10 things you can do to help the Earth: If a monkey can do it, so can you!
By Meaghan Horan, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 21, 2010
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Earth Day is April 22 and with the increased push to "Go Green," there are many easy things everyone can do to help the Earth.
To make these things even easier many different corporations have composed "Top 10" lists of things for people to do to help decrease their carbon footprint. In the spirit of Earth Day, the 460th Space Wing Public Affairs Office has picked our own "Top 10" for Team Buckley.
10. Don't keep refrigerators or freezers too cold. The Web site Earth 911 recommends keeping temperatures between 37 and 40 degrees for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and five degrees for the freezer section.
9. Run multiple errands in one trip. The Web site Ecosimply suggests planning trips out ahead of time to keep drivers from zig-zagging around town. Filling a water bottle or travel mug with something to drink can keep drivers from making unnecessary stops. Also, if some errands are close together, park the car somewhere in the middle and walk.
8. Use less heat and air conditioning. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, as much as half of the energy used in the home goes to heating and cooling. Making smart decisions about heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems can have a big effect on utility bills.
7. Drive Smart. The EPA also suggests driving less, especially during peak traffic periods or hot days; avoiding waiting in long drive-through lines; gradual acceleration; getting regular tune-ups and checking tire pressure regularly. All these small things will help increase gas mileage and make cars more emission friendly.
6. Turn off lights when leaving a room. The Web site Energysavers.gov explains that incandescent light bulbs should be turned off whenever they are not needed. Only about 10 to 15 percent of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light--the rest is turned into heat. Turning the lights off will keep a room cooler, an extra benefit in the summer. A general rule-of-thumb is when leaving a room for more than 15 minutes, it is probably more cost effective to turn the light off.
5. Turn off water when brushing teeth. Water Sense, an EPA partnership program, explained that the average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute. Turning off the faucet while brushing teeth in the morning and at bedtime can save up to eight gallons of water per day, 240 gallons a month.
4. Unplug chargers when not in use. According to the EPA, electronics, adaptors and appliances cost Americans almost $10 billion a year and account for almost 11 percent of all U.S. energy use. Unplugging these things while not in use can lower energy costs.
3. Switch out light bulbs for fluorescent bulbs. The EPA explains that a qualified compact fluorescent light bulb will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about six months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. If every American home replaced just one light with a CFL, we would save enough energy to light more than three million homes for a year, save about $700 million in annual energy costs and prevent nine billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of about 800,000 cars.
2. Recycle! According to the EPA, recycling reduces the need for landfills and incinerations, prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from new materials, it saves energy, and decreases emissions of greenhouse gases. To recycle in the Buckley community, drop off recyclables at the lemon lot on base or trash companies registered with the city, which offer curbside recycling. The Denver Post posted information showing that Aurora also sponsors an annual Household Chemical Round-up, accepting paint, paint products, used motor oil, antifreeze, vehicle batteries and tires, among other items. For more information on those round-ups, call 303-739-7372.
1. Use a reusable water bottle instead of bottled water. According to the consumer awareness group Food and Water Watch, it takes more than 47 million gallons of oil to produce plastic water bottles for Americans every year. Eliminating those bottles would be like taking 100,000 cars off the road and one billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Each one of those bottles required nearly five times its volume in water to manufacture the plastic.