by Heidi Duncanson | SSC Green Team member
With Seacoast Science Center temporarily closed to the public due to the Covid-19 public health emergency, most of our staff members are working from home. This has meant an adjustment in our workflow and daily interactions, but it has also affected our routine of sustainable practices. Our SSC Green Team met via Zoom recently to talk about how we can keep the environment in mind even while staying at home. Here are some of our ideas:
- Keep an eye on your electrical use. You are probably spending more time at home than ever so you might notice an increase your utility bill. Use as few lights as possible during the day, charge your devices then unplug them, don’t run your dishwasher unless you have a full load, and try not to open and close your refrigerator so much — we know it’s tempting!! You could even consider adding a solar array to your home from a company like our business sponsors ReVision Energy.
- Moderate your heating and cooling costs. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, consider installing one. Lower the temperature by a few degrees during the day and throw on a sweater. And when it’s time for air conditioning, be sure your unit is running efficiently and find a happy medium for the temperature setting. Ceiling fans can also move air for a very reasonable cost.
- This is a great time to start composting! Start putting your fruit and veggie scraps into a little countertop bin and then either start a compost pile in your yard, or look into weekly compost pickup from a company like Mr. Fox, the company we use. If you contract for high-heat composting, you can put almost any food in your composting, including meat, bones and dairy, which do not work in backyard bins. Or try vermiculture with a worm farm. No matter what method you choose, you will really notice a reduction in the amount of landfill trash you generate each week when you start composting! Here is a composting starter kit offered by our friends at We Fill Good in Kittery.
- Start a garden indoors. Being home more, you’ll have a better shot at growing that garden you always wanted. This is the perfect time to start seeds inside and move them out into a sunny spot as the weather warms up. Growing your own veggies, fruits and herbs is economical and you will know exactly what you are getting in terms of pesticide use or contamination.
- No green thumb? Purchase your produce from a local farmer. Buying local is a great way to cut down on your carbon footprint as well as support the local economy. Many farms are starting to offer CSA shares and contactless pick-up so it can be a safe and nutritious option to the supermarket. Seacoast Eat Local is a great resource to find farms in our area.
- Celebrate your reduction in driving! Many of us are not driving our cars nearly the amount of miles that we used to. This is helping improve air quality and lower the amount of carbon going into our atmosphere. Think about how you might carry your lower driving practices into your “new normal” when things start to open up again.
- Rethink your work situation. If you have been able to get work done from home during this period of self isolation, consider how you might be able to work from home one day or more each week in the future. If you can be productive and cut your carbon footprint, why not see if you can make it a more permanent arrangement.
We know that this “isolation” period will not last forever but for now, we can all be thoughtful about how we are living and the resources we are using.