Today is Blog Action Day and this year – yip, apparently it’s a yearly event where bloggers are asked to all write about a particular social issue in order to help raise awareness, I must have missed it last year – I digress, this year it’s to highlight climate change and encourage people to increase their awareness and increase action for change.
I wondered what deep and meaningful essay I could write and decided instead to do a simple list of things that are easy to do – and therefore more likely to happen and may even save you money.
Starting with the obvious energy savers:
* Unplug your power cubes! You know the little boxes that are used to charge phones, laptops, torches, rechargeable this, that and the other…
It is not enough to unplug your device from the end of the cable, you need to unplug the charger or switch it off at the wall socket. The cube does continue to use power all the time that it is connected to the wall socket even though it is not actually charging anything.
* Change your light bulbs for energy saving bulbs. I know that they cost more although they are a lot cheaper now than some years ago. If you are on a tight budget like me then you might like to change over each bulb as the old one blows and needs replacing anyway.
The energy saving bulbs use about 80% less energy and also last a lot longer. However you still cannot use these bulbs with dimmer switches so perhaps just switch to a lower wattage incandescent bulb for your dimmer appliances. Some shops are selling energy savers which claim to be suitable for dimmers – I have been advised that they still keep blowing so don’t waste your money on them, wait for another year or so and they may have improved.
* Do switch off your tv, computers and anything else that “sleeps” or goes into stand-by mode. Unless you absolutely need to have the clock on your microwave or oven tell you the time then switch these appliances off at the wall too when not in use. I don’t know many people who actually use their oven timers anyway. Appliances on stand-by do continue to use power all the time that they are plugged in even when they are doing nothing.
* Clean your fridge regularly and keep your freezer clear of ice (other than cubes obviously) and as full as you can, it will be more efficient that way.
* Barter, swap or buy a multi-pot steamer and a pressure cooker, save energy while you are cooking.
* Eat fresh food in season and buy local. You help local producers, reduce food miles and get fresher food. Remember that some EU states such as Holland irradiate all of the fresh veg that they export!
* Support Irish dairy products instead of imported, buy organic if you can. If you can’t afford organic it is good to know that Irish non-organic yoghurt is still most likely healthier than European produced organic yoghurt.
Its not just about price or about buying local when it comes to dairy products. For me it’s because I have seen a map of Europe with all the active incinerators marked on the map, in fact I helped to create the map and it scared the cr*p out of me.
Incinerators produce dioxins which are belched out with the smoke, yes, even with chimney scrubbers, they spread for about 20kms, dioxins end up on the land, the cattle eat the grass and silage, the dioxins intensify as they move up the food chain stored in fatty tissue and milk – you get the picture.
* Ask your local shops what their stance is on selling products containing GM food stuffs. Write to their head offices too if you can. Consumer pressure does work, it may take some time to see the effects, don’t give up!
* If you have the space and the time why not grow some food? You can grow strawberries in hanging baskets by your window or door in you live in a flat or apartment without a garden.
* Gardening without a garden? Join your local community garden. If there isn’t one get some people together and start a project, see what’s involved in setting one up yourselves, lots of helpful websites out there – just google community gardens and start reading, digging, growing, eating – yummy!
* Feeling adventurous? Why not learn to build your own wind turbine? It’s really not as hard as it sounds, is good fun, you learn lots of skills and when you build one for yourself you will get an enormous amount of satisfaction as you watch it spin and generate power for you. You definitely need a garden for this project though 😉
* Sign up with social justice websites like Avaaz You can do a lot of good by simply adding you name to petitions as they come into your email inbox, I think of it as armchair campaigning!
* Check out Skill Swap. A site where you can barter your skills and receive the benefits of other people’s skills.
* Check out Hopenhagen – it’s all about changing the Climate Change World Conference in Copenhagen into an event of Hope – it will make more sense when you read the site and please sign up 🙂
* Another site for global change is Oxfam – in their own words “As more and more people join the campaign, our voice will become louder and stronger and impossible to ignore. It is time for real action on climate change.”
* Here’s another one – a site you can sign up to and by doing so help to change things – Time for Climate Justice
I just love armchair campaigning 🙂 If you have more ideas to share please let us know in the comments.
Making a change with a flick of a mouse or keyboard…
Go forth and promote change… Don’t forget to smell the flowers along the way…