Taking action is the first step to helping our environment. Because of air, water and soil pollution, our planet has experienced a breakdown of its eco-systems, affecting people, plants and animals. In 24 years, we’ve lost more than 1.2 million square feet of forest area, and CO2 emissions are on the rise.
The great news is that renewable electricity output (wind and solar power) has increased almost 5% from 2003 to 2014, and more people are choosing clean energy sources. There’s also a positive trend (it’s declining!) when it comes to waste in landfills.
You might feel like it’s out of your control, but it isn’t. Little things you do can add up to help the environment. For example, if we composted the 21.5 million tons of food waste created each year, we would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gases as taking 2 million cars off the road.
Start asking yourself, “How can I help the environment?” Even the smallest of lifestyle changes can go a long way toward helping our planet. Take action by learning what you can do to protect the environment.
Help the environment by greening your at-home routine
- Power your home with clean energy. Pollution-free electricity plans, using wind and solar power, ensure your household is helping the environment every day of the year.
- Practice the three Rs for the environment: reduce, recycle and reuse to eliminate the amount of waste in your home.
- Neutralize your carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets.
- Use a programmable thermostat to save on energy costs.
- Upgrade the lighting around your house to smart LEDs to conserve energy.
- Wash clothes in cold water to reduce water-heating costs.
- Use water-conservation techniques in your kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms.
- Decrease the amount of trash your household accumulates.
- Teach the family how to cut down on food waste.
- Save on heating and cooling costs by properly sealing and insulating your home.
Be eco-friendly on the go
- Use your bike or public transportation whenever possible.
- Remember your reusable shopping bags.
- Stay hydrated and cut down on plastic/paper waste by using a refillable water bottle or coffee mug.
- Reuse sturdy takeout containers as Tupperware at home.
- Make a to-do list to keep you on track and efficient with your stops when running errands.
Do helpful things for the environment while at the office
- Reusable lunch containers (BPA, PVC and lead free) are perfect for your midday meal. Same goes for water bottles and coffee mugs. Single-serve containers are a no-no.
- Use computer bags and tablet totes made from recycled materials.
- Recycled paper is a must, along with chlorine-free processed paper.
- Use soy ink for mass-printing materials (inks made from other non-renewable resources release compounds that reduce air quality).
- Practice reusing and sharing supplies with officemates. Not every desk needs to be equipped with a hole punch, stapler and multiple sizes of binder clips.
- com labels and ranks office products by greenness.
- Every Friday, try carpooling with a colleague or ride your bike to work.
Make it a green moving day
- Hire an eco-friendly moving company. Watch for companies that use biodiesel trucks, biodegradable or recyclable packing materials and offers electronic paperwork.
- Don’t move what you don’t need. Donate or recycle items that you aren’t using anymore.
- Avoid buying boxes by going on box scavenger hunt at grocery stores, retail warehouses or pharmacies.
- You won’t need to purchase packing materials if you use towels, rags, sheets, pillows or even some of your clothing as padding for your breakable items.
Protect the planet by traveling green
- When flying, book nonstop flights.
- Take eco-friendly road trips by minimizing idling, packing light, driving the speed limit and ensuring your car’s maintenance is up to date.
- Green Mountain customers in the Lone Star State can offset their vehicle’s driving emissions thanks to Green Mountain Driver.
- Practice water and energy conservation habits when staying in hotels, guest houses and B&Bs.
- Use public transportation after arriving to your destination.
Green up your holiday cheer
- Use pillowcases or reusable plastic pumpkins when trick or treating.
- Thrift stores are great for one-of-a-kind costume finds for Halloween.
- Purchase pumpkins from local farmer’s markets.
- For your Thanksgiving spread, eat local and organic foods.
- Try candles instead of lamps when guests are visiting.
- Use dinnerware and cloth napkins instead of racking up excess paper waste during meals.
- Extend the life of wrapping paper by using it for grocery lists, padding in fragile packages and other creative ideas.
- Give the gift of adventure and experiences over factory-made products.
- Stuff those stockings with fruits and nuts instead of plastic trinkets. Find more ways to bring green cheer to your winter holiday celebration.
- Make your house shine bright with ENERGY STAR-qualified LED lighting. It’s durable, helps save energy and has automatic shut-off features.
Help the planet with an eco-friendly backyard
- Start composting. It provides great nutrients for your garden and cuts down on kitchen waste.
- Use natural fertilizers made from plant or animal byproducts.
- Choose plants native to your area to cut down on watering needs.
- Upgrade to an in-ground sprinkler system for watering grass.
- Collect rainwater for watering your potted plants and garden.
- Use tables and benches made from sustainable sources.
- Light the way with solar lamps and lanterns.
- Plant flowers rich in pollen and nectar to attract those pollinators, a.k.a. bees and butterflies.
- Pool owners, use a pool cover to save water and energy. And be sure to upgrade to a programmable pump with variable-speed capabilities.
- Find more eco-tips for your outdoor space in the blog Make Your Backyard Even More Green.
You’ve learned 51 ways to help the environment. Now, it’s time to start making some green lifestyle changes. Remember, it all adds up.
One of the biggest daily impacts you can have on the planet is to power your home with clean energy. That’s why we listed it as number one on our list of ways to help the environment.
The World Bank
The World Counts
United States Environmental Protection Agency