We all want to live a bit greener, don’t we? You help the environment, and you help your wallet. There aren’t many better causes out there! Here are a few steps you can take in your daily life to have a greener day. Some are obvious, but others not as much.
Don’t drive so fast
Although driving at high speed isn’t bad in and of itself (in fact, most cars get better mpg going highway speeds than in stop-and-go in the city). Accelerating too quickly, or not allowing gravity to do the work on hills can use gas unnecessarily. Say, for example, if you’re approaching a slight downward slope towards a red light, release the gas pedal. Doing so will allow gravity to pull your car toward the sun, which saves your gas and saves your brakes.
Try public transportation, or biking
Taking the bus every day to work or school can be tough, but that’s not the only way to save some gas! Why not use your bike when you’re picking up your takeout? Why not ride your bike to the convenience store? Try biking around when you’re meeting up with friends (in fact, UT West Campus in Austin is a great place to start because of the neighborhood, non-major roads). Taking your bike on short trips may convince you to start making your bike farther and farther, which saves money, gas, and the environment. Then, on those rainy days, revert to the bus.
P.S. Living as close as you can to where you work or go to school makes doing these two much more accessible. Plus, if you need to drive, being closer means less gas.
It’s a no-brainer: putting items in recycling saves them from the landfill and allows their materials to be reused and recycled in remarkable new ways.
Turn up your A/C when you leave your home
This one requires some thoughtfulness because our A/C is often the last thing on our mind when we’re leaving home in the morning. What do you usually set your home temperature? 76? 72? Try this: when you leave your home, set the temperature 7-10 degrees higher than what you often set it to. You’re not there anyway. Why spend all that money and energy to cool an empty home? You can just as quickly set it back to your preferred temperature when you get back and have a comfortable, freshly-cooled, and newly-circulated home.
P.S. Having some plants and a fan, or two, can aid in the feeling of coolness in the home. It allows you to leave your home at a higher temperature even when you are there and save more money.
Go outside for your fun
One of the best things you can do for the environment is to be healthy and outside. When you’re out, you’re not spending energy running electronics, cooling your home, or wasting energy at all! Not to mention, the more you do it, the more fun it becomes. Find creative ways to be outdoors, all while raising your awareness of environmental issues.
Try a vegan, or vegetarian meal
The United Nations has said that livestock and meat production now produces more greenhouse gases than transportation. That’s more than planes, trains, and automobiles combined. Imagine what an impact we can all have by adding a meatless day, or meal, to our week. If you like it, you can even try going vegan or vegetarian. Plus, with all the great veggie options in UT West Campus and Downtown, why not try a new restaurant?