Living in Southern California means we get to enjoy beautiful mountains, deserts, and beaches throughout the year. In exchange, we have to manage a lot of traffic and poor air quality. However, self-isolation has reduced traffic by 80 percent, gifting us blue skies full of clean air. The change demonstrates that human behaviors can have a significant impact on the environment.

Here are five ways that making small changes in your daily routines can have long-lasting effects on the world around us.

1. Cool Down Responsibly

Summer months in Southern California can be a challenge in some communities, driving people to keep their air conditioners running nonstop. While having the luxury of an AC is a modern convenience, the Department of Energy asks us to set our thermostats at around 78 degrees and add a box or circulating fans to help keep your home at a pleasant temperature. When it cools down at night, try opening a few windows and placing fans to pull the fresh air inside.

2. Wash with Cold Water

Did you know that washing your clothing in hot water accounts for 90 percent of the energy your washing machine uses for every load? A great way to save energy is by selecting warm or cold when you run a load of laundry. The more, the merrier, so another tip is for conservation in the laundry room is to run full loads.

3. Use Canvas Shopping Bags

We’re all fans of convenience, which is why it’s always tempting to use plastic bags at the grocery store. However, since only one percent of plastic bags are recycled, they represent a major contributor to litter and landfill overload. Consider keeping canvas shopping bags in your vehicle. In addition to doing your part for the environment, fabric bags are more durable, more comfortable to carry, and, most importantly, reusable.

4. Hit the Shower, Not the Bath

The average shower uses five gallons of water per minute. Compare that to an average bather who requires 36 gallons of water. Bathing for prolonged periods can also lead to dry skin. Stay clean and green by making your showers short and sweet.

5. Lighten up with LEDs

There’s no doubt that fluorescent lighting is more immediately affordable than the new LED alternatives. However, did you know that LEDs use less energy than fluorescent lights and last a lot longer? That means they cost much less in the long run, which will save you money while giving you a more substantial source of light.

We can all make small yet significant changes in our daily routines to help reduce waste and improve the environment. Every little step makes a big difference, so don’t be afraid to share your eco-friendly plan of action with your friends. Together, we can all contribute to a greener future.