seriously, what a great opportunity to take some time and figure out how you can minimize your impact on the Earth. Calculate your footprint HERE.
this blog purports to help you with which choices actually are greener, and which are really red herrings in the whole 'save the planet' gig. quote
Don't stress about these three classic choices because they don't make much of a difference:
- Cloth or disposable diapers? All diapers have an environmental impact. Disposable diapers are often bleached with chlorine (a highly polluting process) and ultimately end up clogging landfills. Cloth diapers are typically made from conventional cotton and require energy, water, and (sometimes) harsh detergents to wash them. There are greener alternatives, such as organic cotton cloth diapers and disposables that forgo the chlorine bleach, but in general, one choice is not better than the other so pick what's convenient for you.
- Paper or plastic bag? Like diapers, it's a toss up. Producing paper bags is energy and water intensive. Plastic bags are made from oil and can harm wildlife when they make their way into large bodies of water. Unlike diapers, there's another choice you can make: Carry your own reusable bag when you can. Not your thing? Reuse or recycle that bag when you're done with it and move onto something else.
- Disposable cup or ceramic mug? It's not a "major sin against the environment to use an occasional paper or plastic cup," according to The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice From the Union of Concerned Scientists. The group says throwaway cups take up little space in landfills and don't require much energy to make. But, it says, you shouldn't be wasteful just because a "few dozen (or even a couple of hundred) disposable cups a year will have little environmental impact." The upshot? Use that mug when you can (especially at work or home), but don't feel guilty when you can't.
Instead, focus your time and energy on these more important actions which will benefit the planet and save you money:
- Eat less meat. Raising livestock is one of the most significant contributors to a long list of environmental problems from climate change to deforestation to water pollution. No one is suggesting you go vegan, but anything you can do to cut back on meat will make a big difference. Start by trimming down your portion size to about three ounces (the size of a deck of playing cards), suggests Aaron Huertas at The Union of Concerned Scientists.
- Take good care of your car. Tuning up your engine, replacing your air filters and motor oil regularly, and keeping your tires properly inflated will improve your car's fuel economy by 8% to 20%, according to Jenny Powers at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
- Make changes in how you do your laundry. Wash your clothes in cold water. Up to 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothing goes to heating water, according to the Department of Energy. Rack up even more savings by air-drying some of your clothing.