It is Earth Day today! If you know us here at Water Monkey you know that we are obsessed with the outdoors, conservation and tackling the issue of climate change. You may think that a wakeboard camp that burns thousands of gallons of fuel every summer would not be the best messenger for saving the planet but since our first summer we have been a zero-carbon company through purchasing carbon offsets, making our buildings more energy efficient and educating our campers and staff about being responsible citizens of our world.
Here are five simple things you can do on Earth Day to help the planet:
Offset your yearly CO2 output.
You create CO2 when you drive, heat/cool your home, take a shower, turn on the TV or charge our cell phones etc. You can use the EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator to figure out how much CO2 your family produces: https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/
Then go donate to offset that CO2: https://www.cooleffect.org/ . I have been researching these charities for over a decade and Cool Effect puts almost all of its donations towards CO2 offsets, not other unrelated expenses.
Stay put today!
Driving around needlessly creates tons of CO2, literally. Think about skipping that extra trip to the grocery store, biking/walking somewhere instead of driving or carpooling with neighbors to reduce the gas you burn.
Switch your home power to WIND!
No, you do not need to instal a windmill to do this. There is an amazing organization that takes over your monthly electric bill and pairs your consumption with wind power being generated around the country. This is a great way to eliminate a lot of your CO2 emissions every month with just a click of a button. Plus, their service can save you money by automatically picking the cheapest provider in your area.
Just go to their website, enter your electric utility info and sign up. They will source 50% of your energy from wind for free. For a small fee they will source 100% from wind.
Their online dashboard shows you your monthly impact:
Eliminate ‘ghost’ electricity use in your home.
About 25% of your power use every day is from devices that are plugged in but not being used. Getting rid of this waste not only helps save the planet by reducing your electricity use, it also can save you a significant amount of money.
The biggest culprits are cable boxes, computers (and accessories) and chargers (phone, tablet etc). These devices are sucking power 24/7 as long as they are plugged into the wall. Here is what you can do:
Unplug devices that are rarely used. Yes it is inconvenient to have to plug something in when you have to use it but if it goes unused for more than a day or so it is worth pulling the plug.
Use power strips on devices you use more often. Plug your computer, printer, speakers etc into a power strip and flip that switch when you are not at the computer. It takes seconds to turn the power back on and it will save you hours of juice that would otherwise be wasted. My power strip on my nightstand has six devices on it and only goes on at night saving about 16 hours of use every day!
Check the settings on your devices. Cable boxes notoriously use about the same power as a standard refrigerator. Most have an energy saving setting that reduces power use after an hour or two of not being used. (Your DVR won’t miss a single show.)
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
We drill these three words into our campers’ heads all summer.
Use less ‘stuff’! Carry a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Use washable tupperware instead of plastic ziplocks. Make your home more energy efficient by insulating pipes, replacing all lightbulbs with cheap LEDs, minimizing your use of air conditioning and turning your water temperature down a few degrees. Simple steps can make a big difference.
Reuse everything! Single use plastics are choking our waterways and destroying our environment. Repurpose stuff that you would normally throw away (I love using plastic packaging as trash bags and turning old clothes into mountain bike grease rags).
Recycle what you can. If your community recycles you should take advantage of it. Clean and sort everything the best you can and remove labels and stickers from plastic, glass and tin products. Grocery store plastic backs can be dropped off at the grocery store or your local WalMart for recycling.
There is so much more you can do but just thinking about your impact and getting started is a major step. Happy Earth Day. Get outside!