It’s a known fact that Americans tend to waste a lot. We pollute a lot. We throw too much away, and we let our energy be used inefficiently. Only 5 percent of the world’s population is found here in America, yet we use 18 percent of the world’s energy.
Portland has long been a little different. In fact, Portland may be America’s greenest city! But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have more work to do. In fact, Portland’s example is more important than ever. People in Portland should think about ways to reduce their environmental footprint. We’re here to help with a few key ideas.
Reduce your waste and put it where it belongs
Three words: reduce, reuse, recycle.
If you can use less, make full use of what you do use, and then recycle things instead of just throwing them out, you’ll make a huge impact on your waste footprint.
But how can you do this? One important step to take is to start investing in quality stuff that you’ll be able to reuse. Often, it’s not that we want to throw lots of stuff out, it’s that our stuff is meant to be thrown out. So get yourself a reusable shopping bag which will make a big difference in your consumption of plastic. Buy quality clothes that will stand the test of time, and avoid fast fashion. And buy great “upcycled” art and household items from the many creative artists and designers you’ll find here in Portland! You can even upcycle your own stuff yourself.
Watch your energy use at home
Most Americans use energy at home to heat their house in the winter and cool it in the summer. Portland can get plenty hot and plenty cold, so you’ll want a reliable HVAC system in your home. But be careful because HVAC systems are hotspots for energy waste. Invest in maintenance and repairs for your system and identify drafts and areas with poor insulation so that you can address them and keep more of your climate-controlled air inside where it belongs.
Appliances are another big area for energy waste at home. Invest in efficient appliances and be sure to maintain them! Don’t assume that your appliances are going to stay efficient on their own, caution Portland appliance repair pros. Invest in regular maintenance and repairs for your big appliances so that they can stay efficient and reliable. This will save you money while helping the environment.
Of course, your habits at home matter, too! Remember to turn out the lights when you leave a room, use power-saving features on computers and other devices, and set the thermostat a bit lower when you’re sleeping at night or when you’re out of town. These little decisions can make big differences.
Saving the planet on the go
Driving around wastes fossil fuels, but it’s hard for a lot of us to get around without cars. So what can we do?
We can drive more efficiently, for one. Hard braking and fast acceleration are the enemies of fuel efficiency. You could buy a more fuel-efficient car, too — hybrids and electric cars are much better for the environment than their older alternatives.
You can also choose to carpool with friends or use mass transit which will reduce the number of cars out there on the road burning gas.
Become a part of the movement in Portland
The environmental problems that are world faces are huge. Does what you do really make a difference?
The answer is yes, and you can help. But it’s also true that we’ll need some big steps from businesses and governments to stop worldwide trends like global warming. Fortunately, you can have an impact here, too. Why not join an environmental advocacy group here in Portland and lobby for the policies that will protect our planet?
We only have one planet. We each need to do our part to care for our world. Portland has long led the way on environmental issues, and you can help keep that going. Watch your energy waste and do your part to ensure a better future for all of us.