Random Musings

Leaving a Better Planet to our Kids

What changes can you make to impact your world?

In preparation for the “Think Globally, Lead Locally” themed Leadership Conference at UC Merced, I read the book written by our keynote speaker. “Ten Ways to Change the World in Your 20’s“, by Libuse Binder is a book that provides people interested in making a difference a variety of ways to impact their local and then global community. The ideas she describes range from small and easy commitments to harder and more complicated life changes. In my opinion, the best suggestion in the book was when volunteering, first figure out what you want to do and what you are passionate about. Too many people join causes because they think they have to or because their friends are interested but they are not passionate. She says that for every person passionate about ending poverty there is another passionate about saving the environment. Every single person can make a difference in their passion area and they should not feel guilty about making that choice.

After reading the book I decided to make some small changes to help the environment while I figured out my passion area. I felt like this was a good start because even if you are an animal rights activist, reducing your carbon footprint will help keep the world clean and livable for future generations of people and puppies. Here are some of the changes we have made some of which will both help the Earth and save us money:

1. We reduced the amount of water we use. I decreased the frequency that we water our lawn and tried to decrease show time. I also started to shut off the shower while using shampoo and soap instead of  turning the shower head away like I’d done for 20 years. This will save hundreds of gallons of water a month.

2. We raised the temperature 4 degrees on the thermostat to average 80+ degrees throughout the day. This will reduce our energy use significantly and save us some money.

3. We purchased outlet additions that can be switched off in different ways to reduce the energy drain of standby plugs. For example, your TV in the off position and your iPhone chargers unattached to a phone will continue to suck power all day unless unplugged. These outlets attachments from Belkin Conserve will help reduce our energy use and cost even more.

4. We made the commitment to buy carbon offsets annually to help cover the carbon output from our home, car, and airline trips. We used Terrapass.com to add up our carbon footprint and then purchased 35 carbon offsets, which we will do annually. Now we live a “Carbon Balanced” life which means we pay for the carbon we have to use. In order to pay for some off the offsets we now collect and recycle our own cans and bottles. That $5 per month goes directly to our savings for carbon offsets.

5. After reading about how big an impact buying imported food has on the environment we have started to buy more locally sourced fruits and vegetables and in Merced that is super easy. We are also trying to reduce our food waste because discarded food in landfills is a major source of global warming gasses.

6. We put aside $50 per month to donate to a cause of our choosing at DonorsChoose.org

These few small changes will help get us on our way to changing ourselves and soon the people around us. They also make us feel better about who we are as habitants of the Earth. Now we can leave a better world to our kids while working on a college campus to leave better kids to our world. Since we’ve made those changes I have been evaluating what I do with what was the start of this blog; restaurant reviews. With some inspiration from a friend thousands of miles away I think I have figured out a way to make an impact with what I write about on a regular basis. This idea will help me reignite what was a dwindling interest in the posts I was writing weekly in this blog.

What changes can you make to impact your world?

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