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Green up your life
You can make a difference to the planet - right here and now
This site aims to put together many of the most practical ways of changing the way you impact on nature and your fellow creatures. The goal is to link you to the very best and most practical and most essential links to guide your choices, or to find programs and suppliers, near where you live. Currently the site covers the USA, we hope to expand it to other countries (volunteers needed.)
If you support the goals of this page, please suggest it as a link to any "green and simple" sites you visit.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Jump to Actions
Planet Earth and all her inhabitants are showing signs of severe stress from human numbers and ways of life. The task of halting and restoring the damage seems enormous.
And yet, what happens to the environment is the sum of all individual actions. You don't have to wait till the entire body politic changes direction. You don't have to wait till the majority agrees with you.
You know that you can change your own choices. You can make a difference now.
Changing your lifestyle so you live in closer harmony with the present and future health of the planet is not a snap thing. It will take time. Choose your priorities. Take things one at a time. Every move in the right direction makes a difference. Show and tell others what you are doing and multiply the effect of what you do. Gradually the whole momentum will shift direction till one day we will find ourselves once more as good citizens of the earth.
Suggestions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Harrison United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 laureate
Click for charity
These are the most productive and well-managed links we know of. By clicking, you can effortlessly help both people and the environment in small but meaningful ways.
How does it work?
When you click you are shown small ads from sponsors whose checks pay the frontline charities to save land, feed the hungry and so on.
The Hungersite: 1.1 cups food
Ecology Fund: 87 sq ft habitat; make sure to first register and join the WPM group
Rainforestsite: 11 sq ft forest
Animal Rescue: 0.6 bowls food
RedJellyFish [Register first]: 0.5 bowls food for chimps + 26.5 sq ft forest
|Something is better than nothing|
I am only one.Edward Everett Hale
|The Star Thrower|
A young man was walking along a beach. The tide was on its way out, and the beach, for as far as he could see, was covered in starfish. Ahead he saw a woman, picking up starfish and throwing them into the ocean one by one.
Adapted from Loren Eisley
Audit your lifestyleHow huge is your Ecological Footprint?
Are you overweight? Check your BMI
Fat & Calorie Burn calculators
How's your heart? Check your risk
Check your Risk of Major Diseases
Check life expectancy . Will you reach 100?
|Most people in rich countries are using resources at an unsustainable rate, and Americans have a bigger average impact on the planet than any other nation. With only 5% of the world's population, we pump out 25% of the greenhouse gases, an average of over 20 tons per person. That's a responsibility - and an opportunity too: Americans who reduce their impact significantly can have a bigger than average impact. |
Our overconsumption is also reducing the quality of our lives and killing us.
Checkout your home area
Find out if you are living near a toxic waste site, check your local air quality, pinpoint your local polluters.
Offset your pollution - Go Climate NeutralCalculate your carbon debt
How many trees per year
should you get planted?
National Arbor Day -
order trees and plant them
|We can offset the impact of carbon dioxide we cause to be emitted, by planting trees or paying for trees to be planted or protected. A typical growing tree can absorb a third of a tonne of CO2 per year. A typical adult American would need to plant or get planted 80 or more trees a year.|
Trees have many other benefits: beauty, shade, improvement of local climate, increased water infiltration, lower soil erosion, protectiion of biodiversity. Here are 29 reasons to plant trees.
One hectare (2.5 acres) of rainforest may contain 700 types of tree and 1500 of plants. A single tree in Peru housed 43 different species of ant. [Rainforest Facts]
Make sure you order trees native to your soils & climate.
Make sure you plant at the right time & place.
Plant at least one tree every year. Plant a tree in memory of anyone who dies. Plant fruit and nut trees for free food.
Green up your life
|Reducing our use of fossil fuels is the major priority. One approach is to reduce our total energy use (20 Things You Can Do to Conserve Energy) through efficient products (see below) and good practice.|
Another is to increase our use of renewable energies. Both efforts combined will improve our air quality, slow global warming, and reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
TIP: Checkout subsidies available from your state, city or utility for energy-efficient products, and home-generated solar and wind power.
Transport & TravelEPA Fuel-economy data by year
Green Hotel cards
Control wasteful pamperings
|The average American drives about 8,500 miles per year, the typical car about 17,000 miles. While average fuel economy standards have been improving in most of the world, in the USA they fell from 26.2 mpg in 1987 to 24.4 mpg in 2001, largely due to the spread of SUVs. Choosing the most fuel-efficient vehicles in a class can save the owner at least $1,500 in fuel costs. You can also green your travels and eco-tour. Own a hotel? Get your guests to re-use towels and sheets.|
Living - appliances etcEnergy Star Qualified Products
Find your nearest supplier
|Energy Star certified products, in over 40 categories from dishwashers to air conditioning, use less energy and water, save money, and help protect the environment. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $8 billion in utility bills and enough energy to power 20 million homes - and avoided greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 18 million cars.|
|Liberate yourself from your possessions|
We don't own our possessions - often they own us. We are "stuffocating" under an avalanche of products and models. We buy far more than we need, wasting resources and adding to pollution. Every year each American throws away 1670 lbs of garbage - ten times our average weight, which is also ballooning as we eat more and exercise less.
We need to practice the "3Rs" - reduce, re-use and recycle. In that order. Reducing our consumption has the greatest impact. Re-using things, or giving them to others to re-use, is better than putting them in the recycling bin. Recycling must be done carefully. Finally, waste disposal must ensure that toxic products are properly disposed of.
We can also try to ensure that the things we do buy are produced with least environmental damage over their lifecycle.
By simplifying we can usually improve the quality of our lives physically and spiritually.
Books: The Circle of Simplicity - Cecile Andrews
Voluntary Simplicity - Duane Elgin
Green grow your gardenBackyard Wildlife Habitat
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program
|The typical US yard size is about 13,000 sq ft. Yet we manage this land badly, growing alien flowers and water-hungry lawns, killing or excluding "pests" and "weeds" - usually the native species of our area. The least we can do is make our gardens hospitable to native plants and animals.|
The National Wildlife Federation runs an excellent advice and certification scheme. From the Natural Resources Conservation Service you can get support and up to 75 percent cost-share to create or improve wildlife habitat.
Green your cuisine
What you eat affects your own body as well as the natural environment. We are poisoning ourselves as well as the planet, bloating our bodies and burdening ourselves and society with massive health problems.
|Eat lower on the food chain. One pound of grain eaten by humans is one pound of grain. Meats require far more grain and other inputs - 1 lb of feedlot beef requires 10lb of grain to produce. 1 lb of pork needs 5lb of grain, 1lb pound of chicken needs 2-3lb of grain. |
Buy local. Foods are shipped across increasing distances as the world globalizes. Out-of-season flowers and vegetables are flown from the southern hemisphere to the northern. One study in Iowa found that typical supermarket produce travelled almost 1500 hundred miles - against only 56 miles for local produce on farmers' markets. Buying local reduces pollution, and stimulates employment in your area.
Eat organic. Organic produce is grown or reared naturally without chemicals, hormones or antibiotics, with benefits for nutrition, soil health, animal welfare and wildlife diversity.
Eat humanely. If you eat meat and dairy products, choose ones that have been reared organically, humanely, and in ways that allow animals' natural instincts to be satisfied.
Building/Improving your homeLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design: Find an environmentally qualified architect
Energy Star Building
Energy Star Home Improvement
Building Green -
Guides and suppliers
Sustainable Building - professionals,
|Building a home probably has a greater environmental impact than any other action of a person's life. It is an opportunity to change the rules by which you and future generations live. Some homes such as Earthships are almost self-sufficient in water and energy. Strawbale houses have extreme thermal efficiency. Green roofs provide insulation and room for nature. Even if you're just refurbishing, you can get subsidies to install low-flush toilets. You can "grow" solar power on your roof and make money exporting your surplus to utility companies.|
Green up your workplaceAudit your office
and get tips for improvement
Combat light pollution
Energy Star Business Improvement
|Offices and factories create many forms of waste and pollution - and there are many ways to change that. Turning off equipment at night, using renewable energy, conserving water, recycling paper, other supplies, and used equipment and furniture, using recycled products, having a workplace transport plan.|
Frequently neglect of green workplace issues affects workers' health. Leaving office and car park lights on all night also adds to light pollution which is blotting out the night sky for a growing majority of humans.
Sign up for Environmental Action Alerts
|Redress the balance: people before money|
In a country where money and big business influences policy heavily, many environmental and social organizations have now made it easy for concerned individuals to send email and letters to their local representatives. Politicians do take note.
TIP: Vary the wording - don't look like a robot spammer.