Changes in normal levels of heat, cold, rain, and wind are known as climate change. Using fossil fuels such as crude oil, natural gas, or coal affects our climate. That’s because burning these fuels disturbs the balance of greenhouse gases in our earth’s atmosphere (gas envelope that covers the earth). Follow one or more of these tips to reduce climate change.
1. Change your light bulbs. Use CFL (compact fluorescent light) or LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs. Both use at least 75% less energy than regular bulbs and last much longer. If 20 million light bulbs were changed to CFLs, we could all save more than $118 million in energy costs. It would also prevent releasing greenhouse gases equal to that of more than 150,000 cars each year. Greenhouse gases change our earth’s temperature. You can buy CFLs and LEDs at your local hardware or discount stores.
2. Make less trash—reduce, reuse, recycle. Use reusable products instead of things you throw away. Make sure to recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass, and aluminum cans. Recycling... • A soda can uses less energy than making a new one. The energy you save could power your television for three hours. • Saves families up to $22 a month if they take items to their local recycling center.
3. Use less water. Most people in LA County use 123 gallons of water a day. Most families pay $51 per month for water. Use these tips to save water and money: • Take showers instead of baths. A four-minute shower uses 20-40 gallons of water. A bath uses more than double that amount of water. • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. You’ll save up to 200 gallons a month. • Make sure your toilet works. Almost all high water bills are due to a leaky or running toilet. Think about installing a water-saving toilet. It can save up to $110 in costs and 13,000 gallons of water each year.
4. Keep your home at the right temperature. More than half of all the energy we use in our homes comes from heating and cooling. You can save 10-15% on your energy bill if you set your thermostat to 68˚F in winter and 78˚F in summer. This will also help one home make 2,000 pounds less carbon dioxide each year. This gas is made when we burn fossils fuels, like natural gas, coal, and crude oil. Carbon dioxide is one of the main gases that change our earth’s temperature.
5. Walk and bike more. Leave your car at home two days a week. This will lower the amount of greenhouse gases we release by about two tons each year. Walking and biking also helps keep you healthy. California spends about $34 billion each year in medical costs for heart disease, obesity, and other diseases that come from people being overweight and not exercising enough.
6. Drive less to work. The American Automobile Association (AAA) found that a 40-mile round trip commute costs an average of… • $22.08 per day • $463.68 per month • $5,564.16 per year
7. Buy food that’s grown close to home. Most fruits and vegetables travel about 1,500 miles from the farm to your supermarket. When you buy produce from local farmers, you support your local economy and lower air pollution from transportation
8. Eat more vegetables. Having one meatless meal each week helps your heart, wallet, and the earth. Livestock, like cows, create greenhouse gases and use up a lot of water and land. By eating more vegetables, you lower the demand for livestock and save at least $237 each year on meat-related costs. Many studies have shown that eating less meat can lower your risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.
9. Plant a tree. Planting a tree is good for the air and the earth. It also saves you money on cooling costs by making shade for your home. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that putting just three shade trees in the right place can save homes about $100-250 in energy costs each year. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases. Trees can increase property value and improve the neighborhood. Make it a family activity and plant a tree every year.
10. Share these tips. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to do one thing from this list. If we work together, we can all enjoy a healthier Earth.