Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Don't Black Folks Care About The Environment?!?

Like most black folks, I don't profess to be a huge proponent of conservation, recycling, or other environmental issues. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I care more about other things. Like my family, the community, my health, etc.

Seriously, on the list of Black Folks' Collective Priorities, I'm guessing The Environment is around #278, sandwiched between Vocoder Eradication, and Saving CW's The Game. We like our greens cripsy & folded, rolled & puffed, or seasoned & cooked with hamhocks.

Carbon Offsets my a$$.

That said, it's never too late to chip in and do your part to save the planet and save yourself some money at the same time. Every small step helps. Here's some very basic tips that everyone can do.
If you do leave your PC/laptop turned on - even while at lunch - try to configure it to go into sleep or "stand-by" mode after, say, 15 or 20 minutes of inactivity.

Compost helps improve soil so it holds more water and plants grow better. Allow grass clippings to stay on the lawn, instead of bagging them. The cut grass will decompose and return to the soil naturally. Food scraps and kitchen waste also make good compost, and you save money on fertilizers or other additives.

The average washing machine uses 40.9 gallons of water per load. To achieve even greater savings, wash only full loads of laundry or be sure to choose the appropriate load size on the washing machine.

Surge protectors consume electricity even when nothing is connected to them, so it's a good idea to unplug items like cell phone chargers and iPod chargers when not in use.

Help protect the environment when you shop. Keep reusable bags on your car seat or near your door so they are easy to grab when you go. And you can even combine shopping bags - just tell the cashier that you don't need a bag, then put all your purchases together in one bag.

A full bathtub requires about 70 gallons of water, but taking a five-minute shower saves water by using 10 to 25 gallons.

Screen saver software does not save energy. It's much better to turn off your monitor when you take a break.

Run your dishwasher only when it's full. Don't pre-rinse dishes - tests show pre-rinsing doesn't improve dishwasher cleaning, and you'll save as much as 20 gallons of water per load.

Don't fertilize before a rain storm. Your fertilizer - along with your money - can just wash off your lawn and down the storm drain. Fertilizer runoff can pollute rivers, lakes, and bays, and cause problems in recreational areas or fishing grounds.
Something I personally plan on doing soon is having an energy audit of my house. This involves a professional home energy auditor who comes to your house to help you identify energy drains, such as holes or gaps in sealing, and energy hogs, such as inefficient heating and cooling systems and appliances, in your home. Even better, in my county, you can get an interest-free loan for all suggested fixes that can be rolled into your property tax bill in reasonably increments. This audit costs between between $300 and $700, but when coupled with the fixes, can save you thousands in energy costs over the years.

Either way, do something.

Question: Why do you think black folks don't get too involved in environmental issues? Got any other energy saving tips for Earth Day?!?

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