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Why Small Things Matter


By: Mollie Dean on Oct 1, 2019 10:49:36 AM

“People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing.” Those were just some of the powerful words that Greta Thunberg spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit last week on Monday, September 23rd. She’s a 16-year-old climate and environmental activist who has come into the spotlight recently due to her actions on the climate crisis. If you haven’t heard her speech yet, I highly recommend you give it a listen.

Whatever side you sit on regarding the issue, conservation is a huge deal. We’ve seen record high temperatures and higher demand for electricity, which in turn results in record-high grid prices for power.

conservation blog

Reducing your overall consumption could not only save you money, but also have a far more reaching effect beyond your energy bill. I try to live by the three “R’s;” Reduce, reuse, and recycle, but there are plenty of other ways to conserve, depending on where you live. Here are the top ten ways I’ve changed my habits to offset my carbon footprint.

  1. Renewable energy plan. I switched to green energy plans a few years ago, and the cost is not much higher than a traditional plan. Many energy providers offer green plan options now, and APG&E does too.
  2. Turn off the lights. I use natural light as often as I can and keep the lights off when I’m not in a room.
  3. Use reusable grocery bags. I try to eliminate the amount of plastic I use so I keep my reusable totes in my car, so they’re always there when I need them.
  4. Paperless billing. This one is super easy and can be done from almost any banking app.
  5. Ride a bike, carpool, or use public transportation. Living in Houston makes it a little hard to ride a bike to work, but when I go out, I try to plan accordingly with friends and carpool. If that doesn’t work, I use a ride-sharing app. It’s a simple and safe way to get around town and a great way to meet new people when visiting a new city.
  6. Using my flex benefits. If you have flex benefits, you should use them! The days I work from home I’m helping to reduce transportation emissions.
  7. LED light bulbs. This is another easy way to cut back and conserve more energy. Energy efficient lightbulbs can save you more money over time and they last longer.
  8. Eat local. It’s been a while since I hit a farmer’s market but when grocery shopping, I always select locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and meats.
  9. Give up single-use plastics. This one is huge! I never was a big proponent of plastic water bottles, but I did use plastic straws. No more though now that I invested in a reusable straw for my tumbler. There’s a ton of good biodegradable straws out there now, too. I have a pack of hay straws at home that I also love for miscellaneous use.
  10. Recycle as much as possible. I bought this little recycling bin from Amazon and it’s made a huge impact. I use fewer trash bags, and there’s an easy drop-off location at a nearby school.

Admittedly, the majority of these weren’t habits I really had to force myself to do. They were that easy. Sure, it took a while to remember to put my milk carton in the recycling versus the trash bin, but now it’s automatic for me. Is there more I can do? Absolutely! And I plan to because Greta’s message was clear: “we’ll be watching you.” Everyone’s lifestyle is different, but there are so many animals, plants, and other human beings depending on us to do our part. Let’s all pitch in and help when and where we can.

Have more ideas on how to limit our environmental impact? Please share your ideas or your own story with us!