It can feel like you, as one person, don’t have much influence on the world around you. But that simply isn’t true. If everyone thought that their own actions couldn’t make anything better and therefore didn’t bother, nothing would improve. Instead, think of yourself as the start of an avalanche. They may start out as a single snowflake or a tiny piece of snow, but when it all adds up, it can be an unstoppable force with an incredible impact on the surrounding environment. If others feel the same and start making changes, things could truly improve.
Not all of us can drive electric cars or hybrids. That does not mean you can’t reduce your gas consumption, however. You can try biking or walking to places nearby instead of driving. If that’s not an option, you can take mass transit or try a rideshare/carpool. Or you can simply try to drive more efficiently. Personally, I try to run all of my errands at once so there is less driving back and forth to my house. If you take good care of your car—such as proper maintenance and tire inflation—you will get better gas mileage, which means using less gas, which is good for both your wallet and the environment!
Another helpful thing is to be more conscious of what you are throwing away. If you have electronics that are headed for a landfill, see if maybe it can be sold for scrap instead or if a local electronics store has a recycling collection program. If you’ve got clothes that you are trying to get rid of, you have many options. You can try a consignment store, donating them to charity, or giving them to a friend. Organic materials like food scraps can be composted. Other materials, like paper and glass, can be easily recycled. As for plastics, look on the object to see what number plastic you have (it should be in the center of a recycling symbol triangle), which will let you know what you can do with it. Check with your local county office to see what items they will accept for recycling. You may be surprised at all the things you’ve been throwing away that can be recycled. If you take your lunch to work every day, invest in a nice lunch bag. They are durable, fashionable, and way easier to carry than paper bags. Use reusable containers instead of disposable plastic bags and that will help decrease your waste as well. In the same vein, you can use cloth grocery bags for everything from shopping to storing things. That will also reduce the amount of trash you have.
As for all that junk mail you receive, you can opt-outherefor prescreened Credit Card offers, and here for other herefor direct mail pieces. It isn’t a perfect system, but it is a start. Most companies have online billing now. That can actually save a lot of paper every month, and there is the added bonus of being able to pull up every bill online without having to rifle through your filing system. You can also contact any newspapers, magazines, or catalog companies you receive mail from to receive digital copies. It’s cheaper for them, and better for the earth, too.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. A small step forward is still a step forward, and if everyone followed these tips, the world would be a better place!