Green changes make change in your pocket

6/5/2014

Green changes make change in your pocket

Green changes make change in your pocket

These days, whenever the weather starts to change or do strange things, the topic of global climate change seems to come up. "Global climate change" is the scientifically approved term for what most people know as "global warming," and it is a surprisingly controversial topic. While the majority of the scientific community agrees that global climate change is occurring, and it is caused by human actions, there is an outspoken minority which claims either that it isn't happening at all or that the changes are not caused by humans. I am not a climatologist or even an amateur weather buff, so I won't try to argue the science — you can Google as well as I can. Instead, I have a question for you today ... Why not?

Why not make the life changes that climatologists and environmentalists tell us will help slow the progression of climate change? If climate change is happening and is human driven, these changes may help create a better life for future generations. If climate change is a myth or just the natural progression of our planet, these actions won't hurt and may help your pocketbook or your health.

Why not choose Energy Star products when shopping for new appliances and light bulbs? Whether you are looking to replace your old refrigerator, washing machine or water heater, an Energy Star qualified item is available. These products are designed to be more energy efficient than their older or non-qualified brethren. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star appliances can save you $11,000 in energy bills over the course of their lifetimes. Energy Star light bulbs, which include compact fluorescents and LEDs among others, can save you $15 in energy costs for each bulb you replace and last 10 to 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs. All of this good news for your budget has the environmental side effect of saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by thousands of pounds.

Why not walk or bike when you are close enough to do so and buy a fuel-efficient vehicle for the places that are farther away? Walking and biking are both great low-impact forms of exercise, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, help you lose weight and tone up, increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Cars, on the other hand, are expensive. With gas costs rising all the time, it just makes sense to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. While many of these vehicles may be more expensive upfront, the gas savings are likely to make up for it in the long run. Switching from a 17-mpg vehicle to a 24-mpg vehicle will average out to about $1,000 saved on gas each year. Of course, the reduced fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions will have the environment getting healthier right alongside you and your wallet.

Why not weatherproof your home and adjust your thermostat? In the average home, almost half of your energy bill is spent on heating and cooling the house. This amount can be reduced by up to 20 percent by sealing drafts and updating or increasing insulation. If you aren't in the house, a lot of that heating and cooling energy is wasted. By adjusting the thermostat a few degrees when you are out (you can purchase a programmable thermostat to do it for you if you have trouble remembering), you can save even more without sacrificing your own comfort. Once again, less energy used not only saves you money but also helps the environment by creating less pollution and using fewer resources.

So, regardless of the side of the fence you choose, why not make some simple changes to save money, live healthier and help the environment? For more information on climate change and what you can do for the environment, visit www.epa.gov. To start living healthier today, walk to Lee Richardson Zoo and visit the animals who will benefit when we all live smarter.

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