It seems these days that the news is pretty depressing, whether it is reports about global warming or today’s report about disappearing fauna. Our 11 year old has been expressing concerns about what we can do to help and make the world a better place.
So here are some things we are doing in our family to do our bit.
Single Use Plastic. There is a lot of discussion about plastic straws and plastic shopping bags lately. Most countries in Europe have either banned them or are in the process of. Here in the States many cities and states are putting their own ordinances in place. Here in Portland the only bags at checkout are paper ones.
We have stopped asking for straws in restaurants. We also have a collection of nice reusable shopping bags, mainly from Europe. These are a bit sturdier than the typical US ones.
More use of Public Transport. We are trying to use public transport more. Of course we are lucky to live somewhere that has good connections. It takes a bit longer, but it’s less stressful than using the car.
Planning Errands. When we do use the car we try and combine several errands together. If we can avoid multiple trips we try and do that.
Shorter Showers. While showers are clearly better than baths, that kind of goes out the window if the showers are taking 45 minutes. We are therefore trying to limit our shower time to 5 minutes or less. That’s not always easy with a teenager in the house.
No Watering of Lawns. During the summer, a brown lawn is a mark of pride here in Portland. People simply don’t water their yards (except for flowers and vegetables). This obviously saves a lot of water. Keeping a lawn green through the summer months is not great for the environment as well as being expensive.
Sensible Thermostat Control. During the summer we don’t turn the AC down below 75F and in winter don’t heat above 68F. This obviously saves us money, but is also better for the environment.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs. We have slowly been replacing our light bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs. They are a lot more expensive than the old style, but they last a lot longer and use a lot less electricity.
I think in this day and age we need to be mindful of what we are doing, and those of us with a FIRE lifestyle can do a bit more as we have more time. We don’t need to rush everything. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to maybe do a little more.