Social Justice Initiative: Ever-Green

Being a “protector of creation,” as Pope Francis urges us, sounds like an overwhelming task. But there are myriad small steps we can take in that direction. Here’s a list of things to consider doing at home, adapted from material prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and distributed by the Archdiocese of Washington.

1. Change five lights
Replace your five most frequently used light fixtures, or the bulbs in them, with Energy Star qualified options, which use 75 percent less energy than standard lighting, generate 75 percent less heat, and last 10 to 50 times longer.

2. Look for Energy Star products
Qualified products, such as lighting, home electronics, heating and cooling equipment, and appliances, can help reduce greenhouse emissions and air pollution.

3. Heat and cool smartly

Cleaning air filters regularly, caulking and weather-stripping to reduce air leaks, installing adequate insulation, and having your heating and cooling equipment tuned annually can save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions.

4. Use green power
Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as the wind and sun. Consider buying green power or modifying your house to generate your own renewable energy. See epa.gov/greenpower.

5. Reduce, reuse, and recycle
Pursue simple water-saving actions such as not letting the water run while shaving or brushing teeth. Recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper, and other goods. See www.epa.gov/recycle, and www.epa.gov/watersense.

6. Go green in your yard
Composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage you send to landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. See www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/greenscaping-easy-way-greener-healthier-yard.

7. Calculate your household’s carbon footprint
Use the EPA's Carbon Footprint Calculator to estimate your household greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy use, transportation, and waste disposal. See www.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator.