The average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer is 10,812 kilowatt hours (kWh), an average of 901 kWh per month… and the average Canadian is not far behind that. We use way too much energy, whether it’s burning fossil fuels or coal-burning electricity consumption. We need to realize how this energy is made and how it’s impacting the world.

-Transportation: probably the most talked about cause for global warming, and one that people seem to think they have little control over. In today’s world transportation via bus, car or plane seems unavoidable, but there are many things we can do to decrease our fossil fuel emissions!

  • Avoiding it: carpool, take public transit, embrace your one-gear bike with the frilly streamer handles, invest in good running shoes (more or less a joke, but seriously in small towns walking is an easy way to get around!), and fly economy class (the carpool of the air world).
  • Denying it: lobby against big pipelines or fracking developments, invest/encourage alternative energy, drive fuel efficiently (not just your car, but your driving style: Don’t accelerate when unnecessary (speeding=reduce in mileage=waste of gas and money=more fossil fuel emissions), Don’t idle or heat up your seat before getting into your car (PSA: you will not die of hypothermia), avoid traffic (checking the roads=not being stuck in traffic=no idling=less fossil fuel emissions), remove excess weight from your car, make trips quick (combine your errands, we don’t all have to be Emily Gilmore).
  • Outsmarting it: Use an energy efficient/alternative energy based car, educate yourself on vehicles and the impact yours has, call people into the conversation and share your knowledge (one of the biggest mistakes we activists make is “calling out”. When you call someone out it can make them angry or discouraged and could put them off of your movement/cause. Instead we must call people in, let them know what more they can be doing, why they should do it and how they can start!).
  • Staycations: This term is one of my favourites. We live in one of the prettiest places in the world and there is so much to explore in our own backyard! Stay in the province/country for your vacation, you will save money and get to know the place you live even better! (plus your Christmas cards will look much more thug than the Robson’s’ super basic Mexico pic)

-Heating and Cooling: us humans like to avoid the cold and shy away from the sun, and some super intelligent people have come up with ways to make our homes the perfect temperature all year round! Unfortunately though, this uses tons of energy: natural gases and electricity are often mislabeled as green energy, but are really just as bad as the rest (with natural gas extraction pumping methane into our atmosphere and most electricity based out of coal-burning power plants, this energy can’t even be considered friendly for the environment). These tips will help you make your house more energy efficient and that emailed energy bill go wayyyyy down.

  • Seal ‘er up: simply making sure your doors and windows are properly sealed can make a big difference (it’s cheap and easy to do)
  • Talk Thermostat to me: let’s program that baby to keep at a consistent temperature and turn off when we aren’t around! (plus, don’t always reach for the thermostat when you are feeling a chill, putting a sweater on can make a huge difference)
  • Use Alternatives: such as geothermal or solar energy

-Appliances: We all know that Energy Star has got our back when buying new, but how do we make due with the appliances we already have?

  • Turn off any lights and appliances that are not in use (this means being plugged in too! Your phone doesn’t need all night to charge, its a waste to leave it plugged in overnight)
  • Be wise with you washing: wash in cold water, specify how big the load is (really fill ‘er up!), shorten your cycles, hang clothes whenever possible. (same rules apply to the dishes!)

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