You don’t have to change your entire lifestyle to make a difference in the health of our planet.

Here are just a few ideas on small changes you can make for the good of the earth.


There’s a reason we’ve been taught since elementary school to reduce, reuse and recycle – it really helps! Before tossing waste into the garbage can, check to see if the material is recyclable, and remove any labels or excess packaging before placing it in the recycling bin. You can also reuse a lot of “trash” rather than throwing it out. For example, I make artwork from wine bottles and soda can tabs (it makes for some really eclectic pieces!) and reuse plastic food product containers (like those that contain soup) as Tupperware-esque storage for leftover food.

More information: Recycling – The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Waste and What You Can Recycle

Unplug appliances that aren’t in use

Did you know that devices that are plugged in are always drawing energy, even if they’re switched off? This wasted energy isn’t just bad for your budget, but also for the planet. Whenever possible, unplug power cords and switch off electricity to any items you’re not currently using. Sure, unplugging your refrigerator is impractical, but unplugging your computer when it’s not in use (and turning off the light in your office!) is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint.

More information: Energy vampires never sleep.

Have one meat-free day a week (or even just one meal!)

I know, I know – if you’re a meat lover, this one sounds impossible. But choosing one day a week to go meatless goes a long way for the environment. Livestock (like cows) is a major contributor to the methane gas that’s destroying the ozone layer protecting our planet; less meat consumption means less livestock needs to be raised.

If you can’t commit to a full day of meat-free meals, consider just one meal a week – like I said, every little bit helps! Don’t believe me? Penn State’s DUS Green Team points out, “Eating one less burger a week is the same as taking your car off of the road for 320 miles. Skipping steak for a week is the equivalent of not driving for almost 3 months!”

More information: 11 Facts About Meatless Monday That Will Inspire You To Reach For The Veggies

Plant a garden

Trees and other plant life cleanse the air naturally. Adding trees, flowers and fruit and vegetable plants to your yard will do a lot of good for the environment and beautify your landscape.

More information: The Ultimate Gardening Guide

Create a compost bin

Our landfills are filling up quickly – and often, they’re being loaded with food waste and other matter that needn’t be there. Having a compost bin filled with kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, yard trimmings, and even paper will help your garden flourish and put a dent in the amount of trash loading up our landfills.

More information: The Ultimate Guide To Composting For Beginners

Quit smoking

Cigarettes aren’t just bad for our bodies – they do a lot of damage to the environment, too. The many chemicals in cigarettes are released into the atmosphere every time a cigarette is smoked, and their butts leach these toxic substances into the ground and water when they are carelessly tossed. And since butts take decades to biodegrade, they clog up bodies of water and landscapes (and threaten the creatures that live there), and make perfect kindling for areas prone to wildfires. Add these facts to your list of reasons to quit!

More information: Smoking Environmental Risks

Skip the car ride when you can

I’m sure you’ve heard this one, but it’s worth repeating! Vehicle emissions are a huge contributor to the destruction of the ozone layer, so opting for other means of transportation whenever possible is a great way to show Mother Earth that you care. Try walking or riding a bike to nearby destinations; if your journey is a long one, consider public transportation or carpooling.

More information: Cars, Trucks, Air Pollution and Health

Be an advocate

Perhaps the most important thing we can do alongside adopting eco-friendly habits is keeping an open conversation about environmental health with our social circles and decision makers. It’s important that we all play our part, no matter how small – and we must be active in encouraging others to do so, too!


Trees and other plant life cleanse the air naturally. Adding trees, flowers and fruit and vegetable plants to your yard will do a lot of good for the environment and beautify your landscape.

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