may have left it in, there’s still a lot you can do individually and collectively as a generation to help out and reduce waste. Your planet thanks you.
1. Use Laptops, Not Desktops
It sounds silly, but laptops on average use about 80% less energy than desktops, according to reports by Energy Star. If you really want to help out with the environment, the smaller the better. A smartphone can cost as little as $1.50 per year in electrical costs, while a desktop PC can cost up to $600 a year! That’s a huge difference in energy use! Luckily, this is something you’re probably already doing, so keep it up and our planet will be in better shape.
2. Recycle, recycle, recycle!
Recycling really is important for the environment. Why? Well, less waste means less creation of products that harm the environment, such as plastics. If we just keep reusing the ones we have, we won’t have to make more and more and more. Harmful gases are released as waste decomposes in landfills, and those chemicals have a severely negative impact on our environment.
If you can’t recycle it, repurpose it. Take those plastic bags from your shopping and use them as garbage bags or bags to pick up animal waste instead of buying them from the store. Often these bags aren’t recycled by the government, so you need to do it yourself.
Be creative guys! There are also a ton of websites out there as well that will show you how to make useful or cool things out of materials you would usually throw out!
3. Carpooling leads to cleaner air
Emissions from cars are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases emitted into our atmosphere. As you enter your driving years, consider taking turns carpooling to school or work with your friends or co-workers. By carpooling, assuming everyone was going to drive separately anyway, you can cut emissions down to a fraction of what they would have been. You’ll also get to engage in some great companionship before the drudge of the day starts, so that’s a bonus. So grab a friend or three and jump into that carpool lane. The planet will thank you.
4. If you don’t need it, turn it off
If you aren’t using it, turn it off! It’s amazing how many people leave lights on in rooms they aren’t using or leave TVs on when they go out. That adds up people! The U.S. Department of Energy recommends shutting off the lights in any given room if you’ll be out for more than 15 minutes. Lights waste a lot of energy, especially incandescent bulbs, which give off about 90% of energy as heat and only 10% as light.
Bigger things like air conditioning we often don’t think about, but if you leave it running all day, you’ll use 317% more energy compared to those who turn it off. If you can, set your A/C to kick on about an hour before you get home. You’ll save money, and you’ll still be cool when you get home.
Get to it
The time is now. Get out there and spread the word. Make sure you follow the plan as well. If you’re still living at home, sit down with your family and work out a green plan for your household. Your parents will thank you when they see their energy bills, and you’ll know you’re contributing to a better future for yourself and future generations.
Contributed by Nick Bartholomew