A MINISTRY OF
1. Did you know there is an eco-friendly alternative to Google and other corporate search engines? Ecosia (ecosia.org) is a free browser that takes just minutes to designate as your default search engine. When you search the web with Ecosia (instead of Google or Yahoo), the search ads generate income for Ecosia and Ecosia uses this income to plant trees around the planet where they are needed most. Ecosia's team have planted over 155 million trees as of August 2022, and they are endorsed by Upworthy, Scientific American, The Guardian, and Salon. They publish monthly financial reports and tree planting receipts, as well as regularly post informative videos of their work around the world and educational videos about climate action.By searching with Ecosia, you’re not only reforesting our planet, but you’re also empowering the communities around our planting projects to build a better future for themselves. Give it a try!
2. Energy conservation is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Leaving your electricals on standby needlessly uses up energy- hit the off switch and you could see huge improvements.
3. Invest in eco-friendly technology: Want to go further than simply "turning it off"? If/when you need to get new appliances, check their energy-efficiency rating to ensure they're as efficient as possible. Whenever possible, avoid using appliances between the hours of 4pm and 9pm, the time period when the electrical demand is greatest.
4. Eat Less Meat: Being careful with what you’re consuming is at the heart of being more eco-friendly, and cutting down on the amount of meat you eat can have a huge impact. Not having red meat and eating a more plant based diet – even if it’s just for two or three days a week – can have quite a significant impact on reducing your carbon footprint.
5. Don't Waste Food: While the world wastes about 1.4 billion tons of food every year, the United States discards more food than any other country in the world: nearly 40 million tons — 80 billion pounds — every year. That’s estimated to be 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply and equates to 219 pounds of food per person. Just being aware of this staggering statistic can help you better plan shopping, meals, and food storage, as well as help inform your family and friends.
6. Have your food delivered: Home delivery is like the public transport of groceries. Instead of having 20 odd cars make their way to the supermarket – one van drives around delivering to everyone in the area (and many supermarkets are upgrading to an electric fleet, too). Additionally, it means you’re less likely to impulse buy which can help to reduce any waste food.
7. As the temperature drops, don't put your fan away! Using fans to circulate warm air can help save on heating energy and bills.
8. Cut your phantom electric loads in half by installing surge protectors for computers, copier, fax machine, printer, TV, etc. and turning off your office equipment when you’re not using them. Make sure sound systems and projectors are turned off when not in use.
9. Use recycled centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table-- You don't have to buy seasonal centerpieces each year. Grab a used sheet for a tablecloth, use empty glass jars, add some ribbon or twine, or get creative with flowers, pinecones and fallen leaves from your yard. There are endless ways to decorate your table naturally. (take a picture of your centerpiece and share it with us!)
10. Again and again, surveys show that the most trusted messengers for environmental issues and action are friends and family. The season of Advent is a time when many of us gather with family and friends. Be on the lookout this season for opportunities to talk about your own eco actions-- big or small-- and what motivates you.
11. Don't wing it! The bulk of a plane's emissions occur during takeoff and landing, meaning that mile for mile, shorter flights have a greater carbon footprint. It can take additional planning, budgeting and perhaps a few extra travel hours, but bypassing flying when there are convenient route by bus, train or car-- particularly if driving a hybrid or sharing travel with others-- will reduce your environmental impact. Furthermore, these alternatives to flying can often land you closer to a city center and swap out airport security lines for scenery. For flights under three hours, always consider the alternatives.
12. Most of us are well aware that Christmas celebrations can be hard on the environment, with lots of wrapping paper, lighting decorations, the myriad of plastic toys and potential for food waste. You won’t have a perfectly green holiday season right off the bat. Focus on progress, not perfection. Make a few changes this year (such as not buying any wrapping paper, and rather using cloth or recycled bags) and then as things break or need to be replaced, shop mindfully & locally— or not at all!
13. If you only have a little time to spare for climate action in a busy week, the best way to spend it is not by meticulously sorting every scrap of recyclable material in your home, but rather by contributing your time or money to a bigger environmental effort— whether at the local, state or national level. Check out the “Resources” tab on the CED webpage for a list of options: https://www.stcolumbasinverness.org/ecological-discipleship
14. Ask your favorite grocer or local market if you can bring your own containers. Chatting with store owners or managers really helps to start a conversation about what you'd like to see more of in the shops you frequent. Always be polite, but don't be afraid to ask for what you need. You'd be surprised at how many shop owners are willing to at least talk about eco-friendly changes and options. 15. Before tossing a broken gadget and buying new, check this website: IFixit.com. You can find repair guides for everything, a store for the tools you need, and a community of fixers who can help you. This online community helps thousands of people repair their things every day. Every time you fix something, you help the planet.
16. Washing and re-using plastic bags is good for the environment, but drying bags can be a challenge. You can easily make your own plastic bag dryer from simple household items you probably already have. Take a toothbrush holder or a mason jar and put some pebble in the bottom. Then poke chopsticks through the toothbrush holder holes, or drill some chopstick width holes in the top of the mason jar, poking them into the pebbles to set them firmly apart. Place your bag holder by your sink and wash, hang, and reuse your plastic bags!
17. If a recipe or product suggests various methods of cooking: in the oven, on the stove top or in the microwave, opt for the microwave. It uses the least energy. If you want a roasted taste and appearance, but want to avoid using the large oven, get a small countertop George Foreman grill, slice the vegetables thin, spay with olive oil and roast in the grill. (Brussel sprouts cooked this way are delicious!) 18. Wash Your Clothes Less : Synthetic material sheds microplastics in the washing machine, which find their way to the ocean. The ocean floor holds over 14 million tons of microplastics. This number is increasing with textiles contributing 500,000 tons yearly. 16% of the microplastics released into the oceans come from washing these synthetic clothes. The toxic fibers degrade ecosystems and are ingested by sea life and eventually mammals, including humans. Over washing your clothes at high temperatures will also affect their quality over time. It’s also a great waste of water and energy from your washing machine. Also, be sure to only buy non-toxic detergents and avoid the use/overuse of tumble dryers.