To be Green in Winter
It is that time of the year where we say our farewells to the warm kisses delivered by the sun, and openly welcome the brisk chill that hugs us, called Winter. With the decrease in temperature comes a semblance of hibernation—we all crawl back into our homes, tinker with the thermostat and spend our days away from work watching movies, decorating for the upcoming Holiday seasons and awaiting new beginnings. But as lovely and cozy as it is, it still comes with a cost. According to Dr. Michael Sivak, founder of Sustainable Worldwide Transportation, “living in cold climates is more energy demanding, and therefore less sustainable.”
Thankfully though, here are ways for us to be more environmentally conscious in the ways we operate during the Winter season.
Refrain from Using the Thermostat
Bear with me! Before we go straight to thermostat, it’s important to bundle up, first!
Cranking up your thermostat and warming up your place uses more energy than it takes to cool down a space, with an air conditioner for example.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use it, but ideally, it shouldn’t be your first resort. Instead, wear sweaters and fuzzy socks throughout your space and invest in cozy quilts that keep you warm and comfortable.
Also, be sure to keep the blinds open when the sun is directly hitting your home. Allowing the sun to come in will help warm up your space, naturally, even if it’s only for the morning.
Utilize Farmers Markets
Accessing farmers markets, or just local spots in general is still an incredible way to reduce your carbon footprint and doesn’t have to stop when the weather gets colder. By shopping locally, you are doing a lot of great things such as supporting your community and reducing the distance that your food travels. Most food travels thousands of miles to get to your local grocery store—an immeasurable amount of gas and energy is used to get it there, and it doesn’t guarantee maximum freshness of the product. It is incredibly wasteful. But by shopping at local farmers markets, you are doing your part in reducing the travel distance of your meals, as well as supporting those in your community during these rough times.
With the transition of seasons, it is common to go through our closets and purge everything that we no longer have a use for. Instead of throwing out our summer clothes, or winter clothes that we no longer desire, donate them. Marginalized communities are most affected when it comes to environmental issues and unfortunately, purchasing brand new clothes is not something that is easily accessible to them. By donating your clothes to thrift stores, flea markets, etc. you are ensuring that they will find a proper home, helping those that need it. Donating also ensures that they won’t end up in our landfills, adding to the immeasurable amount of waste that fashion (and fast fashion in particular) creates.
With winter comes a myriad of celebrations—Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, New Year! These festivities are typically accompanied by grand decorations and delicious feasts. Instead of throwing out all the decorations, such as lights or confetti, store them away for your next event. And instead of opting for plastic utensils and other disposable items, I suggest using your regular plates and silverware. The clean up afterwards will be more time consuming—from untangling your lights, sweeping the confetti and washing each plate, but the difference in the long run will be both cost effective and lifesaving…literally.