What can you do for Environment Friendly Living

What Can You Do…

  • to Help Sustain Soils?
  • to Promote More Sustainable Agriculture?
  • to Help Reduce Pesticide Use and Exposure?
  • to Control Common Insect Pests and Weeds?
  • to Reduce Outdoor and Indoor Air Pollution?
  • to Reduce Water Waste?
  • to Reduce Water Pollution?
  • to Reduce Solid Waste?
  • to Reduce Hazardous Waste?
  • to Help Preserve Biodiversity?
  • to Be a Responsible Ecotourist?
  • to Help Protect Endangered and Threatened Species?
  • to Waste Less Energy?
  • to Help Protect Your Health?
  • to Reduce the Threat of Climate Change By Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions?

What Can You Do to Help Sustain Soils?

  • Keep soil covered with vegetation.
  • When building a home save as much soil as possible. Require the contractor to disturb as little soil as possible, set up barriers to catch any soil eroded during construction, and save and replace any topsoil removed instead of hauling it off and selling it.
  • Set up a compost bin and use it to produce soil conditioner for yard and garden plants.

What Can You Do to Promote More Sustainable Agriculture?

  • Waste less food.
  • Eat lower on the food chain by reducing or eliminating meat consumption to reduce its environmental impact.
  • Grow some of your own food using organic farming techniques and drip irrigation to water your crops.
  • Buy organic food at grocery stores, food, co-ops, and farmer’s markets.
  • Compost your food wastes.
  • Think globally, eat locally. Whenever possible, eat food that is locally grown and in season.

What Can You Do to Help Reduce Pesticide Use and Exposure?

  • Do not insist on perfect-looking fruits and vegetables. These are more likely to contain high levels of pesticide residues.
  • Use pesticides in or around your home only when absolutely necessary, and use them in the smallest amount possible.
  • Wash and scrub all fresh fruits and vegetables and when possible peel them to help remove pesticide residues.
  • Grow your own fruits and vegetable using organic methods.
  • Buy organically grown food

What Can You Do to Reduce Outdoor and Indoor Air Pollution?

  • Reduce use of fossil fuels. Drive a car that gets at least 15 kilometers per liter (35 miles per gallon), join a carpool, and use mass transit, walking, and bicycling as much as possible. This reduces emissions of CO2 and other air pollutants, saves energy and money, and can improve your health.
  • Obtain as much heat and cooling as possible from noncarbon natural sources, especially sun, wind, geothermal energy, and trees.
  • Buy the most energy-efficient homes, lights, cars, and appliances available. Evaluate them only in terms of lifetime cost.
  • Test for radon inside your house and take corrective measures as needed.
  • Remove your shoes before entering your house. This reduces inputs of dust, lead, and pesticides.
  • Do not store gasoline, solvents, or other volatile hazardous chemicals inside a home or attached garage.
  • If you smoke, do it outside or in a closed room vented to the outside.

What Can You Do to Reduce Water Waste?

  • Install water-saving toilets that use no more than 6 liters (1.6 gallons) per flush.
  • If you live in a water-short area, flush toilets only when necessary. Consider using the advice found on a bathroom wall in a drought-stricken area: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”
  • Shower instead of taking baths and take short showers.
  • Check frequently for water leaks in toilets and pipes, and repair them promptly. A toilet must be leaking more than 940 liters (250 gallons) per day before you can hear the leak. To test for toilet leaks, add a water-soluble vegetable dye to the water in the tank but don’t flush. If you have a leak, some color will show up in the bowl’s water within about 15 minutes.
  • Turn off sink faucets while brushing teeth, shaving, or washing.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes or use the lowest possible water-level setting for smaller loads.
  • When buying a new washer, choose one that uses the least amount of water and that fills up to different levels for loads of different sizes. Front-loading models use less water and energy than comparable top-loading models.
  • When washing many dishes by hand, do not t let the faucet run. Instead, use one filled dishpan or sink for washing and another for rinsing.
  • Keep one or more large bottles of water in the refrigerator rather than running water from the tap until it gets cold enough for drinking.
  • Wash a car from a bucket of soapy water, and use the hose for rinsing only. If you use a commercial car wash, try to find one that recycles its water.
  • Reduce evaporation losses by watering lawns and gardens in the early morning or evening rather than in the heat of midday or when it’s windy.
  • Use drip irrigation and mulch for gardens and flowerbeds. Better yet, landscape with native plants adapted to local average annual precipitation so that watering is unnecessary.
  • Use recycled (gray) water for watering lawns and houseplants and for washing cars.

What Can You Do to Reduce Water Pollution?

  • Use manure or compost instead of commercial inorganic fertilizers to fertilize garden and yard plants.
  • Use biological methods or integrated pest management instead of conventional chemical pesticides to control garden, yard, and household pests.
  • Grow some of your own food using organic farming techniques and drip irrigation to water your crops.
  • Buy organic foods at grocery stores or better at local food co-ops and farmer’s markets.
  • Compost your food wastes.
  • Use low-phosphate, phosphate-free, or biodegradable dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, and shampoo.
  • Do not use water fresheners in toilets.
  • Do not throw unwanted medicines down the toilet.
  • Never apply fertilizer or pesticides near a body of water.
  • Clean up spilled oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, and other harmful chemicals.
  • Use less harmful substances instead of commercial chemicals for most household cleaners. For example, use (1) liquid ammonia to clean appliances and windows, (2) vinegar to polish metals, clean surfaces, and remove stains and mildew, (3) baking soda to clean household utensils, deodorize, and remove stains, (4) borax to remove stains and mildew, and (5) mineral oil to wax floors and polish furniture.
  • Do not pour pesticides, paints, solvents, oil, antifreeze, or other products containing harmful chemicals down the drain or onto the ground. Contact your local health department about disposal.

What Can You Do to Reduce Solid Waste?

  • Buy less by asking yourself whether you really need a particular item.
  • Follow the four R’s of resource use: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
  • Rent, borrow, or barter goods and services when you can.
  • Buy things that are reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and be sure to reuse, recycle, and compost them.
  • Buy environmentally friendly (green) products.
  • Reduce your use of wood and paper products, recycle paper products, and buy recycled paper products.
  • Try to buy beverages in refillable glass containers instead of cans or throwaway bottles.
  • Use reusable plastic or metal lunchboxes.
  • Carry sandwiches and store food in the refrigerator in reusable containers instead of wrapping them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and recycle them when their useful life is over.
  • Carry groceries and other items in a reusable basket, a canvas or string bag, or a small cart.
  • Use reusable sponges and washable cloth napkins, dishtowels, and handkerchiefs instead of throwaway paper ones.
  • Do not use throwaway paper and plastic plates, cups, and eating utensils, and other disposable items when reusable or refillable versions are available.
  • Buy recycled goods, especially those made by primary recycling, and then make an effort to recycle them.
  • Reduce the amount of junk mail you get.
    • Use e-mail in place of conventional paper mail.
    • Buy products in concentrated form whenever possible.
    • Lobby local officials to set up a community composting program if you don’t have such a program.

What Can You Do to Help Preserve Biodiversity?

  • Plant trees regularly and take care of them.
  • Reduce your use of wood and paper products, recycle paper products, and buy recycled paper products.
  • Only buy furniture, doors, flooring, paneling, and other wood that have been certified as having been grown sustainably.
  • Help rehabilitate or restore a degraded area of forest or grassland near your home.
  • When building a home, save all the trees and as much natural vegetation as possible.
  • When building a home save as much soil as possible.
  • Landscape areas not used for gardening with a mix of wildflowers, herbs (for cooking and for repelling insects), low-growing ground cover, small bushes, and other forms of vegetation natural to the area.

What Can You Do to Be a Responsible Ecotourist?

  • Before embarking on an ecotour, seek answers in writing to the following questions: (1) What precautions are taken to reduce the tour’s impact on local ecosystems and species? (2) What percentage of the people involved in planning, organizing, and guiding tours are local? (3) Are the guides trained naturalists? (4) Will you stay in locally owned hotels or other facilities, or will you be staying in accommodations owned by national or international companies? (5)Does the tour operation respect local customs and cultures? If so, how? (6) What percentage of the tour’s gross income goes into the salaries and businesses of local residents? (7) What percentage of tour’s gross income does the tour company donate to local conservation and social projects?
  • Stay on designated trails and at designated campsites and follow the wilderness motto of leaving no trace.
  • Do not harass or disturb animal and plant life.
  • Do not buy furs, ivory products, items made of reptile skin, tortoiseshell jewelry, feathers, and materials made from endangered or threatened animal species.

What Can You Do to Help Protect Endangered and Threatened Species?

  • On land you own do not destroy or degrade wetlands or terrestrial habitats that contain endangered or threatened species and develop a plan for protecting such species.
  • Do not buy furs, ivory products, items made of reptile skin or other animal skins, tortoiseshell jewelry, feathers, and materials made from endangered or threatened animal species.
  • Do not buy wood and paper products produced by cutting remaining old-growth forests in the tropics and elsewhere. Information on such products can be obtained from the Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Alliance, and Friends of the Earth.
  • Do not buy aquarium fish taken from coral reefs. Often these fish are harvested by stunning them with squirts of cyanide or dynamite. This harms coral reefs and kills other aquatic species.
  • Do not buy birds, snakes, turtles, birds and other animals that are taken from the wild.
  • Do not buy orchids, cacti, and other plants that are taken from the wild.
  • Do buy sustainably harvested products such as shade-grown coffee, nuts and other products sustainably harvested products.
  • Get pets from the Humane Society or other animal shelters.
  • Do buy fabrics made from organically grown linen, cotton, and other fabrics.

What Can You Do to Waste Less Energy?

  • Reduce use of fossil fuels. Drive a car that gets at least 15 kilometers per liter (35 miles per gallon), join a carpool, and use mass transit, walking, and bicycling as much as possible.
  • Drive less and consolidate trips.
  • See if you can substitute a phone call or e-mail for a trip by car.
  • Turn off lights, TV sets, computers, and other electronic equipment when they are not in use.
  • Fix faucet or pipe leaks, especially for hot water.
  • Wash laundry in warm or cold water.
  • Eat locally grown foods in season.
  • Recycle paper, metals, and glass and compost organic wastes.
  • Buy materials and products that are made locally and that are long lasting.
  • Obtain as much heat and cooling as possible from natural sources, especially sun, wind, geothermal energy, and trees.
  • Buy the most energy-efficient homes, lights, cars, and appliances available. Evaluate them only in terms of lifetime cost.
  • Lower the cooling load on an air conditioner by increasing the thermostat setting, installing energy-efficient lighting, using floor and ceiling fans, and using whole-house window or attic fans to bring in outside air (especially at night, when temperatures are cooler).

What Can You Do to Help Protect Your Health?

  • Do not smoke.
  • Avoid excess sunlight (which ages skin and can cause skin cancer).
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce consumption of foods containing cholesterol, fats, saturated fats, sugars, salt, and sodium.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation (no more than two drinks in a single day).
  • Loose excess weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • If you drive, do it safely and in a vehicle with the best available safety equipment. Driving is the most dangerous thing most people do.

What Can You Do to Reduce the Threat of Climate Change By Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions?

  • Reduce use of fossil fuels. Drive a car that gets at least 15 kilometers per liter (35 miles per gallon), join a carpool, and use mass transit, walking, and bicycling as much as possible.
  • Drive less and consolidate trips.
  • See if you can substitute a phone call or e-mail for a trip by car.
  • Insulate new or existing houses heavily, caulk and weatherstrip to reduce air infiltration and heat loss, and use energy-efficient windows.
  • Obtain as much heat and cooling as possible from natural noncarbon sources, especially sun, wind, geothermal energy, and trees.
  • Wash laundry in warm or cold water.
  • Use a low-flow showerhead.
  • Buy the most energy-efficient homes, lights, cars, and appliances available. Evaluate them only in terms of lifetime cost.
  • Turn thermostats down in winter and up in summer.
  • Recycle paper, metals, and glass and compost organic wastes.
  • Buy materials and products that are made locally and that are long lasting.