What can we do to reduce our ecological footprint? There are many thing. For example, in our house, we compost all organic matter. We also recycle everything that our local community accepts at the recycling center. In addition, we often choose the items we buy based on the amount of packaging they have. The combination of these three things reduces our garbage output to only one 30-gallon bag every two weeks for a family of two. Not too bad. And the compost we make goes into our organic garden plot. This compost is a rich, black material that acts like a high potency fertilizer for our garden.
It’s composed of food waste, papertowels ; napkins, the occasional egg carton and anything that will break down including yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, etc. ) When turned regularly, a compost pile will get as high as 130?F, enough to sterilize seeds so that they don’t sprout in your garden. We have also replaced a large number of our incandescent lightbulbs with fluorescent bulbs. The cost of these bulbs has come down to the point where they are now very cost effective and they consume much less energy. They screw into your light fixtures like a traditional bulb and last up to 13 times as long.
The bulbs you can buy today are much higher quality than in the past with less flicker and with a warmer light. Because an incandescent bulb wastes as much as 90% of its energy as heat, the power consumption of the cooler-running fluorescent bulbs is much less. According to the Georgia Interfaith Power & Light company, “Each 13-watt compact fluorescent (CFL), over the expected 10,000 hour life of the bulbs, will save 470 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity as compared to 60-watt incandescent bulbs. This translates to a global warming-fighting reduction of over 730 pounds of carbon dioxide.
It also means a reduction of 1. 6 pounds of nitrogen oxides (which contribute to ozone and acid rain) and 4. 3 pounds of sulfur dioxide (which contributes to haze and acid rain), and makes significant reductions in other impacts of coal-produced power such as mercury pollution and destruction of forest and stream habitats in mining areas. ” Now that’s reducing your footprint! Buying locally-grown and processed foods is another way to reduce your footprint. Although it’s not so obvious, the amount of energy it takes to ship food around the globe is astronomical.
Only because food can be grown so inexpensively is it not prohibitively expensive to ship it all the way from, say, South America, to the Midwest of America. By choosing local foods, you can have a large indirect impact. While you’re at it, consider buying organic whenever possible. Organic produce and other foods have come down significantly in price, gone up significantly in quality and have become much more readily available. In our family, we have found that organic growers often choose varieties that don’t need to be shipped as far and stored as long and, as a consequence, they taste better! Organic bananas are a good example of this.