This week's challenge: What steps can you take to become a more thoughtful steward of your energy use at home?
Welcome to Week 4 of the UUCC 30-Day Sustainability Challenge!
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Our homes provide lots of opportunities to make environmentally conscious decisions. From the products we buy to the cleaning supplies we use to the landscaping choices we make, there are so many earth-friendly changes we could be making. It is easy to become overwhelmed.
To narrow things down, this week the Challenge will focus on our home energy use. We hope you will take the opportunity to examine how you are using energy and look for ways to use less or to use it more efficiently.
Simple things like changing out lightbulbs and unplugging electronics are a good start. If you are more ambitious you can take on weatherization tasks like sealing cracks and adding insulation. You may be able to find energy-free ways to get things done like hanging clothes on the line to dry or using a broom instead of a vacuum. There is something that everyone can do.
This two-minute video from IGS Energy explains energy conservation and energy efficiency and why both are needed as we strive to go green at home.
There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for creating eco-friendly living spaces. In this 35-minute podcast from Everyday Green Home, Marla Esser Cloos and Tony Pratte discuss ideas for incrementally “greening up” our homes according to our needs and budgets.
Small, everyday changes in your power consumption can be easier to make than you think. This blog post (about a 10-minute read) from Constellation Energy contains 31 tips, plus a few bonus suggestions, for saving energy at home.
Here are some things that you can do this week that will help you go green at home:
- Sign up for an Energy Audit from Consumers Energy: https://www.consumersenergy.com/residential/save-money-and-energy/assessments/home-energy-analysis or do a DIY Energy Walkthrough of your living space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4YG9Cu0UI4
- Register for a Sustainability Workshop for Home Products at Bee Joyful, Michigan's First Zero Waste Shop & Refillery, located in downtown Kalamazoo! https://www.eventbrite.com/o/bee-joyful-shop-31464294025
- No Mow May One of the easiest things you can do to have a more sustainable home this month is to do nothing to your yard. First launched in 2019 by the botanical charity Plantlife, No Mow May is a campaign that encourages gardeners to not mow their lawn during the month of May, in order to let wildflowers bloom and provide a nectar feast for pollinators such as honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees, butterflies and moths, and beetles. And not mowing uses no energy at all! Learn more here: https://www.discoverwildlife.com/how-to/wildlife-gardening/no-mow-may/
- May 15 - Downtown Plant Swap Wanna See My Planties and Bee Joyful Shop are hosting a plant swap from 2-4 PM at 243 S Kalamazoo Mall in Kalamazoo. Bring a Plant, Leave with a Plant! (Plants must be pest-free & healthy.)
- May 15- City of Portage Garlic Mustard Pull at South Westnedge Park Garlic mustard is the most destructive invasive plant in Portage, with its rapid growth impeding native plants. Volunteer with the City of Portage Environmental Board to learn how to identify garlic mustard, remove it and properly dispose of it. All ages are welcome to participate. All garlic mustard pulls take place from 9 AM - 12 PM. Connect with the City of Portage's Environmental Board to learn about other opportunities.
16. Examine your energy use with a home audit and rethink how you use your appliances and other electrical devices.
17. Invest in one new energy-saving product for your home.
18. Find an energy-free alternative for one of your at-home activities.
19. Adopt a strategy to use less hot water.
. Plant something- a tree, some flowers, a veggie garden, a pot of herbs on your window sill. Growing things is good for the Earth and good for you.
Extra Credit: Inspire others by sharing a photo of something you have done to go green at home on social media or email a photo to email@example.com and we will post it on our Facebook Page. #sustainabilitychallenge2022
11. Use the car less; bike or walk to do an errand if you can.
12. If you have to drive, plan ahead so you can accomplish several errands or appointments in one trip.
13. Incorporate some gas-saving habits when driving.
14. Heading in the same direction as someone else? Organize a carpool or utilize other ride-share options.
15. Try using public transportation for a trip around town; consider taking the train instead of flying if you are going out of town.
Extra Credit: Inspire others by sharing a photo of YOU walking, biking, or using some other form of active transportation instead of driving on social media or email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it on our Facebook Page. #sustainabilitychallenge2022
6. Talk about sustainability or climate change with a friend, neighbor, or family member.
7. Be a Climate Voter!
8. Contact an elected official and let them know that environmental issues are important to you.
9. Join or sign up for action alerts from an environmental advocacy group.
10. Donate your time or money to an organization working to fight climate change.
Extra Credit: Visit the UU Community Church table at Portage Green-A-Thon on May 1 and take a selfie at our "Be An Earth Advocate" photo booth. Post the picture to social media or email it to email@example.com and we will post it on our Facebook Page. #sustainabilitychallenge2022
1. Avoid buying things with unnecessary packaging and take your own reusable bags to the store.
2. Have a Buy-Nothing Day (or week).
3. Spring clean your closet and donate items to a thrift store.
4. Buy a planned purchase second-hand.
5. Put together and carry a Reusable Kit with a travel cup/water bottle, reusable containers for leftovers, a cloth napkin, reusable cutlery, and cloth shopping bags.
Extra Credit: Inspire others by sharing a photo of your Reusable Kit on social media or email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it on our Facebook Page. #sustainabilitychallenge2022