I have never considered myself as person who was interested in saving the planet or an environment lover; however, even as a child I was always fearful of contributing to the growing pollution that I saw as a child growing up in a small town in Rochester, NY. I can still see the trash that lined the sidewalks and the garbage thrown on the highways. What always haunted me was the commercial where the Native American is standing on the side of the road with a tear running down his face because we’ve destroyed his once beautiful country with the spread of liter and smog. It was from that point on that I carried “guilt” and I could not drop even the smallest gum wrapper on the ground. It wasn’t until I became a teenager that I learned there were other things that I could do to conserve the energy of the planet – like turning out lights when leaving the room or planting trees to make to make the planet greener! Simple right? So I turned the lights out and made a contribution to a charity that was planting trees…
Today, I am growing and coming into my “environmentalism”, (it feels like I’m joining a new religion). I am amazed to learn that environmentalism has a culture that includes lots of practices as well as its own language… My hypothesis is that by that adapting and following a strict environmental friendly lifestyle, I can/will encourage other family members and friends to want to discover and introduce to each other more techniques to reduce our emissions footprint and improve our environmental footprints. To test my hypothesis I would make the case that not only are we helping to save the planet but we would all save a lot of money by being more energy efficient. Thanks to an assignment/project in class I am now on a mission to reduce my carbon footprint and the carbon footprint of members of my families as well. I began to reduce the Carbon Footprint in my home by using my programmable thermostat to lower the cost of my electric & gas expense. In a months’ time I saved over $100 compared to my usage from a year ago.
I changed the lighting in all of the lamps and lighting fixtures in my home to Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that save more than 2/3rds of the energy of a regular incandescent the bulbs, which are a courtesy of Progressive Energy. They offered the bulbs to all of their customers and I gladly accepted them free of charge! Each bulb can save me $40 or more over its lifetime. I also began Water-Conservation, to save water, I turned the faucet off when brushing my teeth and I took shorter showers, washed my clothes in cold water and hung them out to dry. I also unplugged all of the appliances when not being used.). It’s approximately, eight weeks since I took on this challenge and I must admit that I am saving money and helping the environment. I have gone to each of the homes of my enormous family members living here and members of the family whom I had the pleasure to visit with in New York on vacation.
Many of the family members have my advice and they too are saving money and to be honest, feeling good about the efforts they are making. In order to prove my hypothesis – I have researched the following reference that relates to the methods I’ve outlined. “The term ‘carbon footprint’ is used to describe the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere each year by a person, household, building, organization or company,” said Cathy Milbourn, a spokeswoman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. According to the E.P.A., the average carbon footprint for a two-person household in the United States is 41,500 pounds a year. “Significantly reducing your carbon footprint usually requires a dramatic lifestyle change,” said Craig Diamond, the director for strategy and operations of the Climate Trust in Portland, Ore. “People have to decide how important it is for them to contribute to the solution.” (Retrieved from New York Times 2009).
According to the Times article, replacing an inefficient hot-water heater with an energy-efficient model can reduce annual carbon-dioxide emissions by as much as 3,285 pounds and energy costs by $263, Consumer Reports says. Lowering a house’s temperature by 5 degrees for eight hours while people sleep and 10 degrees while they are at work can save 3,150 pounds in emissions and $252 in annual energy expenses. In conclusion, I have a long way to go to really seeing the savings and by doing my small part to reduce my footprint, and the members of my family members but we stand united. If I can convince my family to get onboard then I know that all Americans can come together to reduce climate change. We all have a choice.