Here is a compiled list of the 10 easiest ways to start living green.
1. Be a Conservation Advocate. Do a little or do a lot, but raise your voice today. A green You is a great role model for your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. Let your actions speak as loud as your words.
Be Informed. The first step toward being a responsible green citizen is knowing the issues and taking time to think about them. Be aware of the impact your lifestyle has on the environment and know your options. Living green is about making responsible decisions.
Volunteer/Lobby for the Environment. Work locally and globally to save natural places, manage urban sprawl, reduce pollution and prevent the destruction of wilderness areas.
Support Renewable Energy. One of the simplest ways you can have a direct, positive impact on the environment is to help create more renewable energy sources. In the United States, we have an abundance of green power from wind, sun, hydro, geothermal, tidal, and some forms of biomass.
2. Be a Green Consumer. It is becoming easier and easier to know what effects the things you buy have on the environment. Be aware of what the things you buy are made of, where they come from and how they made it to you. Look for the words "post-consumer" or "recycled" when shopping.
Buy Ocean-Friendly Products. Avoid products produced through unsustainable or environmentally harmful methods. For example, avoid cosmetics containing shark squalene and jewelry made of coral or sea turtle shell. These products are directly linked to unsustainable fishing methods and the destruction of entire ecosystems.
Download the sustainable seafood guide. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a guide to help you make good choices at restaurants serving seafood. Choose species from sustainable catch methods and send a message to restaurants regarding their menu choices.
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost. Reusing packaging material saves more energy than recycling. By avoiding extra packaging, you save both energy and landfill space. Yard and kitchen waste (leaves/grass/vegetable scraps) are 30% of trash. Reduce this amount by composting. Also be sure to re-use plastic bags, or better yet... refuse plastic bags when you really don't need them. Check for local programs that provide workshops and materials for water-wise landscaping and composting.
Reduce Energy Use. Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is making our oceans more acidic. One consequence could be the loss of corals on a global scale, as their calcium skeletons are weakened by the increasing acidity of the water. There are many simple ways you can reduce your energy use.
· Turn off the lights when leaving a room.
· Turn off appliances when they aren’t in use.
· Use both sides of the paper when printing and copying.
· Walk or bike instead of driving.
· Take short showers, install water saving shower heads.
· Fix Leaks
· Drink tap water instead of bottled water.
· Remove unnecessary items from your car to reduce weight.
· Regularly replace the filter on your HVAC system.
· Install faucet aerators.
· Unplug Unused Electronics
· Use cold water to wash clothes.
· Stop junk mail.
· Install a programmable thermostat in your home.
· Use high efficiency appliances in your home.
· Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in your house.
Use Reusable Plastic Products. Plastic debris in the ocean degrades marine habitats and contributes to the deaths of many marine animals. Because floating plastic often resembles food to many marine birds, sea turtles and marine mammals, they can choke or starve because their digestive systems get blocked when they eat it. Help prevent these unnecessary deaths—use cloth grocery bags and reusable water bottles.
4. Minimize and Offset Your Carbon Footprint. By reducing the energy and fossil fuels you use, you are saving the environment from further damage. After you have done everything you can to minimize your carbon footprint then you can think about how to offset what residual impacts remain.
5. Eat Green. Environmentally friendly eating habits are easy and healthy. Clearing forests for agriculture is one of the leading causes of global deforestation and habitat destruction. Food travels an average of 1,200 miles before it reaches your plate, so buy locally produced items to save energy and prevent emissions from going into the air. Also, choose fresh foods instead of frozen, since frozen foods require 10 times more energy to produce. Finally, organic foods are both good for the environment and good for your health since synthetic hormones, most conventional pesticides, as well as other potentially hazardous practices are not used.
Eat Sustainable Seafood. Global fisheries are on the verge of collapse. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), three quarters of the world’s fisheries are now overexploited, fully exploited, significantly depleted or recovering from overexploitation. Carry a sustainable seafood card and ask your seafood restaurant or fish market to buy from sustainable fisheries. Look for special terms like "line caught", "diver caught", "sustainably caught" or "sustainably harvested.”
6. Plant a Tree with a Child. Take a walk in the woods, and/or plant trees which store CO2. Teaching our children to love and care for the planet is the most important thing we can do to insure the future of humankind.
7. Pick Up Garbage and Litter Near Beaches. Much of the plastic and debris found in the ocean has its beginnings in beach litter. As beach crowds increase, so does the amount of trash left behind. Don’t let your day at the beach contribute to the destruction of our oceans. Bring a trash bag with you for your garbage and participate in beach clean-ups.
Properly Dispose of Hazardous Materials. Motor oil, old paint, antifreeze, batteries and other hazardous materials often end up washing into coastal areas because they aren’t disposed of properly. This pollutes the water and hurts the overall health of our oceans. Be sure to dispose of hazardous waste in an environmentally safe way. Check with your local government for hazardous waste disposal days and/or locations.
8. Travel Sustainably. Traveling and the things that go with it – flights, hotel rooms, cab rides, and rental cars – can significantly affect the environment and its biodiversity. So the next time you go on vacation or need to take a business trip, consider ways you can cut minimize your impact. Bike, use public transit, and carpool to work, One-third of all traffic is commuters. Use alternative transportation whenever possible. If you must drive, take your time and drive with proper tire inflation. It saves both fuel and tires, and lowers emissions. It also saves lives.
9. Conserve and Preserve Water. Don't let faucets run. Never water your lawn at midday. Place a brick in old toilets to reduce the volume of water used. Take low-flow brief showers. Run the dishwasher only when it is full. Let grass grow longer. Plant native or drought-tolerant garden plants. Don’t use pesticides/herbicides on your lawn. Along with Nitrogen fertilizer runoff, these are major water pollutants.
10. Quit Smoking. Second-hand smoke is a major indoor air pollutant and health hazard. When you quit, both you and your family will lead longer and healthier lives.