10 things you can do right now to help the environment

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There is no doubt that climate change is affecting our everyday lives. From the cars we buy to the neighbourhoods we choose to live in, and even to the dish soap we use, many of our decisions are based on how we can help the environment.

If you’re not on board the clean energy express train, you may be surprised to learn the number of impacts climate change has already had on our planet.

Violent storms and extreme weather patterns, like flooding or droughts, have been wreaking havoc across the world. Dwindling water resources, such as California’s record drought and even our lack of snow on the coastal mountains, means it will be harder and more expensive to find the water we need. Pollution and changing weather patterns have desecrated our ice packs, threatened numerous ecosystems and impacted human health – but there is an opportunity to turn this around.

If you’re looking for a way to help, here are a few easy changes you can make at home, courtesy of Earth Day Canada.

1. Smart shopping

  • Buy what you need, not what you want
  • Consider renting and borrowing things that are seldom needed
  • Buy used items from garage sales and second-hand stores

2. Simple savers

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs
  • Use aerators on faucets and shower heads
  • Weatherstrip windows and doors

3. Transportation alternatives

  • Walk, cycle, car pool and use public transportation
  • When driving, reduce idling and maintain correct tire pressure
  • Consider car-sharing programs or renting

4. Food choices

  • Choose local and organic foods that are in season, and support local food producers
  • Eat less meat

5. Washing and drying

  • Wash full loads of clothes in cold water and hang to air dry

6. Heating and cooling

  • For summer air conditioning, set your thermostat to 24°C or 25°C
  • For winter heating, set your thermostat to 19°C or 20°C
  • Install ceiling fans and programmable thermostats

7. Close to home

  • Vacation, travel and work as close to home as possible

8. Bathroom basic

  • Take short showers instead of baths
  • Close water taps while brushing your teeth

9. Careful cleaning

  • Choose natural, non-toxic cleaning products
  • Make simple, natural cleaners with ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and water

10. Don’t discard

  • Donate, reuse and recycle items before throwing them into the trash
  • Carry a water bottle or reusable thermos instead of purchasing disposable coffee cups or bottled water
  • Harmful materials like chemicals, batteries and electronics should be taken to local hazardous waste depots or recyclers

 

What do you do to help the environment? Have any other tips?

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
@jillslattery

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