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Real Simple conveys easy steps toward a green and vibrant planet including Meatless Mondays — the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change — and a detailed home insulation evaluation to determine existing energy leaks.
Earthday.org and conserve-energy-future.com suggest other ways to make home a little greener:
— Plant a tree. Spring is also a time to consider growing a vegetable garden, supporting a farm-share group or fruit and veggie co-op, or starting a neighborhood garden. Involve children so they can watch plants grow and experience the rewards of dirty hands.
— Replacing incandescent light bulbs with efficient CFLs or LEDs can reduce an individual’s carbon footprint by 450 pounds a year.
— Stop using disposable plastics, especially single-use plastics like bottles, bags and straws. Invest in a water filter for the tap, or have water tested to make sure it is drinkable, and fill up reusable bottles.
— Take shorter showers, use a water-saving shower head, and fix leaky faucets.
— Compost kitchen scraps for use in the garden, turning waste into fertilizer. Composters come in every shape and size, including compact backdoor models and tumbler versions that compost quickly.
— By recycling paper, plastic and glass, you can reduce garbage by 10 percent and a carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds a year.
Want to know just how green you are?
Calculator.carbonfootprint.com determines an individual’s impact on planet Earth regarding residence and transportation, and offers ways to offset that impact. The Environmental Protection Agency also has a calculator and estimates your footprint in three areas: home energy, transportation and waste.