What You Can Do

Though you might feel like anything you can do is insignificant compared to what a government agency or large corporation can do, the choices we make in our day-to-day lives do make a difference. From how you get around, what you purchase, what you eat, how you live---read the tips below to see how you can play a major role in slowing climate change!

  • Vote! Educate yourself on those running for office by actively participating in community events, County commission meetings and local workshops.
  • Control your temperature.  Cool your home at 78°F or warmer with the thermostat fan switched to auto.  For additional savings, use a programmable thermostat and set the temperature to 82° when you're away.  Savings can be $200-300 per year.  If you like to keep it cooler, consider installing renewable energy with a solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop array to help offset the environmental impact of running your AC.
  • Switch to LED bulbs.  LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) use 75% less energy than regular light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.  Don't let the initial cost be a deterrent---LEDs pay for themselves through energy cost savings in the first four months!
  • Choose your appliances wisely.  When replacements are needed, choose high efficiency applicances, looking for EnergyStar and WaterSense labeled refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers. 
  • Use your electronics wisely.  Even when they are turned off, many electronics, like televisions and satellite boxes, go into stand-by mode.  Chargers plugged in without an electronic also use result in an energy loss.  These electricity wasters account for 10% or more of your electricity bill, so unplug or use power strips to stop the energy leak.
  • Take the Energy Star Pledge! To get energy savings recommendations tailored for your home, visit www.energystar.gov/campaign/home.  You can also take the Energy Star pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help protect our climate.
  • Adjust your water settings.  Turn the hot water heater down to 120°.  Combine that with washing clothes in cold water and savings can be $200-300 per year.
  • Install a solar thermal or photovoltaic water heater.  Though initially more expensive, these alternatives can cut energy bills by as much as 75% within the first year.
  • Equip every tap with a high efficiency faucet aerator.  Faucet aerators reduce water use while maintaining flow.  They cost very little ($4-6), are easy to install and have quick return on investment.  Depending on the aerator's flow rate and water use, you could see an annuals savings of $15-40.
  • Replace your shower head.  High efficiency shower heads are designed to maintain water pressure while using much less water than traditional models.  This quick fix will reduce your shower water use by 20-60%.
  • Harvest rainwater for yard irrigation.  Collect and save rainwater from your gutters with a rain barrel and use it to water your flowers and plants.  Water in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are the lowest to reduce water lost through evaporation.
  • Test your WaterSense!  Visit www.epa.gov/watersense to move the water-efficiency hero Flo through water pipes and answer water-efficiency questions while avoiding water-wasting.
  • Compost.  20-30% of garbage, including coffee grounds, food scraps, and yard clippings, can be composted, and the resultant product can be added to soil to help your yard flourish. For more information on how to get started, visit www.swa.org/253/Backyard-Composting
  • Unsubscribe from printed catalogs and other paper mail.  Each year, printed catalogs consume 53 million trees and enough water to fill 81,000 swimming pools! You can control catalogs and unsolicited mail by visiting www.catalogchoice.com.  If you have a magazine or newspaper subscription, consider switching to the digital version. 
  • Recycle old electronics.  If your TV, cell phone or PC is on its last leg, don't throw it away! Recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent to electricity used by 3,657 U.S. homes in a year.  Visit www.epa.gov/recycle to search for drop-off locations.
  • Use Florida-Friendly landscaping.  Many beautiful plants and shrubs thrive with far less watering than other species.  Native plants will use less water, be more resistant to local plant diseases and provide habitat and food for wildlife.  Layering with mulch also prevents rapid water loss, and as a result, reduces frequency of watering. Visit fyn.ifas.ufl.edu for more Florida-Friendly principles.
  • Buy a fuel efficient car. A 30 mpg car will save the average driver about $1,000 per year in fuel costs when compared to a 20 mpg car.  Go even greener with an all-electric vehicle!
  • Increase your fuel efficiency.  By avoiding sudden stops, hard braking and driving the speed limit, you can increase your fuel efficiency 5 to 30%.  It is also good to regularly maintain your vehicle---change air and fuel filters and regularly check your tire pressure.
  • Educate yourself and others about the public health effects of climate change and how to stay safe and healthy as the climate changes using the Community Tool Kit on www.ReACTToolKit.net