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Archive for March, 2011

Environmental Solutions for Individuals

Individual Solutions

To read about individuals who’ve protected the environment in their countries, read about Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots activism winners.[i]

*Recycle cans, glass, plastic, cardboard, etc. Buy recycled clothes in second hand stores. Swap books, DVDs and CDs, as on www.swaptree.com, http://www.earth911.com, and www.freecycle.org.

*A global youth subculture, called “freegan,” recycles food by gleaning it from supermarket dumpster bins and open markets. Some groups, such as “Food Not Bombs,” give leftover food to homeless people.

*Install energy efficient windows, one of the most important solutions.

*Don’t buy plastic water bottles. Use your own stainless steel container and fill up at home, and bring your own thermos for hot drinks.

*To save tees, instead of paper towels and tissue, use cloth kitchen towels and handkerchiefs. Buy toilet paper made from cotton instead of trees. When printing, use recycled paper and the back of printed paper. Use your own cloth bags when you shop.

*Get off bulk mailing lists that consume about 100 million trees every year.[ii]

*Plant trees, as the Mexican government is doing in its Pro A’rbol (pro tree) campaign.

*Use full spectrum fluorescent light bulbs, but make sure you safely dispose of the mercury in the bulbs.

*Use organic household cleaners like vinegar and baking soda.

*Don’t use lead paint and soft plastics that contain phthalates. Use glass or metal containers instead of plastic.

*Buy green products–especially mattresses and carpets that traditionally contain toxic chemicals. [iii]

*Buy local organic unprocessed foods, as transporting food, fertilizers and pesticides use a lot of energy. Plant vegetables and herbs and native plants instead of lawns. Grow urban gardens.[iv] You can find recipes for what to do with food you grow in Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (2007) and Local Flavors by Deborah Madison (2002). Cut down on eating meat. Producing one hamburger uses enough fuel to drive a small car 20 miles. Cattle produce a lot of methane and trees are cut down to create their grazing land.

*Lose weight so as to use less auto fuel; American use about 1 billion more gallons of gas per year to power cars than they did in 1960 because of national weight gain. Now over one-quarter are obese, which is heavier than overweight.

*Use less air conditioning by wearing casual T-shirts to work instead of suits, as the Chinese government is urging office workers to do. Wear more layers in the winter and turn down the thermostat on your heater.

*Unplug appliances when not in use, because between 10 and 40% of energy is used simply when plugged in. Recycle old electronics and buy new ones with the Energy Star label. Beware that 80% of recycled electronics are sent to poor countries to be burned so scavengers can extract metals in very hazardous conditions.

*At home: turn down the thermostat, use fans instead of air-conditioning, insulate your water heater, seal air leaks, and dry clothes on a clothesline. Take shorter showers.

*Travel responsibly (responsibletravel.com) and minimize flying because planes contribute to global warming in a big way. Carpool, use public transportation, and ride your bike, which also helps with the obesity epidemic. See the endnote for more resources.[v]

[ii] See www.worldprivacyforum.org “Top 10 Opt Outs” and www.dmachoice.org, newdream.org/junkmail/index.php

[v] Elizabeth Rogers. The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time. Three Rivers Press.

Josh Dorfman. The Lazy Environmentalist: Your Guide to Easy, Stylish, Green Living. Stewart, Tabori and Chang

Down-to-Earth Guide To Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon.

Joanna Yarrow. I,001 Ways to Save the Earth

Michael Stone and Zenobia Barlow, eds. Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World. Sierra Club Books, 2005. They have other books on the topic, as does New Society Press.

Jenn Savedge. The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet. New Society Publishers, 2009.

Anne Jankelowitch. 50 Ways to Save the Earth.

Claire Nivola. Planting the Trees of Kenya.

Julie Hall. A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids.


www.thegreen guide.com from National Geographic.

http://www.Grist.org To find a green power program in your state, call your local utility or visit U.S. Department of Energy‘s Green Power Markets  at ecomomalliance.org

end junk mail 41pounds.org

Information about pollution’s effect on children’s health: http://healthychild.org/about/who_we_are/sandra_steingraber/


www.6footsix.com Colleen Smith, pro beach volleyball player. Colleen’s Green Team—to join you have to make one change to green your life

www.climatecrisis.net An Inconvenient Truth book and movie by Al Gore.

Another documentary is The New Environmentalists, about six crusaders in different countries, the winners of the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize.

Prince Edward sponsored www.theharmonymovie.com/home.php


dominantanimal.org/ biologist and author Paul Erhlich’s site


climatecrisis.net. http://lifestyle.msn.com/mindbodyandsoul/personalgrowth/articlegh.aspx?cp-documentid=656438&gt19310



school program: http://www.cooltheearth.org, www.farmtoschool.org, www.kidsgardening.com



“The Story of Stuff” about consumption


Stepgreen.org helps track and reduce your carbon footprint.

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