What can I do to make a difference

What Can I Do to Make a Difference?

We have been getting lots of “what can I do where I live” type questions. So after conducting a straw poll of the the Rabbits, here is a list of what we suggest that you can do to help the environment (short of moving to Dancing Rabbit).

#1 Reduce your automobile use.

  • Try living without a car. If you live within a metropolitan area with a good mass transit system, use it as your main means of transportation then rent a car or join a car co-op or car share to fill in where MT doesn’t work.
  • Even if you have a car, use public transportation as much as possible and join/start a co-op and car share.
  • If most of your driving is in town, own a small high mileage inexpensive vehicle and rent a larger vehicle for the occasional long trip.
  • Walk and bicycle as much as is safe and healthy for you.
  • Buy enough groceries for a week or a month instead of driving to the store every day.
  • Combine errands into one long trip rather than a lot of short ones.
  • Take charter bus trips to popular destinations rather than driving your personal vehicle.
  • Keep your vehicle properly tuned and use long running synthetic oils and a cleanable oil filter.

#2 Reduce your fossil fuel consumption

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent.
  • Plant bushes and trees to shade your house during summer to ease the load on the AC.
  • Keep the thermostat set to 78 during the summer and 65 during the winter.
  • Install low wattage ceiling fans.
  • Install a flash-type, instant on, water heater.
  • Install the smallest, energy conserving refrigerator that you can.
  • Turn off lights and unplug transformers (wall warts) when not in use.
  • Use battery powered (with rechargeable batteries) clocks, timers, etc. instead of the plug in type. Or better yet, use mechanical, gravity or wind-up clocks and timers.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Insulate your home better.
  • Use a pressure cooker.
  • Use a “haybox” in your kitchen.
  • Put insulated curtains, or just insulation, over the windows in the heat or cold.
  • Cooperatively use appliances with neighbors (lawnmower, washing machine, etc.)
  • Don’t use electricity for heat (e.g. stoves, hair dryers, home heating etc.)
  • Line dry your clothes.
  • Turn off your computer when you aren’t using it and/or get a laptop
  • Install low flow faucets and shower heads.
  • Install shut off valves on shower heads.
  • Take the train instead of the plane.

#3 Become aware of your food choices

  • Get as much of your food as you can from local, in-season sources.
  • Choose organic food over food grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides whenever possible.
  • Eat less meat and other animal products.
  • Use less preprocessed food. Buy in bulk and cook from scratch.
  • Participate in a food-buying club or join a food co-op that gives you access to bulk foods.
  • Start a food-buying club. Find twenty or thirty people who want to buy food in bulk. Form a buying club and order from one of the large national bulk distributors such as UNFI or Azure.
  • Join an organic CSA (community supported agriculture) in your area.
  • If you have a yard, plant edible landscaping. (Turn your lawn into a vegetable garden.)
  • Start an organic community garden.

#4 Start using renewable sources of energy

  • If your climate permits it install a solar domestic hot water system and a grid inter-tie solar power system.
  • If you live in a windy area and have the ability to put up a tower, install a small wind generator.
  • Buy/build a solar cooker to use whenever the weather permits.
  • Buy electricity from green energy companies (in states that allow it).
  • Purchase “Green Tags” or “Renewable Energy Certificates” in places that don’t sell green energy.

#5 Prevent deforestation

  • Use recycled lumber for building, remodeling, or home-improvement projects.
  • If starting a new construction project, look into strawbale, rammed earth, cob, or other lumber non-intensive building techniques as a possible building option in your area.
  • Make your own lumber by hiring a sawmill to convert trees on your building site into lumber.

#6 Reduce the amount of waste you produce

  • Recycle.
  • Buy bulk foods instead of prepackaged.
  • Take bags with you when you shop.
  • Buy less. Repair more.
  • Buy stuff used – clothes, car, computer, etc.