If you are like me, you worry about the
environment but donít quite know what you
can do about it. Global warming, smog, the
plight of the manatees ó you want to help
but feel powerless to do anything really
meaningful. Well, donít feel powerless
You can help the environment and your wallet
with some minor adjustments to the way you
live your daily life.
Many environmentally-friendly actions are
also incredibly budget friendly. The good
news is if you want to be rich and save the
world, you can do both at the same time.
Here is a short list of things you can do to
save money and help the earth. Some are
easy. Others are drastic, but incorporating
just a few of these into your everyday life
is certainly better than doing nothing at
Around the House
The Department of Energy estimates that
powering one single-family house for a year
produces more pollution than driving a car.
They also report that most of that energy is
wasted due to leaky windows and poor
insulation. Here are a few tips to bump your
bill a bit lower and reduce your impact on
Switch to compact fluorescent light
bulbs. The next time a light bulb burns out,
replace it with a compact fluorescent bulb.
They use 66 percent less energy than regular
bulbs and last about 10 times longer. They
are more expensive upfront ó a 4 pack costs
about $10 or $12 ó but you wonít have to
replace those bulbs for about 7 years. Over
the long haul, they are cheaper than regular
bulbs. And, when properly utilized, they can
lower your electric bill by up to $20 a
The EPA estimates if every household in
America replaced just one regular lightbulb
with a compact fluorescent, it would be the
equivalent of removing the pollution of 1
million cars from the road.
Also, turn your lights off when you are not
home or are not in the room. Your mom was
right to bug you about that as a child.
Reuse food containers. No need to buy
Tupperware or gladware. Just reuse the
plastic tubs and bottles the food you buy
already comes in. Theyíre especially handy
for storing bulk foods. For instance, use a
clean cranberry juice bottle to store rice
or barley you've bought in bulk. Use a sour
cream container to tote leftovers to work
for lunch. Reusing food containers saves you
money and reduces your oil consumption. Yes,
plastics are made from petrochemicals, which
come from oil, so the fewer you throw away,
Open the window. 44% of a homeís energy
bill goes to heating and air conditioning.
Save yourself some money and opt for fresh
air instead of the thermostat when weather
permits. You can shave serious dollars off
of your electric bill and reduce your impact
on the environment by turning the thermostat
off and going au natural.
If you canít stomach the heat, set youíre
A/C thermostat a few degrees higher, to at
least 78. In the winter, put on a sweater
and turn the heat down a couple degrees. The
EPA estimates you save 6 percent more energy
for each degree you raise the temperature in
the summer, and each degree you lower it
during the winter.
Wash your clothes with cold water.
Turning the washer setting to cold instead
of hot can save you $160 a year in energy
costs. Setting the water to warm instead of
hot reduces your annual energy bill by $60.
Dry your clothes on the line. Clothes
dryers are the largest home energy users
behind refrigerators. Hang your clothes to
dry on the line every once in a while, and
you will save yourself money. You may also
make your clothes last longer ó over-drying
shortens the lifespan of your favorite
At the office
Avoid being a scourge on the earth by
investing in a sturdy coffee mug and using
that instead of a Styrofoam cup every time
you want to hit the coffeepot. If you are a
big water drinker, buy an inexpensive
plastic drinking glass and use that instead
of disposable plastic cups.
Pack your lunch. Eating out ó even if
itís a $5 a day fast-food sandwichó really
adds up over time. The packaging also
produces a lot of waste. Pack your lunch in
a reusable container. Itíll save you money,
itís usually better for you and you wonít
generate as much garbage.
Walk or ride your bike. Take the time to
walk or ride your bike instead of driving.
Start slowly by cutting out one car trip a
week, whether itís to work or to the corner
store to pick up some eggs. All those little
trips add up. Even an occasional bike ride
or walk will get you into shape, cut your
gasoline and parking bills, and reduce smog
and exhaust fumes in your city.
If you are feeling adventurous and live
within reasonable distance of your job, bike
to work. If that doesnít appeal to you,
consider public transit.
Evaluate your car. If you already have a
gas-sipping car or scooter, pat yourself on
the back. No matter what you drive, even a
modest increase in fuel efficiency helps the
environment and will save you a lot of money
over the carís life. Keep your car tuned up
and get regular oil changes; this will
increase your fuel efficiency and save you
maintenance money in the long run.
To save more gas, roll the window down
instead of using the air conditioner; run
all of your errands in one trip instead of
on many short trips; avoid peak traffic
times whenever possible; and clean the junk
out of your car ó the lighter the car, the
less gas needed to run it.
When it comes to the environment, small
changes can make a big difference.
About the Author
Denise Trowbridge is an award-winning
journalist residing in Ohio. Her work has
appeared in newspapers and magazines across
the United States, as well as on her site
Denise is also the editor of the women's Web