What can we do to protect our environment?

Without decisive action to slow emissions of carbon dioxide and other major greenhouse gases, the risks of catastrophic climate change will continue to rise rapidly as the world consumes ever larger quantities of fossil fuels to meet its expanding energy needs. Transforming the global economy and developing new, climate-friendly sources of energy will not be easy; commitment and action is needed at all levels—individual, community, and government. Climate change itself, along with the policy solutions designed to address it, will have significant implications for the health, well-being, and future prosperity of the Latino community. It is therefore vital that our community get engaged and educated on this issue.

To deal effectively with the problem of global warming, broad changes in policy and substantial public investments are essential. Therefore one of the most important contributions individuals and communities can make is urging their elected representatives to take action—and by holding political leaders accountable if they do not. At the same time, individuals and communities can set an example and do their part to directly reduce global warming pollution. Here are some practical ways that we can all start to protect the environment in our daily lives:

Save Energy at Home

  • Unplug unused appliances and completely turn off equipment such as TV’s and stereos even if on stand-by mode.
  • Use appliances more efficiently by setting the temperature of your refrigerator between 38 and 42 degrees F (freezers at 0-5 degrees F), by washing full loads of clothes, and by cleaning the filter in your dryer regularly.
  • Set your thermostat in winter to 68 degrees F or less, 78 degrees or more during the summer, and your water heater at 120-130 degrees F.
  • Use the sunlight wisely to heat your home, and vice-versa use blinds for shading to keep your home cool.
  • Turn off the lights in the rooms you’re not using and right after you leave a room or an office.
  • Seal and better insulate the rooms in your house.
  • Use fluorescent light bulbs
  • Recycle!
  • Improve the fuel economy of your car by going easy on the gas and brakes, by reducing your idling time, and by removing any unnecessary items from your car to help decrease its weight.

Reduce Fuel Consumption

  • Keep your car well tuned by checking your motor oil and air filter often, and by checking your tire pressure regularly.
  • Use public transportation as often as possible (not using your car twice during the week will save 1600 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year) and purchase hybrid cars and renewable fuels whenever possible.
  • Choose a more efficient vehicle (one that gets higher fuel economy) next time you are in the market for a new or used car.
  • Walking and riding your bike is not only reduces fuel consumption but it is also good for your health!