There Is No Planet B – How to Cut Your Energy Costs
Climate change has never been more top of mind that it is now.
Up to now, the tone of the conversation has been emotionally charged with anger and frustration. Rarely do you hear any hints of hope, or even pride, about the steps that millions of individuals across the globe are doing to stop climate change.
So, in honor of today’s National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, we’ll share what you can do to as an individual reduce your carbon footprint (and save a few bucks in the process). The difference that you can make is bigger than you think.
But First, what is Your Carbon Footprint, and do You Know What Yours Is?
Each person’s carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas that they produce (or are responsible for creating). It’s believed that the average annual carbon footprint in the US is 18.3 tons per person, but we need to be at an average of 1.87 tons to keep global warming at bay. We’ve got a lot of work to do!
You already know that you should switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs and appliances, reset your thermostat so that it doesn’t have to work so hard (especially when you’re not home, or you’re asleep), and winterize your home with weather-stripping. While these actions are important and will reduce your energy bill, there’s even more that you can do.
What You Can Do Today to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The average monthly electric bill is $111.67, and that’s expected to rise. Depending on where you live, the rate hikes could be dramatic. We’ll share tips on how to cut your electric bill and save money by reducing your dependence on energy overall.
- Unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Laptops, cable boxes, and Internet routers all consume power, even if they’re off! If your computer is fully charged, unplug it. When you go to bed at night, consider disconnecting your router.
- Eat a diet that’s more plant-based than animal-based. Livestock is responsible for 14.5% of human-made greenhouse gas emissions. By switching to a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and healthy grains, you can have an immediate impact on the health of the planet. If you eat primarily raw food, you’ll save several dollars each month by limiting how often you use your oven and stove.
- Avoid fast fashion. Did you know that the average American gets rid of 80 pounds of clothing per year? The vast majority ends up in landfills. Clothing is a very resource-intensive item to produce, and it’s a major environmental pollutant. Not to mention the fact that most of today’s textiles come from overseas, adding to the fossil fuel load. Instead, buy clothing from local manufacturers, or choose vintage or recycled clothing. Your wallet and the planet will thank you!
- Ditch plastic whenever you can. Plastic is a petroleum product made from fossil fuels, the most egregious violator of our planet’s well-being. There are plastic bags made from plant materials, which are a better choice, but the best option is to get rid of plastic altogether. Bring reusable totes to the supermarket, use cotton bags for storage, and switch out your Ziploc bags for reusable beeswax wrappers. While this won’t have an immediate effect on your electric bill, you’ll save money on the bag fees that some states are charging.
- Switch your home to an alternative energy source and instantly reduce your carbon footprint by 15%. You don’t have to install solar panels or fill your backyard with windmills to use solar energy. A new initiative allows you to buy clean power directly from your energy provider. Depending on the utility, you can purchase solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and more. About 50% of the US population is eligible for this renewable energy source. You can contact your local utility company to find out if you’re eligible.
- Vote with your dollars for the change you want to see in the world. Support companies that are environmentally responsible. By giving our money to companies that do the right thing, we can not only encourage better behavior, but we can also begin to phase out corporations that refuse to be good citizens.
The task of turning climate change around and saving the planet is a daunting one. As an individual, we might think our contributions are minor, but we can make a significant difference, especially if we band together and make this a global team effort.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” – Edward Evert Hale