Many ordinary people are becoming increasingly aware of the need to do something to slow the environmental deterioration of our planet. No matter if you are liberal or conservative, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or independent, you are dependent on the earth’s natural resources and continued liveability for the quality of life you expect for yourself and for your children, grandchildren, and all future generations. But Earth is a big place, and if you’re like me, you probably wonder, “What am I supposed to do about the melting of the polar ice caps? I live thousands and thousands of miles from either pole, and I can’t stop global warming by myself, can I?” Of course you can’t, but it may surprise you to know that there are a few simple things you can do, starting immediately, that can help make a difference not only for future generations, but for right now. Here’s a list of things you can start doing today that will help make our planet a greener and healthier place for everyone.
1. Recycle Everything You Can
Chances are, your community has some sort of recycling program available, even if you have to haul the stuff to a recycling center. Even communities with no official program often have a private company that will take your aluminum cans, newspaper, cardboard, plastic milk and soft drink jugs, and glass. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with curbside recycling, so much the better. Stop putting recyclable materials into landfills and start putting them back into circulation, so we can conserve scarce natural resources.
2. Conserve Water
Don’t let the tap run the whole time you’re brushing your teeth; turn it off until you need to rinse. Instead of letting the hot water faucet run while you shave, run the sink full of warm water and use that to rinse your razor and your face. Take showers instead of baths, whenever possible; you’ll use less water and be just as clean, if not cleaner. Consider installing water saving shower heads and sink nozzles. Water is precious; don’t waste it.
3. Bike or Walk More, Drive Less
Anyone who travels from the U.S. to Europe notices immediately how much more exercise Europeans get simply from walking or biking to where they need to go, instead of hopping in the car every time they need to run an errand. Not only does this conserve dwindling petroleum supplies, you’ll be healthier!
4. Keep a Reusable Grocery Bag in Your Car
Instead of letting the checkout clerk give you a plastic or paper bag every time you stop by for milk or bread, keep a reusable grocery bag in your car and use it to carry your purchases home, instead of a bag from the store. Most grocery stores are making these bags available these days, and some even give you a discount when you use them! Stop using so much plastic and paper, and keep a bag in your car instead.
In Part 2 of this article, I’ll give you six more ideas for simple ways you can have a positive impact on the environment, starting right now.