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Beacon Senior News

Go green this summer

Mar 25, 2020 12:24PM ● By Kimberly Blaker

It’ll take drastic measures to stop global warming.

Despite heroic efforts by scientists, climate advocates and the best intentions among citizens, climate change isn’t slowing down.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported last year that “the physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels.”

One key indicator of global warming is the record-breaking sea-level rise. Additionally, there’s been a warming trend that’s lasted for 20 years with “exceptionally high land and ocean temperatures over the past four years.”

Since 1994, we’ve also seen roughly a 12 percent rise in carbon dioxide levels, according to the WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018.

The WMO statement identified the many impacts this warming trend is already having on our planet and will continue to have with increasing frequency and severity. These include:

1. Natural disasters

2. Loss of food resulting from climate threats to agriculture

3. Displacement of human populations resulting from disasters

4. Health issues arising from heat and air quality

5. Numerous environmental impacts, including a decrease of oxygen in both coastal and open oceans, as well as a significant threat to ecosystems

But global warming isn’t our only threat. Scientists have long warned of the decline in our natural world. The impact of this decline is already seen in 1 million animal and plant species at risk of extinction. The end result of these two crises will be catastrophic to human survival as well.

It’s going to take drastic measures both nationally and globally to halt global warming and the human imprint on our planet. Still, we can all daily do our part to reduce the rate of acceleration, and strive for a sustainable planet.

GO-GREEN TIPSgo green less water

During the warmer months, we contribute to global warming in ways that differ from colder seasons. The good news is that spring and summer are the perfect times of year to implement many strategies to reduce our imprint.

Best of all, most of these habits are better for your wallet, too, and can add up to sizable savings. So make a resolution to implement the following go-green tips:

Transportation.

Make nearby errands or visiting family and friends a part of your exercise regimen, by either walking or riding your bike. For more distant treks, use public transportation resources such as Grand Valley Transit (GVT) or All Points Transit (APT).

Electricity.

Run all heat-producing appliances such as the dishwasher, oven and dryer at night to reduce your air conditioning use. Reduce or eliminate dryer use altogether by hanging your clothes in the fresh air to dry.

Keep summer heat out of your home by closing south-facing window coverings, or where direct sunlight comes in. This will help reduce your air conditioning or swamp-cooler use. Where there’s no direct sunlight, open window coverings to allow light into your home and eliminate the need to use electrical lighting during the day.

When you run your air conditioner or swamp cooler, set the temperature up a few degrees warmer than normal. At night, blow a fan toward your bed. That way, you can keep the air cooler set at a higher temperature and still sleep comfortably.

Water.

xeroscaping

Xeriscaping is an excellent environmental option in Western Colorado. Consult with the experts at Bookcliff Gardens or Camelot Gardens to find the best native, drought-resistant plants to use in your water-wise landscape.

For those with lawns, try to cut back on watering. When you water, do so only after dusk. This will maximize your yard’s and plants’ ability to use the water, therefore reducing the amount and frequency of watering needed.

Another option is using large areas of drought-tolerant ground cover in your yard. Planting drought-tolerant plants in decorative garden areas will reduce water usage as well.

Locally grown food.

Shop farmers’ markets for your fruits and veggies. Grand Junction’s Market on Main starts July 9, and Palisade, Fruita and Delta’s markets start in June. By doing so, you reduce the use of fossil fuels and pollution that results from groceries being shipped to stores from across the country. Another option is to plant a backyard garden or join a nearby community garden.

Buy used.

Garage sales and flea markets abound throughout the warmer months. Reduce both yours and others’ imprints on the planet by buying and using goods that would otherwise fill landfills. Not only does this reduce waste, but it also decreases environmental pollutants that result from manufacturing new products. Heirlooms for Hospice, arc Thrift Stores and many other second-hand stores provide this opportunity as well.

Chemicals.

During warmer seasons, we use a variety of chemicals to treat our lawns and plants. We also use them to protect our yards, homes and ourselves from pests and mosquitoes. Look for green products that don’t negatively impact our environment or the people and wildlife around us.

Learn more Go Green tips.