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Go Green for a More Sustainable Planet

Six Practical Ways to Treat Mother Earth a Little Better. Some of These Tips Are Easy on the Wallet, Too.

Article by Kimberly Blaker

Photography by Stephen Neilson and Provided

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

Despite heroic efforts in the fight against climate change, trends aren't slowing. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported last year that “the physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating, as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels.”

According to WMO, one of the key indicators of global warming includes a record-breaking sea-level rise. Also, there's been a warming trend that's lasted for 20 years with "exceptionally high land and ocean temperatures over the past four years." We've seen roughly a 12% rise in carbon dioxide levels just since 1994, according to the 2018 WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate.

But global warming isn't our only threat. Scientists have also long warned us of the decline in our natural world with one million animal and plant species at risk of extinction. 

During the warmer months, we contribute to global warming and damage to our planet in ways that differ from colder seasons. The good news is that when warmer weather arrives in SW Lake Co. it’s the perfect time to implement some sustainable personal strategies.

Not only are these habits better for the planet, but most are better for your wallet, too. Resolve to implement the following go-green tips this year.

Transportation: Make nearby errands or visiting family and friends a part of your exercise regimen. Walk or ride a bike. For more distant treks, use public transportation if possible.

Electricity: Run heat-producing appliances such as the dishwasher, oven and dryer at night to reduce air conditioning use. When the weather cooperates dry your clothes in the fresh air.

Keep summer heat out of your home by closing window coverings where direct sunlight comes in. This will reduce the need for air conditioning. Then open window coverings away from the sun to allow light into your home.

Turn up the AC a few degrees. At night, use a fan in bedrooms. That way, air conditioning can be set at a higher temperature and you'll still sleep comfortably.

Water: During the summer cut back on watering your lawn—or better yet, eliminate it altogether. When you do water, do it only after dusk. This will maximize your yard and plants' ability to use the water, therefore reducing the amount and frequency of watering needed.

Another option is to plant large areas of ground cover. Many of these plants don't require water other than rainfall. Research drought-tolerant plants, too.

Shop local: Farmers' markets are great for buying locally grown fruits and veggies. By doing so, you reduce the use of fossil fuels and pollution that results from products shipped to stores over great distances. Another option is to plant a backyard garden or participate in a nearby co-op garden.

Buy used: Garage sales and flea markets abound throughout the warmer months. You reduce both your and others' impact to the planet by buying and using goods that would otherwise fill up our landfills.

Chemicals: During warmer seasons, many folks use a variety of chemicals to treat lawns and plants, on top of pesticides to protect against mosquitos. Look for green products that don't negatively impact our environment or the people and wildlife around us.

About the Author: Kimberly Blaker is a freelance lifestyle writer.

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