No Impact Man: The Documentary received a lot of media attention due to its rather extremist experiment. The documentary is about a small family, parents and a child, abandoning a high consumption lifestyle in an attempt to make eliminate their environmental impact. The Beavan family decides that the best way to eliminate their environmental impact is to do the following: eliminate electric power and replace it with solar energy, reduce garbage and use a compost bin, buy local and organic foods, and use public transportation and bicycles. Some of these concerns sound reasonable. Reducing garbage sounds like one of the more feasible methods of reducing environmental impact, but cutting off your electricity? Probably not possible in today’s world. And not everyone can afford solar panels. So, what can the average person do to help the environment? Here are a few things!
Electricity is a big point for energy conservation. You don’t have to go to the major extremes of No Impact Man, though. Try changing your light bulbs for Compact Fluorescents. Compact Fluorescents are a type of lamp that uses less energy and lasts longer. Some CFLs are considered a “hit or miss” for energy conservation, due to come difficulties with recycling. There are other types and brands of light bulbs that have some of the same benefits. Check out some of the local hardware stores for some possibilities. This idea is from http://www.instructables.com/id/100-Ways-to-Reduce-Your-Impact/ Please visit if you want more ideas or information!
Continuing the idea of electricity, check out some of these strategies. Put your computer into sleep mode when you’re not using it (which saves about 178 dollars a year.) Try washing more of your laundry in cold water instead of warm or hot. Some clothes require a different temperature setting, such as your fine clothes or evening ware. Most clothes can survive a couple tumbles in the cold cycle though. Especially when you don’t have time to sort between light and darks or colors. Perfect for college students! The profit for washing cold is about 152 dollars a year! Try out the calculator on this website to see what you can do (and how much you can save! Hey, just because we’re doing it for the environment, doesn’t mean that it can’t help us too!) http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/
One of the best ways to encourage people to lessen their impact is to give them a wide variety of opportunities. Maybe they can’t change their A/C habits or prefer not to use public transport for safety’s sake. I can’t blame them. There’s a big difference between a little discomfort and a health or safety concern. Try suggesting a different method of helping the environment. I’ll list some of the more palatable methods:
Pay bills online (there goes some of the paper problem and saves trees.)
Use cotton swabs with a paperboard spindle (some cotton swabs handles are made from plastic, which happen to be flimsier anyway. Switching to a paper handle saves the petroleum equivalent to over 150,000 gallons of gasoline.)
Try those trendy shopping bags sold at the register (eliminate some of the plastic bags in the landfill, the ocean, and the food chain. These bags are also handy for packing, carrying school supplies, and other daily tasks. Personal opinion: grab those gray totes with leaf decals from the Walmart lines. The stuff bottoms and square design can carry as much as 2-4 plastic bags without tearing or falling over. I’ve had mine for over a year and used them to move across country.)
Invest in that fancy coffee cup (not only is it personal and trendy, but you eliminate that plastic/paper/Styrofoam contraption some shops use.)
And use one less paper napkin (really? This could actually help the environment? Well, an American uses approx. 2,200 napkins a year…or 6 a day. I think we can cut back on one. If you feel like your hands are really messy, invest in a tube of eco-friendly hand sanitizer. It eliminates bacteria and evaporates due to alcohol content. All good!)
These solutions and many more are available at http://www.50waystohelp.com/ Check it out!