The future is what we make it

27 Mar

Take a big step and do one thing to reduce your carbon footprint today. Do one thing that helps to save or conserve the earth’s resources. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Just pick one small, simple thing that can make a difference and do it today. Then, next week, or next month, do something else.

Here are a few easy suggestions for becoming more environmentally friendly.

  • Replace one light bulb with an energy efficient one. (Remember don’t thow these bulbs away in the rubbish – most Woolworths stores have a box where you can get rid of them)
  • Plant a tree. The rule of thumb is: “For every 5000 km you travel in a car or for every 5 hours you spend on a plane, you should plant 1 tree. If you never travel in a car or a plane, you should plant 10 trees to neutralize the effects of your household.” In South Africa, consider planting indigenous trees only (these include the Fever Tree, Cape Chestnut, Pompon Tree, Wild Pear and Forest Elder among others).
  • In the shower: install a low flow shower head. Put a bucket in the shower and use it to water household plants. Or simply shower with a friend 🙂 .
  • Don’t leave your appliances on standby. Don’t charge your phone overnight. Switch the light off when you leave a room. Don’t leave your computer on. Be conscious of  when and where you are using electricity when you don’t actually need to.
  • Washing your clothes: Consider hand washing, in cold water, a few items of clothing every day. I wash Adam’s clothes by hand each night while he has a bath. It’s quick, easy and better for the clothes. And it saves a machine wash load at the end of the week. Also, consider using a clothes line rather than a tumble dryer.
  • Buying food: try buying organic food where possible. Use reusable, shopping bags (cloth is the best). Become aware of your food’s packaging. Recycle it if you can and choose the option with the least packaging, or refuse to buy over-packaged goods. Consider what fruits and vegetables are in season and buy those – chances are they are more local and have spent less time in storage or transport. Give canned and frozen foods a skip. Find organic or farmer’s markets and try to support them whenever possible. Choose one or two (or more) days a week when you eat food produced within a local radius of where you live. Buy fresh fish from the harbour. Also, when buying fish, make sure that it is part of the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative – look for the SASSI logo. Eat less meat, or at least be choosier about the meat you eat.
  • Avoid buying bottled water. Rather set up a purification system in your home and carry your own fresh water around with you.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If you live in my area, you have an easy solution. They will collect it from your front door. Fill those clear plastic bags. My rubbish has reduced from 2 large black bags a week to 1, sometimes 2 small bags. As soon as I start a compost heap/wormery, it will be down to almost nothing. It makes a difference, it really does. If you are not lucky enough to have it collected with your weekly rubbish, consider getting someone to collect it. At work we use a company called Recycle 1st.
  • In your garden: Plant edible plants (start your own “farmer’s market” in you back yard). Plant indigenous, waterwise plants. Respect the water restriction guidelines and water only in the early mornings or evenings. Use organic compost. Or start a wormery. Try and find a way to store and use rainwater in your garden. Find organic ways to control pests and avoid pesticides that are harmful to the environment. This book is a great resource: Jane’s Delicious Garden. And it is South African, so it is full of useful and relevant information.
  • Your Geyser: consider installing a solar panel. Invest in a geyser blanket. Turn down your thermostat by 1, 2, 3 degrees. Or more. Switch your geyser off when you go away and won’t be using it.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint and commit to reducing it by this time next year.
  • Finally, if nothing else, consider switching off your lights tonight at 8:30pm.



3 Responses to “The future is what we make it”

  1. Kim (frogpondsrock) March 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    All good things to do.

  2. Wends March 30, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    geez I better get planting with that rule of thumb hey!
    good post.


  1. Ignorance or Apathy? - March 29, 2010

    […] reminder on my blog, but did not get a chance to go online. Fortunately some people, like my friend Pia, did highlight it. We did our bit, but were dismayed at how few people actually did take the time […]

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