Geography & Green Living: It Matters Where You Live

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Pollution is a worldwide problem. We have one atmosphere and one water supply, so we all have to contribute to the protection of the environment. No one is exempt.

But what does change from place to place is the ability of the population to do their part, and that isn’t just a statement about income. It is true that wealthier nations have an easier time making the changes necessary to reduce their carbon footprints, but there are unique things about climate and geography that dictate just how much you might be able to do.

This concept isn’t about making excuses to do less, though. It’s about finding ways to do more. When you’re keeping pace with the average citizen, but you live in a place where you could do more, you should feel obligated to make those extra steps to help out for those who don’t have the option.

Here are some of the things we’re talking about:

Water Needs

Most homeowners have the expectation that their yard will be green and lush throughout the growing season. And in places where rainfall is sufficient, that goal is achievable. But other areas don’t get enough natural precipitation to meet the standards set by people, and it’s necessary to irrigate to maintain law goals.

Most irrigation is necessary because plants are in a climate that doesn’t naturally provide enough water. So the better choice is to plant species that are native to the area and will normally be able to tolerate the climate. Shopping through Nature’s Seed will show you lots of options based on your geographic location, reducing or eliminating the need for watering.

Irrigation is something we typically think of as an agricultural process necessary for providing food, and ideally, that would be the case. In the case of ornamental plants, the water serves no purpose other than to support aesthetics, and with better seed selection, that goal could be met in another way.

Climate Control

Don’t overreact here. No one is saying you should shut off your A/C in Flagstaff when the high is 106 degrees. Yes, it helps to broaden your range of tolerated temperatures and leave the unit shut off a little more than you do now. But you can also do a lot of things that will make your system more efficient during the times when you do use it.

In addition to good system upkeep and maintenance, you can strategize on a few things. Plant large shade trees on the hot side of your house. They’ll absorb a great deal of the sun’s energy, sparing your A/C the work of counteracting it. Manage your window blinds religiously, closing them during the hot times and opening during the cool. Let your car cool off outside the garage in summer and inside it in the winter. And be very attentive to keeping doors and windows shut.

Mass Transit

A fundamental concept of reduced energy consumption strategies is the use of mass transit. But for people in rural areas, that’s impossible; if you live four miles from the nearest house, there won’t be a bus coming your way. For rural dwellers, then, the focus on energy savings is on vehicle maintenance, efficient trip planning, and choosing to drive efficient vehicles.

For city dwellers with subways, buses, light rail, and so forth, it’s very easy to meet this goal. If you live in a community with reliable mass transit, do your best to use it.

But you don’t need access to a bus to avoid using your car. If you live in a city, walk or ride a hybrid bike to those destinations that you can. You’ll cut carbon emissions and get the bonus of helping your health. Once again, your country cousin can’t walk 23 miles to the store for groceries, but you can make up for that by hoofing it three blocks to work.

Just as your particular part of the world has a unique dialect, culinary profile, and favorite sport, it also has unique ecological conditions that play a big part in what you can do to help reduce pollution and make the world a cleaner, better place. Understanding those characteristics will make you a greener consumer.

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