Irreversible damage…

Are we causing irreversible damage to our earth? Are we causing global warming? I think so, and it’s our responsibility to do something about it.

Check out the latest: Ancient Ice Shelf Breaks Free…

Here are a few simple things you can do to reduce your energy consumption and help solve the climate crisis. They are all simple and cheap ideas, so you have no excuse not to try them! And you’ll probably even save money if you follow this tips. (or click here)

1) Conserve hot water: heating hot water is a large source of home energy use, so take shorter or cooler showers, install low-flow shower-heads, wash your clothes in cold water, and wash dishes by hand instead of using your dishwasher.

we use our dishwasher as a cabinet

and we wash all of our clothes in cold water

2) Reduce standby power waste: any appliance with a remote or a clock is always on even when it is “off” and therefore consuming power, so plug your TV, VCR/DVD, microwave and other appliances into powerstrips which you can turn off when you aren’t using the devices

we turn off the power strip whenever we aren’t watching TV
3) Turn off your computer: a lot of people leave there computer on all day and all night, instead turn your computer off when you aren’t using it and turn on low-power mode timers so your computer will automatically hibernate when you are away for a period of time

4) Buy blankets: In the summer, use your air conditioner as little as possible, and in the winter turn down the heat and cuddle under some blankets. Just a few degrees difference can save tons of energy and reduce your heating bills.

our blankets take up our couch, but they sure are nice to cuddle under

5) Stop driving and get a bike!: Americans are both overweight and the largest consumers of energy worldwide. The solution? Buy a bike! A $500 investment in a really nice road bike is much less expensive than car payments or insurance, and you will stay healthy while saving the environment. Build your life around a biking and use it as your main mode of transportation as much as possible.

i do most things by bike instead of by car, even in the winter, including grocery shopping (my bike is the red one in back- isn’t it pretty?)

6) If you have to have a car… make it a small one: Refuse to buy a car that gets less than 30mpg… and if you have enough money, get a hybrid. Our culture and advertising has made us think that “bigger is better” when it comes to transportation, but really, you just look ridiculous driving a pick-up or a Hummer on our country’s smooth streets. And all of you SUV drivers, why oh why? There is no excuse for driving big cars unless you have large families or are using your vehicle regularly for hauling stuff around. Consider why you decided to buy a large car, and if it is for aesthetics or popularity, please please turn it in and get something reasonable.

7) Consume less: Now this is a very very hard thing to change in America’s consumer-driven culture, but consider consuming less. Manufacturing new items uses a lot of energy and materials, and so does packaging and shipping items. So borrow things or rent them, and whenever possible, purchase things used. Shop at thrift stores, buy used cars, and borrow from your friends, family, and neighbors. And don’t buy it unless you really need it.

8 ) Pre-recycle and recycle: Purchase items that have less packaging and have been produced locally, especially when grocery shopping. Locally grown produce has less packaging and travels much less distance, saving tons of energy. And I know you have heard this before, but RECYCLE RECYCLE RECYCLE. Recycling saves energy because re-using resources uses much less energy than gathering new resources.

chicago doesn’t really have a recycling program, so we clean all of our recyclables and save them to bring back to WI where they will actually be recycled… here is our recycling pile in the kitchen

9) Shop with reusable bags: When you go out shopping or to the grocery store, bring reusable bags with you and refuse to put your items in plastic or paper bags.

here are our shopping bags- you can get the Trader Joe’s bag at any TJ store for only $.99

10) Eat less meat: Yes, eating less meat can reduce your energy consumption. It takes a lot more energy to produce and transport meat than to deliver equivalent amounts of protein from plant sources. Grazing land also destroys trees which cuts down on our country’s absorption of carbon dioxide from the environment, which leads to global warming.

11) Use compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs): Compact fluorescent lightbulbs may cost more than traditional lightbulbs, but they last 10 times longer and use 66% less energy, saving you tons of energy and money over their lifetime. So ditch the old bulbs and buy the cool-looking curly ones!

our bathroom had 12 incandescent lightbulbs, so we unscrewed them all and replaced 3 of them with CFLs

12) Support renewable resources: Consider putting solar panels on your home and pay an extra few dollars a month to your electric company to support the creation and use of renewable energy sources.

And last- share this list with your friends and keep learning yourself. It’s time you take responsibility for your energy consumption and your contribution to global warming.


16 thoughts on “Irreversible damage…

  1. So how have you tried to play this out in your life? Given the conservative tendency of many folks in these parts, such things might be even more compelling motivators.

  2. parke, i hope that is a worthy update… and hopefully people will give a few of the tips a try- thanks for the challenge

  3. Great blog Maria! It’s always a challenge to figure out ways of living out the things you believe in. Thanks for the ideas and inspiration – and I loved the pictures!

    It was great to see you guys over break! Talk to you soon.


  4. That’s great, Maria. I think things like this are where meaningful change happens. Thanks for taking extra time on this pictures and all!

  5. Pingback: Tales by the Fire » Blog Archive » A Great Use of a Vox

  6. Thanks for the tips. I have so many plastic bags from the grocery store.I try to reuse them as much as possible. I never thought about taking my own bags to the store. Overall this is just a good post. Thanks!

  7. Great post on a very important issue, especially the practical tips. I use the plastic bags from the grocery store in the bin in my kitchen, instead of buying bin liners.

    My fave is tip no 7 – Consume less. This is good advice on so many levels, not just environmentally. It also incorporates simplicity, good stewardship of your money, etc.

  8. I am extremely encouraged by the support for this blog. It excites me that so many people are willing to take the small practical steps to stop global warming. If you have read this blog and made it to the end of these comments, I really encourage you to share a few of these tips with your friends… it is great if you make a difference, but even better if you bring others along with you. Thank you everyone!

  9. Hey Maria:

    This is Rick, not Nancy. Tremendous post! And loved your pics – espec of your dishwasher. We had a nonfunctional dishwasher for years. Nancy kept saying “let’s replace it or turn it into cabinet space!” So we replaced it… and use it about once a month!

    Here’s another idea for those reading these comments. CO2 emissions are the primary cause of global warming. Many organizations now provide opportunities for people and organizations to reduce their carbon footprint by contributing money for renewable energy production, tree planting, etc. For an example, see:



  10. Maria,
    You made me feel bad so I switched to Tide Coldwater…but I had to get the powder b/c it’s cheaper!!! 🙂 Also, we reuse the plastic bags from the grocery store for our cat litter…so not quite ready to switch to our own bags yet. But we do use the same light bulbs, and have kept our thermostat at 67 throughout this whole winter (which has done wonders for our bill…but not my sense of living in Antartica). 🙂 Not quite ready to give up on the dishwasher, I had to wash dishes all through college and I just don’t have the time anymore for it. Anyway, just thought I’d share! Oh…and we started recycling a long time ago, which has been awesome. 🙂

  11. Pingback: If I Stand » Blog Archive » What I believe is what I do….

  12. Hi I found this blog looking for more information about how electronics use power even when off. I just found out how bad it was a few days ago so I have been telling everyone I know about it. Everything possible has been put into power strips so I can truly shut down all power without plugging/unplugging/replugging over and over.

    I also wrote my Senators and Representative telling them they should join Europe and Australia who are about to require electronics manufactures should be required to make everything use a maximum of 1 watt when off. This will still save electricity so even those who won’t use the powerstrip trick won’t waste as much energy in the future.

    BTW I use regular cheap detergent (arm & hammer unscented) and wash my clothes in cold/cold water and they still get clean. I also dry everything except for bedding on drying racks indoors during the winter. If you are worried about drips set the rack up in your bath tub/shower stall so any drips go down the drain.

  13. I have not gone as far as using our dish washer as a cabinet, but I do open the door during drying. This cuts the drying cycle. I don’t re-use shopping bags, but do return them to the bin at the local grocery. Chicago has set up recycling bins at various parks throughout the city. I live 2 blocks from one and make a trip over to it twice a week on my way to or from work. It has cut our garbage by 2/3. Lugging it up to Wisconsin only burns more fuel. 100 extra pounds in a car decreases gas mileage by 3%. In addition to cutting garbage, if you are a coffee or tea drinker, use the grounds and leaves as compost in your flower pots or beds. If you are in an apartment, give to a neighbor or family member. If you are interested, I found a site called and have a group called Hanging Pears (consisting of myself), for Chicago.

  14. Pingback: VOXTROPOLIS » Blog Archive » Global Warming?

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