Going green: simple ways to help the environment

It’s never too late to start making changes in your life to help the environment.

Reducing your carbon footprint can help improve the Earth’s conditions. Here are simple tips you can follow to make a difference.

For example, little things like shopping at places that buy their products locally and which haven’t been shipped from far, produces a smaller footprints than exports from overseas.

“It’s important to ‘go green’ because it is linked to so many other issues. Social, racial and economic justice are key parts of environmental activism,” said Iona College’s IC Green’s President Robert Glowacky.

On campus, IC Green tries to promote green initiatives for sustainable community development. A healthy environment in every part of the world is a benefit to all social, racial and economic groups. The club is currently trying to place a green roof on LaPenta.

If everyone has equal access to things like clean water, there will be less discrimination and a government can properly function.

“Without access to clean resources, equally spread out, people won’t be able function and grow as a society,” Glowacky said.

After Hurricane Katrina, there was a separation of social groups and the amount of resources that had to be given out. Money and social class had a lot to do with who got which resources faster.

1. Be Aware: Know your carbon footprint. This is the amount of daily activity you participate in, that has a negative effect on the planet.

You can keep track of your footprint on websites like Nature.org. The site has you take a quiz called “What’s My Carbon Footprint?”

It asks you to input information about your house to determine the impact you’re having on the environment. This gives you an idea of the places in your life that you can improve.

This website will make you aware of things you might not have normally known are bad for the environment.

2. Recycle: Recycling is a simple way to help reduce the harmful impact on earth.

Separate your plastic, glass and paper products in proper bins when disposing of them. You’ll notice around campus that these receptacles are available in the classrooms and cafeterias.

Use a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum, instead of plastic water bottles. Use cloth instead of paper napkins. When you go grocery shopping, use reusable bags, which are usually available at the check out lines.

3. Conserve water:

Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. This will conserve heat and water while keeping water pressure high.

Try to take shorter showers and use less hot water. This will also lower your heating and water bill.

4. Be conscious:

Many products will have a green sticker on them showing that they’re organic, use these products more often.

5. Go Vegetarian: Once a week, choose not to include meat in your meals.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the meat industry generates nearly 20% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

There have been studies that show reducing your meat intake can slash your risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

6. Solar Panels:

These go on the roof of your house and convert sunlight into electricity. Adding solar panels and more green roofs where you can will help the environment.

“Green roofs improve air quality, wildlife habitat, and save the school on heating and air-conditioning costs by better regulating indoor temperature,” Glowacky added.

IC Green is also looking to replace unneeded grasses and other plants around campus with more native flora that is more sustainable and would lower the use of fertilizers and water consumption.

7. Improvements Indoors:

Buying a house plant for your house or dorm room can help clean the air and effect carbon emissions.

You can make your own eco-friendly cleaning products using household items like baking soda, vinegar, lemons and soup.

For more information on how to go green, check out treehugger.com.

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