American “baby-boomers” were brought up to believe that energy resources are limitless and cheap. That is not the case today. We must change our habits and teach our children how to use energy wisely. Traveling to other countries, brings home the harsh reality of how wasteful we are. In Italy, for example, appliances are used sparingly, and public transportation is efficient and easy.
There are some very basic changes we can make, to conserve and consume less.
1. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use less energy and throw out less heat, and they last longer. They might be more expensive, but in the end they get the job done more efficiently.
2. Are you already using an electric blanket in order to keep the heat down at night? Electric mattress pads will keep you warm and toasty, and use less energy.
3. When out of the house, turn the thermostat down.
4. Instead of automatically cranking up the heat in Winter, put a sweater on and some cozy slippers first, and see if that does the trick.
5. Insulate anywhere you can; duct joints, crawl space, around doors, and especially windows. Storm windows really help keep the heat inside.
6. Refridgerators use lots of energy. New models are more energy-efficient.
7. Washing machines that front load are more energy-wise. If you are used to washing and rinsing with hot water, change to warm or cold to save energy.
8. Wait until the dishwasher is full, to run it.
9. Use less water on landscaping. Try planting more drought-resistant varieties. Plant trees for summer shade. Water early in the morning.
10. Bring your own re-usable shopping bags to the market. Use less plastic.
11. Whenever possible, walk, take the bus or train. Plan on being in the car less each week. Maybe each Monday you can bike to work. Figure out how to make your own personal dent in cleaning up the environment.