Why should I go green when the rest of the world seems to not care about what's going on with the environment? One person can't make a real difference, can they? Can one person really make a difference? You bet! And not only a difference, but a real difference!

Things You Will Need

A conscious understanding of how your actions will affect the world we live in and the quality of life for future generations.

Step 1

Start with replacing all the bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent bulbs. "If just one lightbulb was replaced with a compact fluorescent bulb in every American home, it would save enough energy to power 3 million homes for a year, prevent the emission of greenhouse gases equivalent to that of 800,000 cars, and save over $600 million in energy costs," says Maria Vargas, EnergyStar spokeswoman at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Step 2

Most of us keep devices plugged in whether we are using them or not. Lamps, cell phone chargers, computers, hair dryers, blenders, printers, DVD players, etc... are things that might be left plugged in just waiting for the next time they are needed. Unfortunately, those things are using energy even when turned off. Most people are surprised to learn that it is estimated that 75% of the power consumption of these types of electrical appliances is when the device is turned off, but still plugged in. By only plugging these devices in when they are needed you are not only doing your part to conserve energy, you are also causing your utility bill to go down!

Step 3

What types of chemicals does your dry cleaner use? Shockingly, most dry cleaners use a chemical called perchloroethylene. This chemical is highly volatile and is known to cause respiratory issues and increases the risk of many types of cancers. If you log onto greenearthcleaning.com you will find a list of cleaners in your area that use alternative solutions to clean your things. If you're unable to find a dry cleaner in your area, at the very least ask that the dry cleaner not put plastic over your clothing. This will eliminate waste and help your clothing air out. Your lungs will appreciate your efforts! It is also a good idea to return the wire hangers so the dry cleaner can reuse it. Almost 4 billion clothes hangers find their way to America's landfills each year. You can make it a few less by doing this simple thing!

Step 4

Replace the toilet in your home. Invest in a model that uses less water and a low flow tank. Another way to conserve water is to trick your toilet! A standard toilet's specifications usually claims that 3-6 gallons of water is needed in order for the toilet to work properly. The fact is, usually 2 gallons is sufficient. You can 'trick' your toilet by placing a one liter bottle of water filled with sand in the tank. By doing this, water gets displaced and you will use at least a gallon and a half less per flush.

Step 5

If it's possible, grow your own foods. Having a home garden is therapeutic and safe from pesticides and other chemicals. You'll also be eliminating your need to drive to the store to get them! If you're unable to grow your own produce, buy locally. Use markets that are close enough to walk to! Paper or plastic? Neither! When you must drive to a shopping center, bring your own reusable bags.

Step 6

Turn your water heater down and shorten the length of your showers. On average, a person uses nearly 3 gallons of water for each minute that they are in the shower. By shortening the time you are in the shower, you will cut down on the amount of water used. While most water heaters are turned up to between 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit you can easily turn the temperature down to 120 degrees. You'll reduce the energy that is used and save a whopping 5% on water heating costs.

Step 7

Stop doing your dishes by hand! Doing a sink full of dirty dishes uses an astonishing 25 gallons of water. This is five times the amount of water used by newer, energy saving dish washers. It's also a good idea to wait until the dish washer is full before running it.

Step 8

Beautify your yard by planting a tree. Not only will your one little tree offer you shade it will also help offset 2.5 billion tons of carbon monoxide in it's life. Amazing! The shade from this tree will cause your home to have a lower temperature, thus reducing the amount of air conditioning needed to keep your house comfortable. Apart from adding it's beauty to your landscaping, it will also help with irrigation. You'll have a healthier lawn!

Step 9

Water bottles get tossed by most everyone daily. Our landfills are filled to the brim with them. So before you throw out your next bottle keep in mind that it will take a thousand years for it to break down. It's ideal to purchase a bottle that can be cleaned and reused. The lifetime of a aluminum water bottle is up to 10 years. It's also just fine to reuse a plastic water bottle as long as you clean it regularly.

Step 10

Avoid buying products that come in Styrofoam clam shells. The amount of time that it takes for these to biodegrade is virtually forever! Generally, take out food will come in these types of containers. Ask for an alternate method of bringing home your take out. Bringing your own container is an option!

Step 11

Shop with eco-friendly companies as much as possible. These are the businesses who are recycling and reusing to make a real effort and a real difference. Research how packaging and production is done within the business.

Step 12

If every family in The Unites States replaced one single roll of regular paper towels with 100% recycled paper towels 1.4 billion trees could be saved. That's a lot of trees. Earlier, I mentioned just one tree could offset 2.5 billion tons of carbon monoxide. Imagine what 1.4 billion trees could do! Only buy 100% recycled paper towels!

One person can make an incredible difference in saving our planet. The key is being the type of person who cares enough about future generations to make that conscious effort to preserve what we have left.

Tips & Warnings