Earth Day 2013

Every Earth Day, we tend to focus on the bigger picture, such as global climate change or the conservation of the rainforest. However, sometimes we fail to look at how our actions can impact the environment. There is a disconnect, and that is where we need to sit back and connect the dots. Although we get caught up in our daily lives we are a part of a family, a community, a city, a state, a country, and most of all, a planet. It’s like a ripple effect, and our daily decisions are like the first pebble thrown across the lake. We are not singular, but a smaller part of a big world, and as such we depend on each other to be environmentally responsible.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering, “How can I help?”.  Before we move on, let’s take a look at your current ecological footprint. Take the quiz:  Footprint Calculator
Okay, were the results surprising? I know they certainly were for me. Now, let’s see what small steps we can take to incorporate more environmentally friendly habits into our daily lives.

What Can You Do at Home?
Here is a list of helpful tips from Take Care of Texas‘ pamphlet entitled Save Money & the Environment at Home, so you can be more environmentally conscious and save a little money!

  • Don’t set your thermostat too low or too high. Aim for 78° in hot weather and 68° in the cold seasons.
  • If you own a home, check around windows or doors to make sure that there are no cracks or crevices that can let the outside heat of cold in. Check weather-stripping and caulk if need. Try doing this before temperatures begin to drop or increase dramatically. Hey, you could make this a part of your Spring cleaning routine!
  • Repair leaks immediately.
  • Thinking of buying a new refrigerator or doing some home renovation? Consider replacing old appliances with energy-efficient appliances and your current toilets with low flow models. Sound like too much trouble? Well, consider this…you may be eligible for rebates! Just check with CPS and the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) for possible savings!

Now, check out some of the Library’s resources on how you can live a little greener at home:

        no impact        simple         living 

What About Your Yard?

Here’s another great place where small changes can make a big difference on the environment!  Here are even more tips from the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) and Take Care of Texas.

We all want our yards and gardens to be lush and beautiful, and believe it or not, there is a way to do this and conserve water, a precious resource in South Texas.

  • Take Care of Texas suggests that you water at cooler times during the day, like the early morning.  Because once that hot Texas sun hits, the water will evaporate much more quickly.  So, you’re doing the work, but not reaping the full benefit.
  • In Texas, when the temperatures start to soar, we must be aware of San Antonio Water System (SAWS) water restrictions.  Take a look at the SAWS Drought Restrictions page for more information.  Being aware of these restrictions can keep you from violating them and paying any fines.  That’s cash in your pocket!
  • If you’re just starting a garden, or planning to add to your current landscape, consider choosing plants that don’t require frequent watering to be maintained.  San Antonio Water System (SAWS) has a large list with a wide variety of plants that are drought tolerant.  Check out the SAWS Approved Plant List before you start your gardening.
  • You are used to recycling your paper products, cans, and plastic, but have you ever considered recycling water?  Take Care of Texas recommends capturing and reusing rain water to water your lawn and plants.   Here are some resources on that topic:

Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels, A Take Care of Texas Guide via Take Care of Texas

Rainwater Harvesting via San Antonio Water System (SAWS)

The Library has some great resources on water conservation and drought tolerant plants!  Have a look:

cool  dryland  water  xeriscape

Still looking for other interesting ways that you can go green in honor of Earth Day?

Dig through your makeup bag…

Could your lipstick be bad for the environment?  Find out in Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-friendly Life

Get Crafty…

Wait…don’t throw that away!  Check out Eco-craft: Recycle-Recraft-Restyle, which is full of craft projects using old materials.  The concept of the book is to repurpose, or to take something old and make it new again!

We at the Northwest Vista Library hope you’ve found this post helpful, and can incorporate some of these green-living tips into your daily routine.  And, don’t forget to come by the library and see our Earth Day 2013 display focusing on the slow food movement, sustainable farming, and community-supported agriculture!

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