On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon I saw and felt firsthand the effects of climate change. With temperatures above 100 degrees and no precipitation for months, Portland has taken on an apocalyptic appearance that includes brown grass, withered flowers, and people sheltering during the day to live a nocturnal lifestyle. Most residences in the Pacific Northwest do not have air conditioning, because in the past, they just did not need it. Now, the heat is dangerous for the people living in this area, because they have no way of avoiding the extreme temperatures.
As the earth continues to heat up (think greenhouse gases) and ecological disasters persist around the globe, we encourage everyone to do their part to help lessen the effects of global climate change. Make no mistake about it, our world is changing rapidly, and our future generations will pay a heavy price for our misuse of the environment.
We here in the Rockaways have experienced the effects of climate change firsthand, as we have lived through Hurricane Sandy and continue to battle the increasing sea levels with temporary solutions such as jetty installments and sand replenishment. Our current news reports depict the ongoing heat wave and severe drought out West that is causing major water ways (e.g. Lake Mead and the Colorado River) to dry up. The continued rising temperatures and related drought are adversely affecting the agriculture and fishing industries and creating an overall environmental disaster that is disturbing the daily living conditions for many citizens that is equivalent to the effects experienced during the Dust Bowl era.
See the simple policies/strategies that we can follow, during the summer and throughout the year, to help our environment and reduce the effects of Climate Change.
Replace your Air Filters – Replacing a dirty filter with a clean one can lower your air-conditioner’s energy use by 15%
Choose LED lightbulbs – LED bulbs are the most energy efficient lighting option currently available. They use 15% less energy, last 25 times higher and run much cooler than standard incandescent bulbs.
Use your thermostat wisely – Set your thermostat as high as comfortable possible in the summer. Ideally 78 degrees F. Keep your house warmer when no one is home.
Close your blinds – Close your blinds or drapes in the daytime to keep out the greenhouse effect of the sun. Southern and western facing walls take the brunt of the sun’s heat, so invest in good shades and drapes for the window on these walls and keep them closed at the hottest time of the day.
Wash Strategically – Use cold water for your washing machine, clothes dryer and dishwashers. Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes. After washing clothes hang them up to dry. These measures will save a ton of heat.
Plant a Tree – In addition to planting a tree on your own property there are plenty of organizations that will plant a tree for a fee. Check out ‘Plant a Billion Trees – The Nature Conservancy’ website and have a tree or several trees planted anywhere in the world for $50 per tree. Remember - trees provide food and oxygen and help combat climate change.
Leave the car at home – Think about walking or biking to the store, church, or other local place. By reducing the # of weekend cars parked in an average parking lot by 50% we can reduce tons of CO2 emissions annually. In addition to combating climate change, walking and biking will improve your health and save you money.
These are just a few easy steps we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint and slow the effects of climate change. I recommend that we all become advocates of sustainability to improve the conditions of our environment for the future. Please take the time to read more about climate change and what you can do to save the Earth.
Let’s work together on the environment to ensure a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.