The American lifestyle is envied by many, but if everyone in the world shared in our way of life, we’d need the resources of 4.6 planets to support the world’s population according to Global Footprint Network. Obviously this is a theoretical construct, but we have plenty of real environmental problems at the moment. CBS news reports that air pollution is dangerously high in at least half of the US despite the rising popularity of solar energy.
Coal fired power plants are responsible for a large proportion of air pollution today. The energy they produce is costly, both in terms of direct costs to consumers and the indirect cost of pollution which affects us by promoting respiratory diseases.
But there are real contributions that we can make to improve the sustainability of the United States and the world. We really can make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren if we all pitch in. Our individual impact may be small, but if increasing numbers of people follow our example, the cumulative impact could be enormous. Best of all, we actually save money by living more sustainably because we consume less resources – and we can still keep all the home comforts we’ve always enjoyed.
Here’s what you can do
The Leonardo Academy shows how our lifestyles contribute to air pollution. Our biggest contribution towards air pollution is indirect and lies in the goods and services we buy. By being mindful of the environmental track record of the goods and services we use, we can reduce the impact of air pollution:
- Avoid imported and out of season foods.
- Choose products with minimal packaging.
- Support companies that implement green principles.
- Get involved in recycling household waste.
- Cut down on impulse buying.
Next up, we can cut our direct consumption of electricity without inconveniencing ourselves by joining the move towards sustainable solar energy. Solar technologies have become really advanced and you can decide to what extent you will use solar power for home applications. Installation costs used to be the big problem for those who wanted to use solar energy, but it has become much cheaper to install solar energy than ever before, and you can even use installation costs to get a tax rebate.
- Use a solar powered water pump for irrigation or to keep ornamental fountains running.
- Get a solar pool heater for your pool.
- Use solar energy to run your geyser (your home’s biggest power guzzler)
- Or go off the grid completely, using external power supplies as a backup rather than a primary energy source.
Last but not least, we can all contribute to reducing air pollution by limiting pollution caused by transportation:
- Join a car pool to get to work or use public transport.
- When travelling short distances, take a walk or ride a bicycle.
- Ensure that your car is properly maintained so that it does not produce more exhaust fumes than necessary.
- If you are driving an old model car, get a catalytic converter fitted to clean exhaust fumes.
- When buying a new car, choose a fuel-efficient model.
Spread the word
You don’t have to be a rabid environmentalist, but you can help to make America a better place by caring for the environment. You’ll notice that you’re saving money while ‘saving the planet’, so don’t forget to share the good news with your friends: sustainable living doesn’t have to be uncomfortable!
Image source: Pixabay
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