Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

Climate Change

© Frederick Matzen | Dreamstime.com

Most experts agree that fighting climate change requires that individuals take small steps in their own lives in addition to governments, businesses and organizations taking big steps

Minimizing your purchase and consumption of products helps fight climate change by eliminating the carbon emissions that would result from producing new products

Everywhere

  • Know that your actions can make a difference for the better
  • Reduce your consumption of resources
  • Reuse items
  • Recycle items, especially paper, glass and metal (try to throw away as little as feasible)
  • Repair items instead of replacing them
  • Support environmentally-conscious businesses
  • Avoid having too many children (consider adopting instead)
  • Encourage elected officials and others to support a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend program such as the one proposed by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Community

  • Get to know your neighbors so you can help each other, e.g., car pool, buy in bulk, lend/borrow items
  • Communicate your concerns about climate change to elected officials
  • Vote for, volunteer for, and/or, contribute to candidates and elected officials who support action to fight climate change
  • Support more funding for public transit
  • Organize programs to encourage and help others do items in this checklist
  • Share your Earth Day action to your local and global community by registering it with your favorite environmental or community service organization, or at Earth Day Network (earthday.org)
  • Encourage politicians to support legislation that will put a direct and steadily-increasing fee on carbon-based fuels to help wean us off fossil fuels and move us toward greater use of clean energy sources such as solar and wind – CitizensClimateLobby.org

Food

  • Reduce your consumption of meat and dairy, or, become a vegetarian or vegan – producing meat is a very significant contributor to climate change due to livestock releasing methane (which increases climate change significantly more than CO2) and forests being cleared to grow grain to feed livestock (it takes about 20 pounds of grain to produce one pound of edible beef)
  • Buy/consume foods which are grown locally and/or certified organic
  • Use a lid when boiling water, etc. – to reduce energy used

Home

(and, in some cases, at work)

  • Turn your water heater down (e.g., to 120 degrees F)
  • Reduce use of heating (put on more clothes, turn down thermostat before going to bed)
  • Reduce use of air conditioning (open windows, close blinds and curtains, use a fan)
  • Turn off lights, appliances, etc. when not in use
  • Unplug appliances which constantly consume electricity
  • Operate the dishwasher only when full
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Turn off the water during showers while you’re soaping or shampooing
  • Limit the time you spend in the shower and take fewer showers
  • Wear clothing items more than once before washing them when feasible (set up a place to put clothes already worn but not needing to be washed yet)
  • Do only full loads of laundry and use the shortest cycle feasible
  • Hand wash clothes (except suits) instead of having them dry-cleaned
  • Use sponges, rags and cloth towels instead of paper towels when feasible
  • Air dry clothes when feasible
  • Donate old clothes to charity
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs (especially those you use the most) with compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Ensure there’s adequate weather-stripping or caulking on doorways and windows
  • Wrap your water heater with an insulation jacket
  • Request a free energy audit from your utility company
  • Request a free water conservation survey from your water company
  • Have your house converted to use solar energy
  • Reduce junk mail (ask to be removed from mailing lists)
  • Cancel subscriptions you don’t need
  • Repair instead of replacing items when feasible – for help: check for community groups which can help and/or check repairclinic.com
  • Set up place(s) to put recyclable items
  • Plant trees, especially where they’ll provide shade for your house
  • Let grass grow long where feasible
  • Use a lawn mower with a mulcher
  • Work out of your home as much as feasible (e.g., telecommute, go to workplace for fewer days but longer hours)
  • Live/work in the smallest building/space feasible and/or rent out extra rooms
  • Estimate your personal and/or your household’s greenhouse gas emissions and explore the impact of taking various actions to reduce your emissions at EPA.gov

Shopping

  • Take your own bags (e.g., cloth) to the store
  • Buy used items when feasible
  • Reduce purchases of disposable products (e.g., paper towels, cups, batteries, razors)
  • Avoid buying items with excessive packaging and packaging which cannot be recycled
  • Buy only items you’re sure you’ll use
  • Buy items in bulk
  • Buy concentrated products
  • Buy items, especially paper products, with “post-consumer” recycled content when feasible
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances
  • Buy plug-in, instead of battery-powered, appliances
  • Avoid buying products made from tropical hardwoods or old growth trees
  • Avoid using the store’s bags

Transportation

  • Walk, ride a bike, use public transit or car pool instead of driving when feasible
  • Plan ahead to combine trips
  • Use your most efficient vehicle when feasible
  • Keep your vehicle in good operating condition (tuned up, emissions system checked, tires properly inflated) or buy a new fuel-efficient vehicle
  • Avoid quick starts
  • Drive slower
  • Avoid idling your vehicle for long periods

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