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Sustainability Starts At Home

Posted by: Annika Darling @ Nov. 14, 2014, 5:11 p.m.

Extreme weather hit Portland yesterday. Freezing rain it’s called. I’m from California so this was new for me. What’s more is that this “freezing rain” -- this ice and snow and insanely cold temperature -- came in November.

“I’ve lived here 14 years and it’s never snowed in November,” toted BWC CEO, Mitch Rofsky. “I think it’s all hype.”

And then it snowed.

Thursday morning my car was a large green popsicle frozen to the road. The door I could hardly peel open and the windshield proved to be quite a challenge to de-ice.

Extreme weather indeed. But Portland isn’t alone in this. It’s happening around the globe. And with proof like this it’s funny (sad, infuriating, irritating) to hear people continue to deny that global warming exists.

The problem is...well, massive, and combating it a massive undertaking. There is one thing I know about making big goals though, and it’s that you’re suppose to make tiny ones first -- and celebrate accordingly when you hit said goal and then promptly move on to the next. So, let me propose some tiny goals for you, for us, to combat global warming on a smaller scale everyday in our own homes.

The buildup of carbon in the atmosphere is hands-down largely responsible for global warming, and domestic energy use is the fourth biggest source of carbon emissions (taking into account all the resources it takes to get it to you, not to mention carbon produced by businesses). Therefore, energy conservation within the home, your home, is not only essential, but a responsibility.

Cooking, entertaining, lighting: all of these are examples of ways that fossil fuels are consumed and carbon dispensed into the atmosphere. Using energy efficient appliances is a great place to start. These appliances are easy to locate and all possess a universal energy efficient label.

Insulating your home is another big, yet easy step you can take. Proper insulation combats heat loss by closing heat escape routes through the roof, floor and pipes. Double-glazing of windows can drastically reduce heat loss -- by an estimated 50 percent.

There are also many local grants that will support you in producing your OWN sustainable energy! That’s right, get on this! It is completely possible and uncomplicated (even fun) to generate your own solar, wind or hydra energy.

Other little things you can do around the house is to remember to turn lights and appliances off when not in use. This means not leaving computer, TV, or radio on standby...just turn them off. Only charge your mobile phone when you need to. Opt for hand washing dishes and line drying clothes whenever possible. Dishwashers and tumble dryers are huge energy wasters. Also, don’t leave water running -- especially hot water. And short showers are better than baths (on the daily anyways) -- it’s a small sacrifice really for a larger good.

And at the end of the day remember to celebrate your contributions. Buy a bottle of wine and cheers yourself and your household for the small everyday things you do that over a lifetime can be incredibly impactful and highly beneficial to the entire planet. Changing our impact on the earth and taking responsibility for climate change truly starts at home.

Home is where the green is!


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