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Green Hills

Take Action

What Can I Do?

There are many things that you can do to make a positive impact on our planet. 
Read through each category below to learn more and to take action.

To download an action plan, click here.

Solar Panels

Electricity and Fossil Fuel Consumption

  • Use LED lighting

  • Shorten showers

  • Use drapes and blinds for cooling and insulation

  • Consider 100% renewable electricity  (papowerswitch.com).
    Remember: the greenest electricity is the electricity you don’t use

  • Natural gas and propane is cleaner than oil or coal, but still produces carbon dioxide.
    Try to limit its use and see if your supplier offers ‘carbon offsets’.

  • Do your laundry in cold water - most clothes will clean up fine!

  • Choose EnergyStar appliances and check out how energy-efficient your house is by using this on-line tool

  • Utilize programmable thermostats
  • Use ceiling fans to circulate warm air/cool air and better equilibrate the temperature.

  • Plant shade trees – deciduous trees that shade the house in summer, let the sunlight warm your house in winter, and bring beauty and wildlife to your garden.

  • Use public transportation if possible; combine trips; drive economically.

Water

  • Fix leaking taps – one dripping at one drop per second will waste 300 gallons a year 

  • Use a plug in wash basins and sinks rather than washing under a running tap 

  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool 

  • Add food wastes to your compost pile instead of the garbage disposal. Don't have a compost pile? Learn how cool composting is HERE.

  • When using a washing machine or dishwasher, always run a full load 

  • In the yard:

    • Plant perennials and native plants rather than ‘thirsty’ annuals - better for wildlife too! (www.wildlifegardening.org).   

    • Water plants in the evening after the heat of the day;  watch sprinkler use 

Water
Plastic Water Bottles

Recycling and Reducing Plastic Pollution

  • Focus on minimizing your use of plastic: 

    • Buy liquids like olive oil, wine, etc. in glass not plastic

    • Avoid single-use plastics (straws, plastic forks, etc.)

    • Use compostable trash bags

    • Use reusable bags at the supermarket; avoid plastic bags

    • Store leftover food in glass/reusable jars

    • Use dishwasher and laundry detergent in ‘pods’, not liquid from big plastic jugs

    • Use tablet soap not liquid soap in plastic dispensers

  • ALWAYS recycle: usually plastic numbered 1, 2 or 5 are the most valuable. Never put plastic bags in with other plastics - they break the recycling machines!

  • Recycle plastic bags at supermarket drop-off sites.

  • Recycle old computers, cellphones etc. at Staples or another reputable recycler

  • Install a compost bin to compost organic kitchen & garden waste  (www.howtocompost.org)

  • More on plastic and recycling here

Protecting Rainforests

  • Before buying wood for flooring, furniture, etc., verify that it is not illegally felled wood – look for the Forest Stewardship Council logo.

  • Don’t constantly upgrade your cell phone – its manufacture demands the mining of certain rare elements found in (forested) West Africa. 

  • Check that the beef you eat and the soybeans you consume are not cultivated on former forest land in South America. 

  • Drink shade-grown coffee. This coffee – grown in rainforests as opposed to land cleared of the forest – tastes better and helps preserve the environment for many species of wildlife, including many of ‘our’ birds that spend the winter there.

  • Learn about the wildlife trade: National Geographic's 'Wildlife Watch' and the Environmental Investigation Agency

  • Eight tips to help the rainforests from EcoWatch

National park
Coral Reef Island

Protecting Coral Reefs

  • Choose sustainably fished/farmed sea food. If you eat fish that was caught sustainably, you know you are conserving God’s creation and helping feed someone’s family. If you eat fish that has harvested unsustainably, you are not only driving that species towards extinction – you are quite likely to be depriving someone poorer than yourself of a livelihood. Look for Marine Stewardship Council certification, and when shopping or if you're out for a meal, check the eco-friendliness of the fish by checking out Seafood Watch

  • Reduce your carbon footprint: corals are killed by high sea temperatures and are also endangered with carbon dioxide dissolving in the ocean and making the water more acidic. Look at the 'Electricity and Fossil Fuel Consumption' panel at the top of the page.

  • "OFFSET" YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT: learn more with the Christian group Climate Stewards USA

  • The acidification crisis explained here

Compost

What's this about composting?

  • Convert unwanted plant material into nutrient-rich soil for your flowers, shrubs and vegetables - and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time!

  • If you have a garden/yard then there are certain to be a wide variety of things that you can make into beautiful nutritious soil: annual weeds, autumn leaves, cuttings, flowers past their best, lawn mowings (if free of chemicals), veggie food scraps, and more. Confine them to a bin, keep the mixture well-mixed by turning the heap in a tumbler or manually with a spade, and 6-9 months later, voila! Brand new soil.

  • If you don't have a place to grow things outside, there are plenty of companies who'll collect your banana peel and potato skins. We have researched who collects where and what you'll get back ... click here for the compost makers who service homes, schools and parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

  • The most authoritative site on composting is probably the EPA site. We are also experienced compost heap builders and will advise you as much as we are able. Write to info@EcoPhilly.org.

Gardening
Vegetarian Food

Our Diet

  • Eating low on the food chain means that less energy & water have been used. As an example, it takes 1, 857 gallons of water to raise one pound of beef and 469 gallons to raise a pound of chicken - as opposed to only 43 gallons to grow a pound of beans.

  • Buy organic fruit and veggies to reduce pesticides in the environment.

  • Buy locally grown things - reduce ‘food miles.’

  • Don't waste food. It's a sin to do this when we have so many neighbors going hungry ... and rotting food produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

  • Drink shade-grown coffee, choose wine with REAL corks.

  • Seek out seafood that has been fished or farmed in an environmentally friendly way. Look for Marine Stewardship Council certification, and when shopping or if you're out for a meal, check the eco-friendliness of the fish by checking out Seafood Watch

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