Talking Green: Take Action on climate change in 2018
January 12, 2018
It's resolution time — fitness, food, finances, personal growth. In 2018, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council is resolved to mobilize our community around climate action. This year, consider making a resolution to reduce your carbon footprint.
Below are strategies for taking action on climate change in your daily life. To ensure success, pick just one or two areas to focus on and set specific, realistic goals. Find additional strategies and take the pledge to fight climate change locally at yvsc.org/climateaction.
The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. An easy place to start is in the bathroom. Choose bar soap over shower gels and liquid hand soap in plastic bottles. Bar soap lasts longer, is cheaper and contains fewer environmentally-damaging substances like microbeads. Shampoo, conditioner and shaving bars are also good plastic-free alternatives that last longer and have less packaging.
Say no to single-use stuff like bottled water, to-go cups and plastic silverware this year. Instead, always bring a reusable water bottle when you're on the go, bring your reusable coffee mug to the coffee shop and carry a bamboo spork in your bag or car. Pack a zero waste lunch for yourself and your kids with reusable sandwich wraps and storage containers.
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Add a new item to your family's recycling routine, such as plastic bags, electronics (it's the law), batteries, paint, cardboard or motor oil. YVSC's online A-Z recycle guide, at yvsc.org/a-zrecycleguide, lists where many hard-to-recycle items can be recycled locally.
Feed your family, not the landfill
Reducing food waste will not only decrease carbon emissions, but it will also save money. A family of four loses approximately $1,500 on wasted food each year. Meal planning is an easy and effective way to waste less and buy only what you need at the grocery store. To learn more tips and tools to reduce the amount of food you throw away and to sign up for YVSC's six-week Food Waste Challenge, visit yvsc.org/foodwaste.
Learn where your home leaks or is inefficient with a free or low-cost energy assessment. An expert assessor will make recommendations that range from low-cost, quick fixes such as weather stripping, a programmable thermostat and high-efficiency showerheads to larger investments in your home. Sign up for an energy assessment at energysmartcolorado.com. Even if you rent your home, you can conserve energy by switching to LED lightbulbs. Save your receipts and apply for a Cen$ible Energy rebate of up to $100 or 10 bulbs at censibleenergy.org.
Green your ride
By eliminating driving once a week you can cut your carbon footprint, and save money on gas and car maintenance. We are fortunate to live in a community with a free bus that, with a little planning, will take you just about anywhere. For short trips of less than 2 miles, walk or ride your bike. If you have children, make a concerted effort to connect with other parents to share chauffeuring duties.
Cameron Hawkins is the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council Waste diversion director and Anne Mudgett, YVSC communications and development director.