Make every day Earth Day

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Life Moments column
By Christine Bryant

Doing your part to protect the earth seems like a monumental task.

After all, I am just one person among more than 7 billion. How can I alone make a difference?

I recycle, turn off lights when I’m not using them and try to avoid buying items that won’t break down in the environment. I’m also guilty of buying disposable diapers (sorry, I just can’t get past using cloth ones), and ordering products off Amazon, which notoriously sends the smallest items in the largest boxes.

I often wonder about what more I can do (I’m relieved that I’m almost done with the diaper part). After doing a quick search on the Internet, I realized it really doesn’t take much to help protect the earth. There are quite a few tips out there that not only are common sense suggestions, but also benefit you in other ways, including your wallet.

While recycling, conserving water and swapping out your light bulbs for LEDs are all common ways to reduce your carbon footprint, in celebration of Earth Day, here are a few additional ways that take minimal effort while helping Mother Nature:
•Keep your tires properly inflated. This will save you gas mileage and is just safer.
•Donate your old clothes. Instead of throwing your clothes out, there are a ton of organizations in the area that will accept used clothing. You not only keep these clothes out of landfills, but also help a family in need.
•Use cloth towels. I’m notoriously bad at this. It’s so easy to reach for a roll of paper towels, but if you can get your whole family to reach for a cloth towel instead to dry their hands, you’ll be able to save a few bucks as well on a product that isn’t cheap.
•Change your paper bills to online billing. Some companies will even reduce your bill if you switch to online billing. Trees also will thank you.
•Set your office printer to print two-sided. You’ll make that ream of paper last twice as long, and again, trees will thank you.
•Bring reusable bags when you shop. A lot of people have good intentions when it comes to this, but walk out the door without the reusable bags. I’ve found keeping them in the car frees up more space in your closet and keeps you from forgetting them each time you head to the store.
•Turn off and unplug electronics when you’re not using them. Even when your computer or stereo is off, it’s still drawing “phantom energy” from outlets. While you’re at it, make sure you turn off lights when you leave a room (I say as I channel my dad).
•Lower the temperature on your water heater. If you turn on the hot water as high as it will go with no cold water on, and you’re afraid to stick your hand under the water flow, your hot water heater is set too high. To reduce the substantial amount of energy you’re wasting, the Department of Energy recommends setting your hot water heater to 120 degrees.

For more ideas on ways you can make everyday Earth Day and can better protect the earth, go to earthday.org/earth-day-tips.
Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.

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