101 Ways for a more Sustainable World
Every single one of the following actions will change the whole
Whether you do mostly Level I, II, or III actions doesn't matter
- what matters is that you are taking action to help save Mother Earth.
(Compliments of Ed Gillis with Leaders Today)
- Take sustainable transportation wherever you go as often as possible:
If you have to take a car:
- Walk to school or work and wherever you go.
- Or ride your bike. This is by far the coolest and most important thing you can do in the whole transportation category!
- Or rollerblade. This is like having TWO bikes - one on each of your feet!
- Or take public transit. Not as much fun as bikes or blades, but warm in the winter!
car pool with friends. You can't meet as many cool people as on the
bus, but if you get enough people in there you won't even need the heat
in the winter!
- Or get a friend to take turns pushing each
other in a wheelbarrow all around town. It's maybe not all that cool,
and they haven't started making wheelbarrow locks or racks yet, but it
would be fun, and people would notice you.
Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
Take "staggered showers" - turn the water off while you suds up your hair and bod.
Don't wash your hair every day. Let those natural oils cleanse and condition the way they're supposed to!
your plates by hand using minimal water - instead of filling up the
sink right away, let it trickle while you wash and rinse your utensils
and cups; let the trickle fall into your largest dirty pot, and then
wash your dishes and other pots and pans in that water (still with us?
- okay); then scrape the sticky stuff off the big pot with the original
water still in it; then give it a last wash and rinse with a touch of
clean water. Phew! That saved a LOT of water!
Bring a re-usable water bottle to school and everywhere you go, and fill it up in public fountains to avoid bottled water.
Wash your towels and bed sheets less often.
Only wash a full load of laundry. Don't wash non-undergarment clothes after only one wear!
organic, locally grown food - go pesticide-free, support local farmers
and workers, and save the costly, fossil-fuel spewing transportation
Buy fair trade, shade grown chocolate, coffee, sugar, and tea - wait, wait, can you taste the ethics?
Buy fresh foods rather than processed foods (VERY good for your tummy!).
Avoid fast-food joints as often as possible - eat at locally owned restaurants.
less meat. Choose at least one day a week to eat meat-free meals in
your household. If you do eat meat, buy it wrapped in paper at a
counter instead of pre-packaged in plastic and styrofoam. Buy meat from
local, free-range farmers to reduce cruelty and transportation
Go litterless at lunch - bring cloth lunch bags,
or get a super cool retro Star Wars or Care Bears lunch box. Just Say
No to cellophane plastic wrap and foil wrap, and Hip Hip Hooray to
Tupperware and re-used yogurt, cottage cheese, and margarine containers.
Buy bulk - avoids lots of packaging and saves a bundle!
Bring cloth bags to the grocery store or bulk food store to save on garbage.
the backside of paper (or double-side) when printing or photocopying
non-official documents (even for school projects - explain why and ask
about getting an "Earth-friendly bonus mark"!).
pads out of used paper instead of buying new notebooks! Just cut 8 x
11 sheets in half and staple them all together for a handy size.
Buy 100% recycled paper or hemp paper.
your paper-saving ideas and actions with others - place posters (made
on the back of used paper, of course!) over photocopiers, printers, and
other places where paper is stored.
electronically through e-mail and fax/modems whenever possible - it's
quicker, less expensive, more productive and healthier for our lungs!
a library membership and borrow books instead of buying new ones. Share
your books with friends. Start a book-sharing club at school or within
Use a cloth handkerchief for your daily
encounters with runny noses and messy food. Wash it every once in a
while or else people get grossed out.
When using a public
bathroom at your school or elsewhere, instead of using a paper towel to
dry your hands, just wipe 'em on your pants or shirt (if you said
"Yuck", you should wash your hands better, buster!). That's what you
have pants and a shirt for!
Put a sign on your mailbox that
says "NO JUNK MAIL OR FLYERS PLEASE" or "ONLY ADDRESSED MAIL PLEASE" or
"HEY JUNK MAIL AND FLYERS - GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND PLAY BECAUSE I'M
FRIENDS WITH THE TREES AND I WANNA BREATHE, SO BACK OFF, MAIL!" It can
be funny but probably not as mean as that last one.
Send people birthday and holiday cards by e-mail, or make birthday and holiday cards out of old cereal or cracker boxes.
all your bank statements, credit card bills, and other statements and
bills to electronic versions, over the internet or e-mail. Read your
local newspaper over the internet instead of buying the paper version.
Or if you need the paper version, head to the library!
envelopes carefully so you can save and re-use them, to keep receipts
or bills, or to send an actual letter (just tape the top together and
write a new address on the front! Or cross out the address on the front
and write a new one on the back!).
Turn it off! Lights, appliances, televisions, computers, everything!
better use of natural light - open the blinds and drapes and let the
sun shine in! Use well placed lamps instead of lighting the whole room.
the heat down in your house - just one degree Celsius saves 360 pounds
of CO2 per year! Turn it down even more and try on that new sweater and
some comfy wool socks.
Avoid turning on the air conditioning
the vents instead of air conditioning (uses more gas) or rolling down
the windows (increases the car's drag, uses more gas) on the highway.
On city streets, rolling down the windows isn't so bad for drag, so you
can do that instead of using air conditioning.
your day so that you can reduce the number of times you have to go out
in the car - "cluster" your daily errands into one longer trip instead
of going out several times - spend the time you save walking your dog
or reading a book!
- Don't speed! The faster you go, the more
gas you use (as much as 20%!). Turn off the engine if you will be
idling for more than ten seconds
- Use a block heater to warm the engine instead of idling it for several minutes in the morning
cruise control to minimize fuel use. If you don't have cruise control,
try to maintain the same speed on long highway stretches!
- Keep your tires well inflated to improve fuel efficiency.
- Take out heavy loads from your trunk that you don't need to bring with you, to maximize fuel efficiency.
- Take off ski or bike racks when you're not using them, to reduce the wind drag.
Spend your time downstairs on very hot days and very cold days - it's like a thermos - it always knows the best temperature!
your hot water usage - you don't really need hot water for laundry -
lukewarm is plenty. Use cold water laundry detergent, and always rinse
Air-dry your clothes - outside in the summer,
inside in the winter. It takes a bit longer outside in the colder days
of fall and spring, but as long as it's not below freezing, they will
dry. If you must use the clothes dryer, remember to clear the lint trap
after every use.
Dry cleaning uses harsh chemicals and can
be very expensive, so whenever possible it's best to purchase clothing
you can clean yourself.
Buy less stuff. Consider: do I really need this? Is there an alternative?
items with the least packaging, packaged in re-usable containers, or
packaged in the most recyclable containers: glass # 1 all the way, then
plastic or paper, and lastly, aluminum.
Think before you throw anything out: can I re-use this? Can I recycle this?
Give gifts in re-usable gift bags, old newspaper or old shoeboxes instead of wrapping paper (and re-use the tissue paper too)!
Ask for re-usable things for birthday and other gifts - water bottles, coffee mugs.
Get your family to buy cloth napkins instead of paper ones. Offer to wash them regularly!
to go outside for class - especially biology class! Ask your teacher to
create assignments that involve exploring local nature.
- Open windows (especially at night, then capture the cool breezes in the morning by closing the windows again)
go outside and find some shade or a public swimming pool! You'll be
complaining when it's too cold, so enjoy it while you can!
- Install ceiling fans!
- Plant trees and shrubs around your house, especially on the west side, to make more shade against your house!
LOUD and PROUD when taking the above Level I actions - be a positive,
funktastic role model to your friends, family, and community! Don't be
pushy or moralistic, just make sure they know you're doing what you do
for the Earth and why!
Make your friends bike places with you more often.
Ask your principal to bring in more bike racks, and less parking spots.
you get on the bus, thank people randomly (or the whole bus at once)
for reducing their fossil fuel emissions and saving the Earth - tell
them that they've produced 80% fewer greenhouse gases by taking the bus
than if they drove alone - plus it's cheaper and way more fun! ** Make
it a Level III action by getting all your friends to hop on and off
buses for the day to thank people and inform them of other actions they
Buy re-usable things for birthday and other gifts - coffee mugs, water bottles...
Install low-flow aerators and showerheads to save 2-3 gallons on average per minute.
your garden (and even flush your toilet!) with "grey water" (used
water) - keep a rain barrel at the eaves trough drain spout, collect
your dehumidifier water and even bath and dishes water.
non-undergarment clothes that don't stink 3-4 times before washing.
Tell your friends of course it's possible to wear clothes more than one
day without being stinky.
Ask if the food you're being served is organic, locally grown, and fair trade. Eat it anyways - you made your point!
Write or talk to your local supermarket and ask them to carry more locally grown organic produce.
your cafeteria to have more organic, locally grown, fair trade,
vegetarian and vegan options. Stage a lunchtime hunger strike if they
don't come through.
Grow your own fruits, vegetables, and spices!
vegetarian for good! Learn how to cook vegetarian, and invite your
friends over for a vegetarian potluck, or make them some fantastic
veggie food for them to taste the wonders of tofu!
Make more food from scratch instead of already processed for you.
Start a compost pile in your backyard for all your food waste, or team up with a neighbour and share one!
Try to see if you can buy all your groceries in bulk! Peanut butter and maple syrup are particularly fun!
Become a part of a community garden, or start your own with a couple of neighbours!
Tupperware and a re-usable coffee mug or plastic juice cup (with lid)
with you everywhere! At restaurants, put your leftovers inside your
Tupperware instead of bringing home styrofoam. At fast food joints, ask
them to put the burger and fries into the Tupperware instead of a
wrapper, and your milkshake into the juice cup instead of a disposable
one. Explain this VERY clearly because they will either not understand
or think you are very weird. Explain it to the bedazzled customers
behind you in line.
Convince your school or office to buy 100%
recycled paper and double-side of its printed materials, and to use
reusable inter-office envelopes instead of new envelopes every time
(especially those pesky window envelopes!).
Make sure there
are recycling boxes for paper in every room. Add a second box for
reusable paper, for people to use the other side for printing or note
Make your own day-timer / agenda out of the back of old paper.
all leaks and holes around doors, windows, pipes, roof, floors,
ceilings, and cracks where heat escapes from your home - you can save
up to 20% on your home heating bill!
Replace old light bulbs
with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs - they last ten times
longer and 75% less energy than regular bulbs!
Organize a "Turn It Off!" campaign to remind everyone to save energy!
Organize a litter pick-up in your community.
clothes and shoes until they get holes in them - then repair them with
a patch of old material, or make them into new clothes! Make your own
Franken-shirt out of several old shirts!
Start your shopping
search for everything at second-hand stores. You'd be surprised at what
they have there! For clothes, you can embroider or draw on a new design
to make your very own clothes.
a letter to an elected official or to the editor of your local paper
about sustainable transportation issues - recommend more bike lanes on
major streets, more car pool lanes and car pool parking lots, and
improving access and efficiency of the public transit system.
riding your bike, wear a sign on your back made of recycled cardboard
that says "FOSSIL FUEL FREE!" or "I'm a global COOLER" or "Bikers are
mad wicked yo!"
Start a biking club - you could go
mountain-biking or go for weekend tours along a scenic route and
camping overnight along the way.
Get your school to buy (or fundraise to buy) a reusable water bottle for every student so no one has to buy bottled water!
When replacing sanitoryware, buy toilets that use less water ("low-flow" toilets), or a "composting toilet".
Never wash your hair. Laugh with your friends at the crazy effects that has on your coiffe.
Donate to an organization that works on clean water projects in developing countries.
Save rain water in a big barrel and go water OTHER people's lawns!
non-undergarment, non-mildewy clothes that don't stand up on their own
5-7 times before washing. If you have suddenly lost a lot of friends,
consider a (full) load of laundry.
Hold a contest with your friends to see who can wear clothes the most number of times without washing them.
Refrain from eating non-organic, non-locally grown, non-fair trade produce or food anywhere, anytime.
Write to a national grocery store chain and ask them to carry more locally grown, organic produce and food.
Go vegan for good! Learn how to cook vegan food, and cook for your friends.
Make a vegetarian or vegan cookbook for your friends, or sell it as a fundraiser to support local farmers.
a small vegetarian or vegan potluck club for lunches. If your cafeteria gets upset at the
yummy competition, offer to show them how to make the veggie food
themselves so they can sell it instead!
Next time your
school is doing a fundraiser of any kind, jump in and suggest that you
sell fair-trade, organic, shade-grown chocolate. Check out Cocoa Camino
for awesome fundraising ideas and deals.
Ask the local
coffee shop if they sell "Fair Trade, Organic, Shade Grown Coffee." If
yes, treat yourself to a warm mug and thank them and their customers
for making a choice with a positive impact. If no, tell them to get on
the "Fair Trade Funk Wagon" and "STOP THE EXPLOITATION". Ask to fill
out a comment card, and / or fill them in on fair trade practices
around the world. Also check out how many people are getting their
coffee in waste-free containers and congratulate those that are not
contributing to our landfills.
Stand outside of fast food
locations and hand out washed, used plastic containers (i.e. yogurt
containers) and ask people to get their lunch or at least their french
fries in the container. Congratulate them for using less packaging for
the planet! If you are on your bike you could even take a ride through
the drive-through, and/or ask if the employees are unionized, or where
their beef comes from.
Place thank you posters in libraries, thanking people for saving trees by sharing books, magazines, and newspapers.
ordering pizza, ask them to deliver it without a box. Seriously. They
could keep it on the metal plate it was cooked on, and put inside the
warm insulated little pizza bag. Some places will do it for you, or
else they don't get your business. Give it a try at least for the laugh!
Make sure your house is properly insulated. Instead of using the pink stuff, look into straw bail insulation - natural!
Perform an energy audit on your house to find out other ways to minimize leaks and inefficiency.
"off the grid" - solar or wind power ahoy! Solar panels are expensive,
but imagine no more electricity bills! A first step could be to install
a passive or active solar water heating system.
school go solar! Let the physics and tech classes take on the project
of creating or installing solar panels, at least for one room!
Make birthday and other gifts out of old materials around the house, like old clothes, paper, and wood.
Start a compost at your school cafeteria.
to your elected officials asking for a community composting program, or
an improvement in your community recycling program that adds more
materials to the list of recyclables.
Write to companies of your favourite products and ask them to reduce the packaging and to use more recyclable containers.
your lawn pesticide-free! Put signs on your lawn saying "PESTICIDE-FREE
LAWN!" or "MY LAWN MAY NOT BE AS GREEN AS YOURS BUT YOU'LL DIE FIRST!"
Okay, so maybe the first one was better...
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT WAY TO SAVE MOMMA EARTH IS...
matter what you do to save the Earth, do it because you want to. Making
any choices because you feel bad or guilty will make you resent your
action, and eventually make you sad and no longer psyched to change the
world. Take care of your health first and foremost. HAVE FUN AND OTHERS
(Compliments of Ed Gillis with Leaders Today: www.leaderstoday.com)