Environmental Studies PHS 100A
Warner Pacific College
June 30, 2011
Do Your Part: Environmental Responsibility
Can one person make a difference in lowering our carbon foot print? Each person has a responsibility to do his or her part to prevent further damage to the environment. There are many ways to accomplish this task; some simple, other changes may be a little more difficult. If every person changes behavior in a few ways, much will be saved. Each person can make a huge difference.
Walking through the house and turning off unused lights saves on a person’s electric bill each month. Changing light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs will also save in the long run. The energy efficient bulbs are slightly more expensive, but will save on how much is spent each month in payments to the electric company. A statement in article on the internet from the Environmental Protection Agency says, “if every American home replaced just one conventional light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes a year” (EPA, Green tips, 2011). Imagine 3 million homes, for a year, from just changing a light bulb.
An average person may also save approximately ten percent of their electric bill by decreasing what the power companies call phantom energy. Phantom energy is lost by leaving appliances plugged in at all times. A suggestion to lower the cost of the electricity would be to bundle the television, DVD player, DVR recorder, or computer, monitor and printer into one power strip and then turn the power strip off when not in use. Chargers for power tools, cell phones, and digital cameras are also a drain on the power because the chargers are often left plugged in even when not charging the objects. The chargers continue to draw electricity, standing ready to charge whatever is to be attached.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages the purchase of renewable “Green” electricity. The purchase of renewable energy lessens the reliance on fossil fuel. The EPA also recommends the purchase of Energy Star appliances. The cost of a new appliance is less overall than running a ten year old refrigerator for six months.
Another way a person would be able to take responsibility for the environment is to conserve water. One obvious way to conserve water is to not rinse dishes prior to placing them in the dishwasher and only run the dishwasher when it is full. Some newer dishwashers only use approximately four gallons per load.
The purchase of water saving fixtures conserves waters helps tremendously. Taking a five minute shower uses approximately ten to twenty-five gallons; whereas taking filling the bath tub requires approximately seventy gallons of water. Choosing the appropriate setting on the washing machine also conserves water and energy. Newer washing machines use approximately twenty- eight gallons compared to the forty gallons of an older washing machine.
Reduce, reuse, recycle is a phrase that has caught on with many people. Composting has been used for many years in a variety of ways. Food scraps will make good fertilizer saving money on the purchase of package fertilizer. Grass left on the newly cut lawn will decompose back into the lawn, helps against the bagging of the clippings. The process of reducing the amount of trash that by individual household generates by encouraging people to buy items that will with stand vigorous usage, mend or repair items such as clothing, shoes and appliances.
The use of reusable shopping bags assists in cutting back on the waste of plastic or paper bags distributed at the local markets. Some retailers encourage the use of the bags by reducing the overall cost of the groceries by a few cents per reusable bag. Other retailers charge the consumer a few cents per non-renewable bag he or she uses.
The EPA recommends being creative with egg and ice cream containers, suggesting them as seed starters or planters. Looking for containers with the symbol of recycling may take a few moments longer or even possibly cost slightly more, but it helps the environment tremendously.
Walking when we have the opportunity will not only save on the cost of gasoline, but it will also lower air pollution. Using public transportation cuts back on the pollution, saves on gas and “Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,600 pounds per year” (EPA, Green tips, 2011). Combining trips or errands so the car leaves the garage fewer times is another way to lower pollution.
There are many ways for an individual to make a difference. God supplied a beautiful earth. Each and every person has a responsibility to do what they can to help the environment and maintain the beauty. If an individual did just one or two of these suggestions there would be an impact for good on the environment. These suggestions are not difficult and many are very simple.
Do your part. Choose one or two and make a change.
Withgott, J., & Bennan, S. (2011). Environment: the science behind the stories (4th ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/21/save-energy-by-unplugging_n_136625.html Retrieved 6-22-11
http://www.epa.gov/earthday/tips.htm Retrieved 6-22-11