Protecting the environment has several benefits for people. Making changes to reduce the amount of energy a person uses at home or at work not only preserves resources for future generations. Reducing energy use and consumption can also help reduce home heating and other energy bills. Using less means less waste, this also has an impact on a person's budget. There are large ways people can reduce their energy use to help protect the environment, such as by driving less or by not flying as often. Small changes also have a big impact on the health of the planet.
A person can make a number of barely noticeable changes to their daily habits to help save the environment. For example, if a person is in the market for a new refrigerator, television or other appliance, they should look for energy efficient models. These models feature the Energy Star label in the US. Energy efficient appliances don't cost more than less efficient appliances. Over time, they will save a person money, since they require less electricity, oil or gas to operate.
Another everyday change people can make to protect the environment is to recycle. The rules for recycling vary from location to location. A person should find out what rules their city has in place. Some cities will pick up every type of plastic, as well as glass, paper and metal at the curb. Others ask that people bring their recyclables to a drop off location. Some places will only recycle certain types of plastic.
Composting is another change people can make in their daily lives to help the Earth. If a person has the space, they can compost at home, either using a three bin system outside or by using a worm bin. If there is no room for a bin at home, they can arrange for compost pick up with a local company. Although not every city offers compost pick up with the trash and recycling, a few do.
Before a person can make even the smallest changes to their lifestyle, it helps to understand the environmental impact of certain choices. Online calculators are particularly helpful for figuring out how many resources a person uses and how big of an environmental footprint they have. Different calculators measure different areas. Some will figure out how much pollution a person's car contributes, while others measure the amount of paper a person uses. Other calculators look at the big picture and measure all areas.
- Carbon Footprint Calculator - The Nature Conservancy provides a calculator that lets people compare their carbon use to the average around the country.
- Paper Calculator - A calculator from the Environmental Paper Network that lets people see how much paper they use and allows them to see the impact of their paper use.
- Footprint Calculator - The World Wildlife Fund provides a calculator that measures a person's environmental impact.
- Home Energy Saver - A tool that calculates energy use and makes suggestions for ways people can reduce energy costs.
- Vehicle Pollution Calculator - A calculator that determines the environmental impact of the type of motor vehicle a person drives.
- What You Can Do at Home - 10 easy steps to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home, from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Sustainable Choices at the Store - Tips for reducing impact on the environment when shopping, from Stanford University.
- Make Small Changes for a Big Eco Impact - Article from the "Today" show on ways to make small environmental changes and the benefits of making those changes
- What is Environmentalism? - A discussion on the definition of environmentalism from graduate students at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
- Tips for Going Green at Home - Tips on ways to go green at home by reducing waste, making healthier food choices, and using less energy.
- Going Green at Home (PDF) - Comprehensive booklet on ways to go green. The booklet also breaks down why being sustainable is important.
- 10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green - Money saving tips on going green from the Worldwatch Institute.
- Tips for Going Green at Home and Work - Advice for reducing energy use at home and at the office. Tips include lowering the thermostat and investing in Energy Star appliances, especially for items that are left on.
- Going Green at Home - Get Your Child Involved - Tips on ways parents can teach kids about going green in the home.
- Tips for Going Green - Advice from the federal government on going green. Tips include making better product choices and learning to identify products that actually live up to their green claims.
- The Language of Recycling - The Federal Trade Commission explains the ways to determine if something can be recycled and the ways to determine if a product is made of recycled materials.
- 5 Ways to Green Your Food - The Greater Lansing Initiative describes five ways a person can make more eco-friendly choices when buying food and groceries.
- Safe and Non-toxic Lawn Care (PDF) - Tips on growing a lush lawn without using toxic pesticides, from the City of Bloomington.
- Living In A Friendly Environmental (L.I.F.E) Manner - Advice for ways to live an eco-friendly life at home. The article includes tips for being more green in each room or area of the house.
- How Can I Be More Sustainable? - Ways that people can live more sustainable lives at home.