Today is Blog Action Day and the topic is the Environment. Unfortunately I'm a little unwell. Not really sick but a little unbalanced (inner ear problem, not mental state LOL) so I'm just doing a broad sweep of what I think you might be able to do to help the environment.
Did you see that both Al Gore and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) received a joint Nobel Peace Prize? link here How cool is that? The really great thing was Gore said the prize must spur action.
So what action should we all be taking?
Well in my humble opinion we need to exercise consumer power and buy products that are environmentally sound. Organic cotton, hemp. Fuel efficient cars. Energy efficient appliances. Pencils and wood products from sustainable sources. Locally grown food. Half the time you can't find anything that isn't made in China, but it doesn't mean you should stop looking. Use the internet, check labels, ASK shop keepers. The big corporations listen to one god and one god only. Money. They only care if you care, so pay attention.
If you are putting in a new heating/cooling system get a quote for geothermal systems. There are all sorts of financing options (Manitoba Hydro give you a loan at low interest which is affordable because your bills should reduce by approximately 70%, possibly more as fuel prices increase). Geothermal systems can heat and cool your house and are very low environmental impact. It is my dream to have this in my house.
Use Norwex (or other microfiber) cleaning products instead of chemicals. I started using the products 3 years ago and although initial outlay is bigger, over time the expense evens out. The main spur for me using these cloths over chemicals was the fact that cancers in women who stayed home was actually higher than those who went out to work. How can our own homes be more toxic than a workplace, unless you live over a radon leak or some sort of chemical dump?
Dry your washing outside. (even if some people think it looks trailer trash)
Walk/cycle when you can. Especially the school run. We teach our kids by example and environmental impact paired with childhood obesity rates suggests this is a good thing if you can do it.
Don't waste water. That's the most important resource on this earth and we might only realise it when it is too late.
Recycle. Compost. Reuse bags and boxes.
Another option is carbon offsetting schemes. Here's one for your computer. It isn't perfect, but every little helps.
I think the main thing we can do is think more about the choices we make. We can't afford to do everything all at once but maybe we can force our governments and corporations to provide us with more environmentally friendly options.
Good luck :)