It’s no longer vivid in my memory when exactly I become a nature-conscious being or how I closely become one. As a matter of truth, even now I do not consider myself a true-blooded pro-earth person yet, at least NOT YET. I think my travels around the Philippine’s finest destinations like Palawan, Bohol, and Davao (I’m not certain whether to include Boracay, you know.) created me some sort of an attachment with the environment. It made me appreciate the beauty of nature in more simple, realistic and upfront manner.
Little by little, I became more interested in pro-mother earth events and topics. Subconsciously, I started to think on how to practice conservation. I started to collect e-books regarding saving the planet earth. =) What a geek!? I have a number of e-books on my laptop – talk about paper conservation there.
When I read, it has become my habit to take notes of sentences, phrases or thoughts that inspire me or at least I find interesting and since I’m talking about beloved mother earth, here are few of my fave notes from various e-books, some of which I already do, some I’m still trying to live out and some I’m guilty of.
1) USE YOUR SPELL CHECKER. Before you hit print (especially the icon in the toolbar), be sure to run grammar and spell check. Once you get it error-free, preview it (file print preview) to ensure it fits well on the page and looks the way you want it to. You’ll reduce the amount of paper you use, saving money and helping the environment!
2) USE BOTH SIDES OF YOUR PAPER. Cut into fourths or halves any one-sided print documents you can no longer use and stack them next to your computer and telephone (you can put a little personal style into them, like names or logos). They make the perfect size for quick notes. Or, if you do a lot of printing from your computer that is only for your use, use the second side of obsolete or imperfect documents. It doesn’t matter that there’s something on the other side.
3) USE RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES. Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium, which have become a major source of contamination in dump sites. They break apart and are released into the soil or are incinerated and the deadly heavy metals are released into the air. Use batteries that are rechargeable. They will save you 10 or 20 times the original cost (by not buying batteries over and over again). You can also prolong the life of any battery by using the AC adapter for radios and other appliances. And try to dispose of them properly, though sadly, in our country it’s quite hard to do so.
4) DON’T RELEASE HELIUM BALLOONS OUTSIDE. It may appear to be a beautiful experience but releasing balloons into the air is dangerous. The balloons can cause suffocation or starvation in animals by blocking stomach or air valves. Metallic balloons can cause power outages when they get caught in power lines.
5) BUY ORGANICALLY-GROWN FOOD. More and more grocery stores are offering organically grown products or have organic sections in their stores. Organically grown foods are foods that were grown without using chemical fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides. They’re better for you and the earth because no chemicals are getting into you, the soil or water.
6) IF YOU HAVE A LEAKY FAUCET, CATCH THE DRIPS UNTIL YOU GET IT FIXED. One drop of water per second can waste 2,300 gallons of water per year. Put a pan, bowl or cup under it to catch the water. Use the water for watering a plant or flushing the toilet. Judge the size of your container – a leaky faucet can fill a coffee cup in 10 minutes.
7) CAN’T AFFORD A WATER-SAVING TOILET? Put a bleach bottle inside the tank. First fill the bleach bottle with water, cap it tightly and put it in the tank after you flush it. The average toilet uses 3-7 gallons of water per flush. The bottle will displace from ½ – 1 gallon of water and save you money with every flush. You can also use a brick but put it in a plastic bag as it may deteriorate.
8) GO AHEAD AND BUY THAT NEW TV. Modern televisions consume less than half the electricity of older models. This is the upside of some new technology! And this should really be this way. Speaking of TV, always use your television’s on/off switch. Don’t leave it on standby mode as this wastes energy.
9) DON’T OVER-DRY YOUR CLOTHES. You’ll avoid wrinkles (and possibly the need to iron).
10) USE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CLEANERS INSTEAD OF CHEMICALS. Here are a few: Window Cleaner: mix ½ cup white vinegar in one-quart warm water. Silver Cleaner: put 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda in 2-3 inches of boiling water in an aluminum foil-lined pan. Add silver and boil three more minutes. Oven Cleaner: mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray onto cool oven surface and scrub the oven clean. Use baking soda on stubborn spots. All-Purpose Bathroom & Kitchen Cleaner: dissolve 2 tablespoons baking soda in 1-pint warm water. Add lemon juice or vinegar to cut grease.
11) KILL ROACHES NATURALLY. Keep a spray bottle of soapy water on hand. Spraying roaches directly with soapy water will kill them.
12) CHANGE YOUR HABITS IN THE KITCHEN. Cover saucepans with lids whenever possible to reduce cooking time. Use a tea kettle instead of a pan to heat water (measure the amount of water you need) and heat only that amount of water.
Finally, to put a personal addition to the above items, my latest catch from my dear cousin — use organic beauty products!
Twelve items plus one bonus equal a small step that could go a long way (if we start NOW) in nursing our very ill living planet. That’s a small share or price to pay for living on her.
Cheers for mother nature!