Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Climate & Energy

Economic action to stop global warming


Lifestyle Actions to Curb Climate Change

Light up at night with sustainable energyThere are a number of simple steps you can take at home or at work to reduce energy consumption and help grow the market for green energy.

1. Fly less
In case you needed another excuse to avoid the airport, a domestic flight contributes close to 1,700 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere.  If possible, try to go by train or other forms of mass transportation. If flying is the only option, you can purchase carbon offsets for your travel.

2. Reduce, reuse, and recycle
Most of us try to recycle whenever we have the option, knowing that it saves energy and resources. The aluminum recycling process, for example, takes 95 percent less energy than extracting new aluminum from bauxite ore. Plus, recycling reduces pollution and saves landfill space.

But in addition to recycling bottles and cans, there are other great recycling and reuse strategies to save energy and preserve the environment.

For example: 

3. Buy local, organic food
By purchasing locally grown food, you'll help save energy—and oil—because you'll reduce the cost of transporting your food from one end of the country, or globe, to the other. Also, organic food isn't grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, so you'll save the energy required to make these compounds, too. In addition, you'll keep farmers and communities healthy, and ensure the ability of our land to continue to provide food. Find organic products in the National Green Pagesand also check out these articles:

4. Eat less meat
More than a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the US is used in animal production, according to the nonprofit Compassion Over Killing.  Vegetarian food requires much less energy to produce. Try taking meat off your menu every other day and you could help save close to 500 lbs of CO2 emissions each year. (Learn more in our artlice "Eat Less Meat, Cool the Planet.")

5. Drive less
Start by replacing at least one short car trip a week with a walk or bicycle ride. Encourage family and friends to walk with you. Over time, you can ratchet up the number of car trips you replace to two a week, three a week, and even one a day or more. Learn more about green transportation »

6. Build a green roof
Green roofs can be achieved by covering a flat section of your rooftops with small plants growing in a few inches of engineered soil. In addition to reducing household cooling and heating costs and extending the life of the roof, green roofs also assist with a host of urban environmental problems—they filter stormwater, help to cool and clean city air, and help prevent flooding. Figure out, "Is A Green Roof is Right For You?" by reading our article.

7. Speak out
Use your consumer and investor power to let the companies you do business with know that you want them to do their part to curb climate change and promote green energy.

8. Teach your children
Helping children understand how simple actions make a difference is a crucial part of creating a sustainable future. Take the steps on this list with your children.  Explain to them why they are important for the health of people and the environment. And give them tasks they can do on their own, such as making sure all lights are turned off before leaving the house, taking recycling out to the curb, or putting kitchen scraps into the compost each day.