Green Tips from Care for Creation
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8/5 Some ways to stay cool on these hot days instead of turning down the AC: Eat Cool: Dine on salads and sandwiches instead of large, protein-rich meals. These can warm up your body, and oven or stove-top cooking heats up your house. Stay Hydrated: Drink water instead of caffeinated beverages or alcohol.
8/12 The energy used to heat or pump water releases carbon dioxide into the air. Wash clothes in cold water. Set your mower at its highest setting to keep your lawn green with minimal or no watering during the summer. Install water efficient toilets, shower heads, and fixtures. Conserving water also helps to protect our aquatic habitats, which are often stressed by water withdrawals. Carry a water bottle and limit your use of single service bottled beverages. Learn more at EPA's Watersense website.
8/19 Invest in an energy-efficient air conditioner. If you're buying a new air conditioner, choose one for maximum energy efficiency. New air conditioners come labeled with an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER), a standard that lets you calculate how much electricity the air conditioner will consume. The higher the EER, the less it will cost you to operate the appliance to achieve the same level of cooling. Learn more about how different types of air conditioners stack up with the EPA's Energy Saver 101 home cooling infographic, which also includes handy best practices for keeping your AC in top shape.
8/26 Install a whole-house ventilating fan. This can be put in your attic or in an upstairs window to cool the house, even if you have central air conditioning. Use the fan to exhaust hot air from inside your house, drawing cool night air inside! According to Consumer Reports, a big fan working under the right conditions can cool and ventilate an entire house for about the energy cost of running an air conditioner in one room.
9/2 We all know instilling good habits is easiest when we're young. More parents and educators are working to make kids aware of the importance of caring for our planet. As kids return to class in the fall, here are some simple tips to encourage healthy habits and sustainable schools:
Healthy Lunches. Encourage schools to offer healthier choices in the cafeteria. Check out Edible Schoolyards and the Farm to School Network for resources. For pack lunches, use reusable pails and utensils and try eating local and organic.
Buy Smart. Buy school supplies with less packaging and seek those made with recycled and sustainably-harvested materials. Invest in sturdier products for years of use and reuse supplies. You can also make environmentally-friendly choices when buying back-to-school clothes.
Recycle. Ask administrators whether recycling bins and recycled materials are available and accessible, and if the kids are encouraged to use them. Make sure your child knows what can be recycled and what can't.
9/9 Get Regular Nature Time. Studies show that children who spend more time outside are less likely to suffer from obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder, and depression. Encourage kids to get outside for an hour or two after school each day and on weekends. This is good advice for adults as well!
9/16 Plant trees. By the time autumn rolls around, summer heat waves are (hopefully) long past, rainfall is usually more plentiful, and new trees, bushes and flowers have a greater chance of surviving than they would if they were planted during a hotter season. Choose species native to your area as well as those that are drought and pest resistant and can grow in the kind of soil and amount of sunlight available on your property.
9/23 Fertilize organically. When preparing your soil for next year, add organic, slow-release fertilizers that will help enhance your soil over time. These fertilizers are made of natural materials, contain vital nutrients to help your plants grow, and prevent plants from getting too much nitrogen. Most garden stores today carry a wide variety of organic fertilizers; many catalog companies also sell organic products, or you can use the compost you processed yourself...
9/30 Compost your leaves. Falling leaves are beautiful and valuable. Instead of bagging leaves and leaving them out with the trash, collect and compost them to create nutrient-rich, organic soil that will be ready for use by the spring. Rake leaves in piles and mow them to speed up the composting process. Mowed leaves can also be used to mulch beds instead of wood chips which acidify the soil.