Tag Archives: How-To

How to Make a Positive Impact on the Climate

Most people know by now that our climate is changing; part of it is a natural cycle, but most of the recent changes are because of mankind’s carelessness and industrial advancements.  Intense storms, flooding, drought, fire, avalanches, landslides… and that’s all been within the past week.  Looked at as a whole, it might be overwhelming; people know changes need to be made, but what can one person do?  Quite a lot, actually – and if everyone begins changing certain habits to a greener alternative, the impact will be felt.  For your sake and mine, I’ve pulled together a list of things we can do:

Climate Changes

1. Get involved

Vote for green policies, support green campaigns and organisations, and get the word out to your friends and family about what they can do to become greener.

2. Be energy efficient

Switch off lights; change light bulbs to compact fluorescents or LEDs; wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water, and only when the load is full; hang dry your clothes when you can; keep your thermostat at minimum temperatures, and layer your clothes if you’re cool, or take off layers if you’re hot – don’t freeze your house in the summer, or heat it to the tropics in the winter.  Look for energy-efficient labels when buying new appliances.  If you’re thinking of moving, consider moving closer to your workplace, or closer to your usual shops – wherever you can to lower fuel consumption or allow alternative transport such as bike or bus.

3. Choose renewable power

Ask your utility company to switch your account to clean, renewable power, such as from wind farms, solar power, or earth-heat sources. If it doesn’t offer this option yet, ask it to.  The next time you need to buy an appliance, look for the greener brand.

4. Eat wisely

Buy organic and locally grown foods. Avoid processed items. Grow some of your own food. And eat low on the food chain — at least one meat-free meal a day if you’re not already vegetarian — since 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production.

5. Trim your waste

Garbage buried in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Keep stuff out of landfills by composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass, and donating things like clothes to charity shops. Let store managers and manufacturers know you want products with minimal or recyclable packaging.  If you do crafts or know anyone who does, upcycle.

6. Let polluters pay

Carbon taxes make polluting activities more expensive and green solutions more affordable, allowing energy-efficient businesses and households to save money. If your local government doesn’t have a carbon tax yet, ask your politicians to implement one.

7. Fly less

Air travel leaves behind a huge carbon footprint. Before you book your next airline ticket, consider greener options such as buses or trains, or try vacationing closer to home. You can also stay in touch with people by videoconferencing, which saves time as well as travel and accommodation costs.

8. Green your commute

Transportation causes greenhouse gas emissions, so walk, cycle or take transit whenever you can. You’ll save money and get into better shape! If you can’t go car-free, try carpooling or car sharing, and use the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle possible.

9.  Buy Less

Whether electronic items, or reusable grocery bags, you can reduce your carbon footprint by buying wisely, less often, and energy efficient.  Buy local or organic foods when possible; look for fair trade products, which not only give a better wage to the people producing the good but also tend to have cost-efficient transport; buy essentials in bulk to reduce plastic wrapping.  Recycle or upcycle that wrapping.  Use what you buy – don’t let foods go off, or buy any item around the house unless you need it and will use it. Buy products when possible that are sourced from sustainable programs – wood, paper, etc.  Don’t upgrade your cell phone until you must; that little gadget leaves a huge carbon footprint; and when you do upgrade your phone, make sure you recycle it. For every 1 million smartphones recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

10.  Unplug

Believe it or not, you may be spending more money on electricity to power devices when off than when on. Televisions, stereo equipment, computers, battery chargers and a host of other gadgets and appliances consume more energy when seemingly switched off, so unplug them instead.

11:  Shop Online

If you can’t buy something locally, or bike or walk to the shop, consider online shopping.  This is a catch-22, as local shops need your support; but if you have to drive further to find something, look for it online.  According to one study, in-store shoppers gave off slightly fewer carbon dioxide emissions than online shoppers at distances shorter than 8.6 miles. For longer distances, online shoppers’ footprints remained relatively stable, while brick-and-mortar shoppers’ emissions skyrocketed, up to 451.4 grams of carbon dioxide per transaction (when travelling more than 62 miles).  One UK study showed the average consumer would have to purchase 24 items at the market to make the trip equal to the carbon footprint of just one item ordered online.

12.  Carbon Footprint Awareness

What is your carbon footprint?  How many slaves do you use?  Become aware of what your past habits have done, and it will influence your future choices.  Here are a few links to help you figure out how you are impacting the environment:

How big is your environmental footprint?  Check out this Footprint Calculator

 How many slaves work for you?  Take this survey to find out.

Additional Information:

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/top-10-ways-you-can-stop-climate-change/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/10-solutions-for-climate-change/

http://mashable.com/2014/05/15/climate-change-impact/#ILorIHWGeaqw

 

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Two Essentials on Every Blog in WordPress Land

I love looking at other blogs – it gives me a window into another culture, another mind, another lifestyle and another perspective.  I also like to click on the Gravatars of others who’ve “liked” the same article, to see what like-minds have to offer.  In doing so, I’ve repeatedly come across Gravatars & blogs that have two essentials missing:  Blog links, and “Like” buttons.

Everyone who’s got a WordPress site has a Gravatar; on the Gravatar you’ve got the opportunity to put a link to your blog(s), your Twitter account, Facebook, Pinterest, or any other link you’d like to connect to one face, one place.  Think of it as a virtual pin board, or bulletin board.  If you’ve got a blog, that’s the place to have a link!

To the right of this blog page, you see the example of my own Gravatar:  A photo of moi, my Gravatar’s name and a brief description, followed by a list of my personal links – some are to my other three blogs, and my Amazon Author’s Page, as well as my Pinterest board.  I’ve never twittered, and maintaining a public Facebook page on top of four blogs plus a writer’s forum on another website was too much of a time-eating monster… I’d rather be working on my next novel’s manuscript!

I’ll explain how to get what you need, as sometimes it’s helpful – I’m sure a lot of you know more about finding your way around cyberspace than I do, but sharing knowledge is what makes connecting with others enjoyable!

gravatar-logo-512To add a link to your Gravatar:

On your blog, click on your Gravatar’s name (just under the Gravatar photo on your blog, if you’ve got that set up; if not, click on your chosen image at the top right of your screen’s bar – that will take you to the reader, where you should see the name in blue).  Once you’re signed in through WordPress, below the Gravatar’s name you should see the options “Edit My Profile” and “Hide My Profile”.  Click on Edit; on the new screen to the right you will see a list; chose “Websites”.  On the new screen, you can add a new website by copying and pasting the URL after clicking either of the “Add Website” options.  Be sure to title it too.

One more thought:  Don’t leave a generic image as your Gravatar’s face; put something that represents you, whether a photo of you or your cat or a flower – it’s a lot more attractive, individualized, and says something about the person behind the words.

Web

To add a Like button:

Go to your blog’s main page, and hover over “My Sites” in the top left corner; one from the bottom you should see “Settings”; click on that.  From this new screen, in the last section on the left you should see “sharing”.  Here you should be able to add a like option.

I’m not certain this is correct, as I’ve already got the option on all four of my blogs; but it may also depend on which theme you choose for your blog.  If anyone knows how to get the like button up front, please let me know!  If you can’t add like in the way described, you may want to consider changing your blog’s visual theme (different themes offer different options).  Your content matters, and people want to let you know!

Also, when adding a new post, make certain that you’ve ticked on the “Likes and Shares” (in the left-hand side bar).

Just one more thought:  Be aware of how colour schemes affect the reader:  If you’ve got a bright background and clashing font colours, it’s just plain irritating, and will likely drive more people from than to your blog.  Choose colour combinations that are easy on the eye, which makes them much more attractive to read.

Please tell me in the comments below how you’ve experienced these points, and if you have any tips on improving the layouts and function of blogs!

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