Since moving into our camper full time I have become increasingly aware of our consumption and waste. In a traditional home, we lose sight of our waste because we have built in systems that remove our impacts from view. Imagine if you had to manage your home as a closed ecosystem for water, energy, and waste. You might choose to change some behaviors like using less water or buying less stuff.
Did you know it takes 95% more energy to mine raw materials to make a can than to recycle one that is already in use? Recycling metal puts money back into your local economy, reduces water pollution and earth disruption, and reduces landfill contributions. If you do not recycle anything else, metal is a great place to start!
I had an agenda of posts lined up for spring, but I can’t help but traverse to what is in front of us all right now. The COVID-19 pandemic and guidelines associated have resulted in tragedy and silver linings. There is a lot yet to be learned from this momentary freeze in time we are experiencing, but let’s take advantage of what we do know. Cities such as Delhi, Bangkok, Rome, Paris, and New York City that have hosted toxic levels of air pollutants are rapidly improving, and waterways are healing. Satellite imagery shows reduced Nitrogen levels, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon. Animals are thriving in their habitat like never seen before by our generation, including sea turtle hatch-lings flourishing on open beaches and bears frolicking in national parks. These are all great short-term wins, more importantly the Earth is proving that it can heal itself to a certain degree. The question becomes, how do we begin to build our lives and economy again without losing the significant environmental improvements we have seen.
Access to electricity is at the heart of societal development and has been key to the growth of the US over the last 100 years. Energy production has made leaps and bounds of efficiency improvements, however there is a long way to go. Current[ly] electricity contributes 33% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the US. The best way to lower your home’s carbon footprint is to use less energy. This may seem obvious, but it really isn’t. It is hard to know what is worth your time and money to improve, so I did the research for you.
Where to start…
Have you ever taken a minute to really think about all the plastic that fills your kitchen? Countless bottles of cleaning supplies, dried goods and condiments, produce, and pretty much everything else. Food is packaged in plastic, then brought home in a plastic bag, and after a meal leftovers are stored in plastic containers. It’s a bit much, am I right?