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Only you can help save the planet

Editorial Cartoon by Michael Escañuelas

Editorial Cartoon by Michael Escañuelas

The phrase going green may be going out of style these days but the meaning behind it is still a hot, important topic. Instead of going green, let’s go efficient, because we are capable of preserving our home planet Earth.

Earth Day is next week and everyone needs to do his or her part to make the Earth a more sustainable planet for current and future generations.

Let us begin with greenhouse gas emissions, which are gasses that absorb and emit radiation that affects the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the temperature of the Earth.

Due to the increase of emissions caused by human activity, such as driving gas-powered vehicles, the Earth’s ozone layer is depleting and the result is what we all know as global warming.

The good news is that there are many ways to cut back on human pollution, which will not only save the Earth but save you some green too.

At the grocery store it has become easier to banish plastic and paper bags from your life because just about every supermarket and retail store offers reusable canvas bags for a small price.

Starting to bring these along on your shopping trips will eventually become as habitual as grabbing your keys.
Plastic bags are not biodegradable and can take up to 1,000 years to break down.

This lengthy process also separates the bags into toxic particles that contaminate soil and water. Even worse is that the production of plastic bags consumes millions of gallons of oil each year that could be used for fuel and heating.

Another way to cutback is to pay your bills online, thus reducing paper waste. Even if you print them out at home, you’ll get rid of the postage carbon footprint and reduce paper by eliminating the envelope and the special offers. In doing this, you save 37 pounds of carbon emissions over the year.

Since Southern California is always in need of water, collect water in buckets during rainy seasons to get free water for your garden and plants. Your water bill will shrink and you will be reusing water that was basically handed to you for use.

If your destination is less than 30 minutes away on foot, try walking or cycling there instead of firing up the SUV. It is good for your health and allows you to be greener in transportation without having to buy a new hybrid or electric car.

You can also try becoming a vegetarian for one day out of the week because the livestock industry is a huge greenhouse gas emitter. The livestock industry keeps expanding to once-forested land, resulting in less trees and plant-life preventing gas emissions.

Cutting down on meat once a week will be good for your heart, reduce the risk of cancer and can save money each year.

When shopping for new clothes try buying green fashions, like apparel made with organic cotton or recycled fabrics. Most of the time, these fashions are the same price as the non-sustainable clothing.

The retail store H&M has a new line called “The Garden Collection” that has garments made of recycled and organic materials, all for prices you would normally pay for clothing. Even shopping at secondhand stores before hitting the mall for new clothes can save money and helps promote recycling.

By replacing some of the energy-sucking items in your home with more energy-sipping alternatives, you can also reduce your carbon footprint. For example, replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents.

Fluorescents can be bought at nearly half the price of compacts at stores as Home Depot and Lowe’s and typically last much longer.

Pledging to unplug unnecessary electronics when not in use saves “vampire power” and 250 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. After washing your clothes in the washing machine, skip the dryer and air-dry your laundry, saving 750 greenhouse gas emissions. This is one of the most beneficial things you can do without spending a penny.

Add up all of the tips above and you have developed a strategic plan to help preserve Earth’s precious resources. Make it your duty to be a hero for planet Earth starting now, without setting an ending date.

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