Conservation: It’s Earth’s Best Defense!

posted: 05/15/12
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Conservation: It's Earth's Best Defense!

Have you ever wondered how much water and energy your family uses each day? Conserving Earth's natural resources means knowing your ecological footprint - the impact your lifestyle has on the planet - and how to minimize it. Here are some conservation tips for the whole family to practice at home, in the yard or on the go:

Energy Savers at Home

Saving energy is a great way to conserve the earth while keeping utility bills low. Start by doing an "energy audit" of your home. Identify power wasters such as drafty windows, leaving lights on, and keeping appliances on standby. Then, make a list of power-saving tips:

- Set the thermostat to 65 degrees in winter.

- Turn the air conditioning to low in summer.

- Switch from incandescent to fluorescent light bulbs.

- Unplug cell phone chargers when not in use.

- Be sure to post your tips in a central place so the whole family can read them.

Be Water Wise

Using water wisely is one of the best ways to protect our planet. Even young children can follow simple steps for minimizing water waste, like turning off the tap while brushing their teeth and taking shorter showers. Another easy way to save water is to put a bucket in the bathroom for collecting tap water while it heats up. Then, use it to water the plants or wash the dog.

Go Shopping and Go Green!

Buying eco-friendly products not only protects the environment, it also sends a message to companies that being green is important to customers. Whenever your family goes shopping, make a game of searching for products made from recycled materials and those that are made without the use of dyes, perfumes, harsh detergents or other chemicals. Also, be sure to buy products that you know you can recycle.

Backyard Conservation

There are many simple things your family can do to protect the planet and still have a fantastic yard and garden. For example:

- Water the lawn in the early morning rather than at midday - this allows grass to absorb more moisture.

- Plant shade trees around the house to keep your home cool and cut down on the need for air conditioning.

- Use native species in your garden - natives are adapted to the soil and climate of their local environment, so they need less water and maintenance.

- Weed your garden rather than use pesticides - it's healthier for your family and for the environment.

- Mulch your grass clippings.

Spare the Air

Air pollution is a threat to both people and wildlife. Teach your family to conserve their world by following these clean air tips:

- Don't use aerosol products such as hair spray, cooking spray, air freshener or furniture polish.

- Use push lawn mowers and avoid using electric snow and leaf blowers.

- For painting projects, use water-based paints.

- Buy environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Transportation Tips

- Go for a walk or take a family bike ride rather than drive to nearby places.

- Organize your family's errands to minimize driving.

- If you drive, use a fuel-efficient vehicle.

Conservation on Vacation

The next time your family goes on vacation, consider an ecotourism destination. These are places that offer educational programs and nature activities while protecting the environment and the animals that live there. You can also minimize your impact on the landscape by following these simple tips on vacation:

- Only use recreational boats with clean-burning engines and never allow gasoline to spill into waterways.

- Don't use Jet Skis, snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles - they pollute and disturb fragile ecosystems.

- If you go diving on coral reefs, be careful not to touch or step on coral.

Entertain These Tips!

Many people leave their computers, stereos, DVD players and televisions running 24/7 for the sake of convenience or because they think not turning equipment off and on will save energy. The truth is that using electronics and home entertainment systems takes a lot of energy. Be sure to turn off computers or leave them in sleep mode when you're not using them and turn off the television when you're not watching it.

Following these simple steps can go a long way toward conserving Earth's wild places and natural resources. Also, talk to your family about local and global conservation issues and find out what you can do to make a difference.

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