By Shila Morris
Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the statistics. Global warming and the consequences of human inhabitance on our planet are scary and almost too big to comprehend. You hear numbers like these: Each gallon of fuel releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. There are about 500 million automobiles on the planet, burning an average of 2 gallons of fuel a day. I know if I’m being completely honest, numbers like that are intuitively big and scary, but don’t really help me conceptualize the overall impact. Intellectually I know that this is a great deal and amounts to massive environmental damages, but the effect of such alarming amounts of carbon emissions is lost in mathematical translation. Being bothered by my own naivete regarding the future of our planet, I went on a little Google binge to find the 5 best action steps I could take to help save our world without having to grapple with major life changes or even understanding all the numbers. Here are my five favorite EASY save-the-planet tricks:
5. Power down
Turn off your computer at night. Every night. Same goes for consoles, printers, and laptops. If you aren’t using it, give the device – and the power it requires – a rest.
If your cell phone is done charging, disconnect it. Even better, pull the charger out from the outlet and save more! If you don’t need something plugged into the wall then keep it out. Just think of the kitchen alone! The coffee grinder, toaster, and blender, oh my!
3. Use your cruise control
I have to thank my dad for teaching me this one, and turns out, it’s beneficial to the environment too! You’ve got all those bells and whistles in your car – why not use them? Plus, a consistent use of cruise control can get you up to an estimated 15% better gas mileage. Put it in cruise and set a course for a healthy planet and a hefty wallet.
2. Go vegetarian one time a week
They’re calling it ‘Meatless Mondays’ and it can do a whole lot of good. Whether you pick Monday or some other day of the week, choosing to skip the carne just once a week is not only really good for the environment, but also a healthy choice for your body. (Squeeze In has TONS of vegetarian options! Just look for anything with a heart next to it in our menu and you’re good to go!)
1. Buy local
By spending your dollars at local businesses, you are supporting the environment and your hometown economy! Think of all the fuel and resources used to bring goods and services from out of our area – wouldn’t they be put to better use serving local folks? Sometimes shopping local costs a little more, but isn’t a healthy planet for our children totally worth it?
Of course you know at the Squeeze In we are all about finding ways to help out Mother Earth and keep this giant ball a-spinnin’! Here’s the top 5 SQUEEZY ways we are helping the environment!
5. We use wind power
Outside of our Northwest Reno location stands a giant wind turbine. It’s one of the only few in the region and generates about 20% of that location’s energy. Plus, it’s an awesome landmark and totally hypnotic to watch on a windy day.
4. We power down
Being open for only 7 hours a day gives us the opportunity to turn off all our machines and give them a rest! By 3pm, every toaster, burner, grill, soup pot, and slicer is turned off for the day. The lights are off by 4, as is the dishwasher, stereo, and computers, and the place is locked up and sleeping through the night. For the two Reno locations with larger rooms for the weekend crowds we even keep the lights off during the week when the room is not being used, and unplug unnecessary appliances to keep our impact as low as possible.
3. We go strawless
You may have noticed we don’t just automatically throw down a straw with your juice, water, soda or tea. That’s because in June this year we joined the BeStrawFree campaign started by 9-year-old Milo Cress. When Cress discovered that the average American will use 40,000 straws in their lifetime, he knew there was a way people could live with less straws in their life and in our landfills. Learn more about his efforts at: http://ecocycle.org/bestrawfree
2. Environmentally-friendly to-go boxes
A styrofoam box may be cheaper (like 5 times cheaper!) but is so terrible for our environment that we simply couldn’t keep purchasing the nasty stuff to send your leftovers home in. For the last 3 years we’ve sent you packing in our brown, compostable, totally environmentally friendly to-go boxes and we are proud to do it.
1. We are local and we buy local
Congruent to my number one personal suggestion, our business not only embraces this concept because we are a local business employing local people, but because we carry TONS of local goods and products as well. That toast you’re eating? Baked right here at Truckee Sourdough Company and free of preservatives. Those spuds with your omelette? Came from Winnemucca and our local farmers.
We love being an environmentally-conscious business and family and hope to continue to do as much as we can to help our beautiful planet and the future for our children. My favorite website for environmental tips is: http://www.50waystohelp.com. Check it out for easy suggestions and fun ideas.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be major changes; little steps are just as important (you’ve got to start somewhere!). And when in doubt, just come eat at the Squeeze In and know you’re doing some good.