Updated: Mar 2, 2021
By Kaylee Wei
May 22, 2020
Elbow Greetings. Photograph: Wix
Helping the environment during quarantine is easier than you think! Satellite images from NASA reveal that carbon emissions have plummeted (by up to 25% in China!) due to decreased transportation. However, water and electricity usage has spiked. The EPA disclosed that a majority of the U.S.’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels; coupled with all of the water being transported to millions of houses countrywide, we are still spewing tons of carbon into the air. Here are some tips for how you can help the environment and your utility bill in the comfort of your own home:
1. Unplug your devices
Instantly reduce your electricity waste by unplugging your devices, especially at night. A powerstrip will let you connect multiple devices to the same outlet and switch power on or off to all attached devices.
2. Go plant-based
Quarantine time is a great opportunity to learn some new recipes. Animal-sourced foods require much more water, space, and resources than plant-based foods. To meet rising demands for meat, we burn and clear millions of acres of forest for more cattle space; in fact, 27% of Earth’s land is used solely for livestock grazing. Additionally, cattle contributes to greenhouse gases, directly from their wastes and indirectly from the hefty meat processings and shipments. Many animals also live in inhumane conditions due to the increased care costs from rising demands.
3. Binge less
The Internet is crucial in our lives. However, scrolling through TikTok and binging Netflix does impact the environment! The Internet is fueled by electricity, which is fueled by fossil fuels. In fact, the Internet and electronic devices now account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions. A simple way to combat this problem is to shut off your devices and pick up a good book to read.
4. Turn off the tap
You can instantly save hundreds of gallons of water just by turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, washing your face, or rinsing your dishes (although a dishwasher is better!). According to the EPA, faucets use about 2 gallons of water per minute; those extra seconds and drips will add up throughout the year!
5. Turn off the AC
It’s getting hotter and hotter as summer approaches. However, blasting the AC will drastically increase your electricity bill. You can help by simply using the AC less or by drawing the curtains, closing the blinds, and opening windows. Fans are also a great, cheaper alternative.
We can all work together to fight climate change and be a little greener. In the U.S., the average annual carbon footprint of just one person is about 16 tons. Your habits WILL impact the earth, and your efforts WILL make a difference!
“11 Actions for the Planet during a Pandemic.” Earth Day, Earth Day, 19 Mar. 2020, www.earthday.org/11-actions-for-the-planet-during-a-pandemic/.
Crotta, Carol. “11 Ways To Save Water At Home.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 31 Mar. 2015, www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2015/03/31/11-ways-to-save-water-at-home/#25d7d717166c.
Griffiths, Sarah. “Why Your Internet Habits Are Not as Clean as You Think.” BBC Future, BBC, 5 Mar. 2020, www.bbc.com/future/article/20200305-why-your-internet-habits-are-not-as-clean-as-you-think.
“Learn about Energy and Its Impact on the Environment.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 12 Aug. 2019, www.epa.gov/energy/learn-about-energy-and-its-impact-environment.
Ritchie, Hannah. “Half of the World's Habitable Land Is Used for Agriculture.” Our World in Data, Global Change Data Lab, 11 Nov. 2019, ourworldindata.org/global-land-for-agriculture.
Ritchie, Hannah. “Where in the World Do People Emit the Most CO2?” Our World in Data, Global Change Data Lab, 4 Oct. 2019, ourworldindata.org/per-capita-co2.
Snowden, Scott. “How To Stay Green While Living In Quarantine.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Apr. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/scottsnowden/2020/04/13/how-to-stay-green-while-living-in-quarantine/#72f236c87ce5.