Today begins Lent.
No, I’m not talking about the stuff that is nestled in the nether regions of your jeans’ pockets. I’m talking about the (predominantly) Roman Catholic Lenten season, traditionally a time of sacrifice, the 40 days of giving something up to make yourself – or preferably the world – a better place.
So, what will it be?
May I submit that NOW would be the perfect time to make the world a better place. You can do this by giving up something in your life, something you do, that contributes to Global Warming. We all do SOMETHING that contributes and, chances are, there is also SOMETHING that we can give up. So, who’s with me?
First, let me just run down quickly the threats that Global Warming poses to us, to our planet, to our world.
Poses health threats from increased heat
Changes the weather and increases the chance for natural disaster
Alters the migration patterns of different species
Has drastically changed the habitat of many species, forcing them near extinction
Has the potential to reek havoc on our economy
Changes how the food we eat can be grown
Damages coral reefs
Pollutes the air
… and the list goes on.
What can we do? How can we help?
Well, I’m not asking you to sign a petition or go and storm the White House. I’m simply asking you to make slight changes in the way you live, to be a bit more conscientious about the choices you make, the energy you use, the heat you produce, so to speak. Start with one. Don’t set out to completely overhaul your way of life. Don’t set out to alleviate Global Warming single-handedly. Just do what you can do and be an example to others.
What can I do, you ask? Here are some ideas:
Reduce, reduce, reduce!
Reuse, reuse, reuse!
Recycle, recycle, recycle!
Recycle whatever you possibly can. Make sure you know where the recycling facilities are in your town and set up a recycling routine for your home and workplace.
Get off of mailing lists! Why should trees be destroyed for mail you do not even want to receive?
Drive your car one day less a week and walk instead (good exercise!)
When possible, ride your bike, or take public transportation.
During the cold winter season, turn down your thermostat by two degrees.
Buy produce that is locally grown.
Look into purchasing energy from a renewable energy source.
Install energy efficient appliances in your house with the EPA Energy Star label.
When you aren’t using an appliance, unplug it.
Use power strips.
Turn off the lights when not in use; use natural light whenever possible… best for your eyes anyway!
Use the energy saver cycle on your dishwasher and only run it when full.
Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.
Turn down your water heater to 120°Fahrenheit.
Clean or replace the air filter on your air conditioner.
Install low-flow shower heads to use less hot water.
Caulk and weatherstrip around doors and windows.
Ask your utility company for a free home energy audit.
In summer, keep shades drawn to keep the cool in.
In winter, open shades to let the sunlight to help warm rooms.
Install a programmable thermostat to heat and cool rooms only when necessary.
Plant trees around your house to cut cooling costs in summer.
Insulate your walls and ceilings.
Install a light-colored or reflective roof.
Look at hybrids when you car shop again.
Learn about Carbon Offsets.
So, what will your contribution be? Comment and let me know. Also, feel free to post other ways to alleviate Global Warming.
Happy Lent, from this non-Catholic to all of you!