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Every Day Can Be Earth Day!
Friday, July 5, 2013

Hey Readers!

The other day on Facebook, I saw that the mayor of Calgary, Mayor Naheed Nenshi posted a message on his page requesting that all Calgarians to reduce their electricity usage.  Here it is:

"Good evening folks, a message to all Calgarians - PLEASE REDUCE YOUR ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION IMMEDIATELY. There is extreme pressure on our power system due to today's heat. I urge you to turn off unnecessary lights and put off using your washer/dryer, dishwasher and stove until at least after 7:00pm. In other words, it's a great day for a BBQ. Rolling blackouts were initiated in Edmonton to manage the situation. The Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO) has said flood-impacted areas will be exempted from rolling blackouts. Thank you for helping." - Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary, Alberta.

  This inspired me to write this blog, not just for those in Southern Alberta, but anywhere around the world you may be!  I am keeping in mind that some places in the world do not allow you to have clothes lines outside, but there are other alternatives to minimizing your electricity usage. Additionally, I've decided to take the initiative and provide some helpful tips on saving water, the environment, and money as well!

Here are some tips, in no particular order:
This is generally what the average North American consumes, electricity-wise.

-When you leave a room, turn off the lights.  If you're afraid of the dark, get a flashlight.

- I heard that unplugging electronics while not in use is helpful.  For example, if you have an alarm clock, and you usually use your cell phone as an alarm (which I personally prefer) or anything else to tell the time, unplug your alarm clock and toss it, for you don't need an extra electronic device needlessly sucking the energy from your home.  

-When you leave the house, turn down/off your air conditioner.  Yes, it may feel good to come back home to a cold house on a hot summer's day, but when you're not home, it's only keeping your possessions cool and your energy bill higher.

- When doing the laundry, wash your clothes in cold water.  It's actually better for the fibres, therefore, making your clothes last longer.  As for drying, if you cannot hang your clothes on an outdoor clothes line (due to the laws in your region), you can hang a few light weight items in your shower, and sweaters are to be laid flat to dry anyways (prevents stretching). If you make your clothes last longer, that will save you money on buying new ones.  

-If you're reading, or watching a video online, turn off your television.  Unless the channel you're on is a music channel, you really won't need it when you're reading.  As for when you go out of your way to watch a quick video online, you're realistically not paying attention to the t.v. at the same time.

- Make small investments in solar-powered window chargers.  They take the energy from the sun once stuck to the window and help charge up your electronics without using electricity, while saving you money!  I haven't seen these in stores, but I know you can buy these online- just type "Solar window charger" into your search engine and they will pop up.  I've seen prices range from $15- $40+. The ones with the USB ports are the most universal, as I believe the regular chargers are mainly for iPhones and Androids. 

-While brushing your teeth, the water doesn't really need to be running at full force-or at all- while the toothbrush is in your mouth.  Turn on the tap when you need water to rinse something.

  Time-saving showers 101:
1. Turn on the water, wet your hair and body.
2. Turn off the water. Shampoo your hair.
3. Turn on the water and rinse your hair.
4. Turn off the water. Condition your hair.  Shower cap on to keep heat in to activate the conditioner.
5. Turn on the water and soap up/exfoliate your body- while you're conditioning your hair.  Brush your teeth in the shower.
6. After all that is done, obviously rinse your hair and body, towel dry.

  Showering like this should realistically take no longer than 15 minutes.  I understand that absent-mindedly standing in warm, running water for an hour first thing in the morning feels good, but when you look at your water bill at the end of the month- probably not the same feeling.  Try to make a game out of challenging yourself to do as much as you need to in the shower, in the least amount of time while using less water every time.. but please, do thoroughly shower- nobody needs to smell your b.o. 

Green Bin and portable organics bin.
  On to recycling. In my neighborhood, we are allowed to fill a maximum of 2 garbage bags, and are encouraged to recycle/ green bin as much as we possibly can.  If we go over the 2-bag limit, there is a fine.  This is one way recycling saves you money.  Another way it saves you money is that you're using less garbage bags because everything else you would have put in garbage bags went into reusable recycling bins.  

  In terms of using your Green Bin (also known as the organics bin), did you know that an estimated 30% or more of your waste is compostable?  If you're in one of those lucky regions where you don't have to purchase compostable bags to line your Green Bin with, you can improvise by lining it with newspaper that you would have tossed in recycling anyways. Again- saving money, saving the planet in a small, yet big way!

  If you find the smell of your Green Bin unbearable (I think most of us agree that the smell is terrible), sprinkle some good ol' baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) inside it to neutralize the smell!  It's natural, and a box only costs a dollar or two. 

Blood pH chart- I live by this!
  Speaking of baking soda, I'm a little in love with the stuff.  You can use in over a hundred different ways and it's super cheap!  I won't list them all here, but if you're curious, you can check them out on the Arm & Hammer website, where I was initially inspired.  One tip I found out somewhere else was that if you put a tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate into a tall glass of water and drink it, it helps neutralize your blood pH.

  For those who know I live in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, it seems kind of random that I'd follow the Mayor of Calgary on Facebook, but I admire his work, especially after seeing how quickly that city picked up after that huge flood just two weeks ago- so why not?  I also follow the man on Twitter.  Besides the fact I plan to move out there anyways, so it's good to be informed about my future city. Yes, I, Jersey Girl in Canada, am relocating to Calgary- you heard it here first!

Before I sign off, I found this video interesting- the guy's illustration and explanation in the beginning of the video about keeping your attic cold helps. 

  I know this blog was a bit all over the place, but I do hope that you have gained some helpful tips to apply to your life.  Either way, always remember that every day can be Earth Day! Use less electricity, be environmentally friendly, save money along the way! 



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