Recognizing the untold power of millions of individual actions, the Earth Day Network‘s “A Billion Acts of Green®” 2011 campaign is organized around building corporate, governmental and individual commitments to living and acting sustainably.
Their goal is to register one billion actions prior to the 2012 Earth Summit taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 4th – 6th. As of the writing of this article, their electronic “tote board” was at 80,467,905 acts and counting… an impressive 3 million acts more than at our last check just 3 days ago.
A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with the First Step. ~Lao-Tzu
Feeling overwhelmed by the countless different ways and areas in which to reduce the size of your environmental footprint is not uncommon in today’s information age (Read: information overload!). If you’re in a life situation that permits full-blown, committed activism, by all means, dive in head first… the world desperately needs you!
Regardless of our particular level of commitment to sustainable living, however, most of us are left having to choose which actions we can [practically] insert into our already mind-boggling schedules. We’re committed to making as big a difference as possible, but often feel as though we’re “under achievers” when it comes to green living.
So, how CAN we possibly do more when there are only so many hours in a day? The answer, dear reader is…
How to Get the Biggest Bang from Your Eco-Friendly Action Investment
“Give me a fulcrum and I shall move the world.” ~Archimedes
Whether you’re just beginning to become environmentally conscious or you’ve been green for a while, you might be surprised to learn that the biggest-impact actions are often the simplest, least time-consuming and least expensive you can take.
We’ve prepared two high-impact action step lists for you below. The first are actions the In The Loop team recommends during the process of a new-home search when touring properties. The second is a list of actions that can be applied in your current residence.
I. New Home Search Eco-Friendly Checklist:
1. Check to see if toilets have low-flow, water-conserving tanks.
2. Check toilets to see if the water keeps running between flushes.
3. Check shower heads for leaks and find out if they have a water-conserving device installed.
4. Check the state of the weather stripping around doors and windows.
5. Check the state of the caulking and sealant in baths.
6. Check indoor (and outdoor, if applicable) faucets for leaks.
7. Find out what kind of windows are installed (double-pane, tinted, etc.)
A “good” landlord will go out of his/her way to address any water leaks or weather-stripping problems as they are all very low-cost fixes, but fixes that could potentially save thousands of gallons of wasted water, and extreme wastes of heating/cooling energy… not to mention the out-of-pocket cost to you as the one having to pay the bills!
II. Current Home Eco-Friendly Checklist:
1. Do all of the items on the previous checklist and if there are problems, fix them immediately.
2. Replace all incandescent bulbs with either compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED lamps/bulbs. This requires a bit of an upfront expense, but affords a huge ROI, both environmentally and economically.
3. Fill an empty 1/2-gallon plastic bottle with water and put the cap on it, making sure it’s tightly-sealed. Flush your toilet and when the tank is almost empty, place the bottle in the bottom of the tank. Even if you have low-flow toilets, you’ll save an additional 1/2 gallon of water every time you flush.
RECYCLE: All of your trash/disposable items; recycle paper and use recyclable paper and plastics; if you take used printer cartridges to Office Depot, they’ll give you credit points that can be used against your next purchase.
REUSE: Donate unwanted computers, office equipment, phones/cell phones and other electronic equipment, furniture, household appliances, decorative items, lamps/lighting, clothing, shoes and even eyeglasses to local churches and other charitable organizations who can either pass them on to people in need or use these items themselves!
BUY ECO-FRIENDLY: Whatever you’re purchasing, whether food or non-food products, make a point to buy products comprised of natural / organic materials whenever possible.
Celebrate Mother Earth!
The official date of Earth Day 2011 is April 22nd, and there are parties and celebrations aplenty throughout Houston’s Inner Loop neighborhoods… both leading up to and actually on Earth Day. If you’d like the low down on these exciting events (and a whole lot more Inner Loop dish), sign up for the In The Loop Scoop!
The In The Loop Team
PROUD CO-SPONSORS OF 103.7 FM’s 2011 Earth Days Celebration