Going green is more than just an attitude, it’s a way of life. Transportation accounts for 27 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the Department of Energy. This makes your bike an obvious green choice. Environment911 reported that one tenth of all our plastic bottles eventually end up in the ocean, so drink out of a refillable container. These are obvious green choices for any aspiring environmentalist. Trendy waves of green may dominate the media, but there are just as many candid, less obvious ways you can make a significant difference in the world we share.
Keep Your Cat Indoors
The New York Times reports that there are 50 to 90 feral cats roaming U.S. streets, although the actual number is unknown. Some are pets, former pets, and offspring of former pets, but they’re all destructively invasive to our fragile ecosystem. The National Audubon Society has even said that cats are involved in the extinction of more birds than any cause. According to Times, the population of domestic cats in the wild has upset ecosystems to the tune of over a thousand species of birds. Even well-fed cats hunt, it’s their nature. If you know anything about what happens when an invasive, non-native species invades a fragile ecosystem, you’ll keep “Mr. Whiskers” indoors.
Recycle and/or Outsource Tech Stuff
Tech gadgets are pricey because most of them contain precious metal, a finite resource. Precious metal also happen to create massive, destructive sites — they’ve been compared to nuclear waste dumps. Furthermore, the tiny particles released by many printers and scanners have been known to release toxic matter into the air, akin to inhaling cigarette smoke says one study by the University of Queensland. What’s a person to do? Every year over 50 million tons of e-waste is generated worldwide, despite the simplicity of recycling options. Using technology to find places to recycle said technology is as easy as the click of a mouse. There are also plenty of ways to get around even owning a scanner or printer. For starters, companies like Dig My Pics slide scanning services will scan all of your documents, prints and negatives for you and digitize them. You don’t have to lift a finger or purchase seldom-used tech equipment. If you surely must print something, just go to an Office Max.
No More Junk Mail
Junk mail has been the bane of many a flustered homeowners existence for decades, and it creates mountains of useless waste each year. Donotmail.org reports that junk mail creates ten billion pounds of solid waste, and 62 percent of phone books and ad mail aren’t recycled. Do you read your junk mail? Most people aren’t aware that they can actually take their names off of the Direct Marketing Association’s mail service list. Although this may take a few months to go into effect, it will save you a headache and the earth some unwanted garbage.
Kate is an activist, grant writer and supporter or several green initiatives. She lives and writes in Maryland. Photo by Flickr user Woodleywonderworks