A Convenient Truth: Easy Sustainable Living

Oct 13, 2016

Changing your lifestyle to combat climate change can seem inconvenient. Futile even. Maybe that’s part of the failing of science outreach regarding climate change. But what if there was a way to do something about climate change in your own home, that would actually make a difference, save you money, and maybe make you happier.


“The average American household could probably reduce its energy consumption by 20% without any change in lifestyle, without making huge investments and the few investments they’d have to make pay back better than anything you can do that’s legal," says Tom Dietz, a faculty member at Michigan State University who works on human ecology and environmental science and policy.

Dietz will be giving two talks at Utah State University this week, which are open to the public. Details are below. Video of his talks will also be available online and can be found here. During his visit to the University, Dietz stopped by the studio and gave some suggestions on things we can all do to save money and the planet, while living comfortably.

“The first thing to look at is weatherizing your house. Do you have the right amount of insulation? I mean the insulation that pays for itself in a year, or two, or three, at most. Do you have drafts? Any time you have a draft in a house you’re wasting money and energy. And it’s uncomfortable! And sometimes people say, 'well that’s all small potatoes - what people can do at the household level doesn’t really matter.' But this one set of actions, that could reduce total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by over seven percent. Seven percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is like turning off all the greenhouse gas emissions from the country of France.”

Another tip from Dietz: Check your hot water heater. If you’re diluting your hot water with cold water when you take a shower, you probably don’t need to put the money and energy into keeping your hot water tank that hot.

Dietz's second talk will be held Thursday, October 13th at 4:00 PM on the campus of Utah State University in Widtsoe Hall, room 007. The talk is titled: Human Ecology and the Problems of Sustainability:  Understanding the Drivers of Global Environmental Change