In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary here are 40 great tips on how to live and work a little more sustainably each day. Try them out this week and see if you can make a few of them work all year.

Tips 31 – 40

31. Throw a sweater in your drawer at work. Try to regulate your own temperature without having to mess with the thermostat in your office or house. By keeping the building a little cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer we can make substantial reductions to our energy usage.

32. Find out more about your electricity. Does it come from coal, nuclear, gas or renewable resources? What is your utility company doing to use more renewables? Are they building wind turbines, solar panels or exploring other sustainable approaches? Contact them and let them know what you think about their efforts. Push the utilities to do more to provide clean energy quickly, and ask what you can do as a consumer of that energy. Need some help in how to reach out, check out some of the Letters on this blog for more ideas.

33. Tell your children. Explain to your kids, or your friend’s kids, why Earth day is so important. Tell them that we all have to do our part to take care of our natural resources, and show them one way that they can help. Need some ideas on activities to do with your kids. Check out the rest of this list and some of my other posts.

34. Visit a park. Cities, States and the federal government all manage parks for our shared use and enjoyment. Take some time outside and check out one of the local parks in your area. Say hello to the rangers or parks operators and ask how things are going. There are often opportunities for volunteers to come and help out. If you enjoyed yourself at the park, see if you can give an hour or two to help them out and pay it forward.

35. Insulate. Make a commitment to check and add some insulation to your home and office. Adding insulation is like putting on a coat in the cold. It keeps us all a little warmer by keeping the warm in and the cold out.  It also works in the reverse by keeping the cold air in during the hot seasons. It may be spring now, but this is a perfect time to do upgrades to your home and make things a little more comfortable for the extreme seasons.

36. Reduce the amount of plastic you purchase. Buying kids toys, how about wood blocks instead of Legos. Looking for a new DVD, get the one with the paper box instead of the jewel case. Just bought a pair of shoes, take the box but tell the clerk to keep the plastic bag. Almost every purchase we make has some bit of plastic in it. Most plastics are made from petroleum, i.e. oil. See how much you can cut out of your shopping list. 

37. Host a swap. Do you have old clothes that don’t fit anymore? What about appliances or dishes that you don’t use? Any old tools that you just don’t have any use for? Why not call up a few friends and host a swap? Have everyone bring a few things that they just don’ t need, but thing you might. Instead of trying to sell stuff on Ebay or having a garage sale it is a fun way to see friends and recycle things we would probably all throw away.

38. Save your rainwater. Next time it rains, put a bucket outside. When it is sunny use the water you collected to water your plants or wash your car. If you want to really get good at this add rain barrels to your building’s storm gutters. At most single family homes you can collect 10-30 gallons of water with only a 1/2″ of rain providing lots of water to keep those daffodils blooming in sun.

39. Tell your story. Share the ways you are making your home, your office and your life more sustainable. Post a message here and share your ideas with the world. If we all do a little something, we will have made a huge change together. 

40. Earth day is every day. Start by celebrating all week and see if you can keep up these tips all year!

In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary here are 40 great tips on how to live and work a little more sustainably each day. Try them out this week and see if you can make a few of them work all year.

Tips 21-30

21. Add some solar to your lifestyle. Put up solar panels on your house, add a solar hot water heater or even just get a solar battery charger for your Ipod. Take advantage of the energy the sun gives us every day and reduce your electricity consumption, even a little bit.

22. Reduce your trash. Start by finding out how much trash you and your family, or you and your company make each month. You can count bags, or find out the weight hauled away. Publicize the quantity in a place where everyone can see and make suggestions on reducing, reusing and recycling before your cohorts throw stuff away. Set a goal to make a real reduction. Try to reduce by at least one bag or 1% of your total weight a month for a year. If you keep up with the publicity you may be surprized by the results.

23. Learn more about your water. Find out where your water comes from. Is it from a local well, a city system or some bottles shipped from a far away mountain stream? How does the water actually get into your faucet or bottle? What is the watershed that feeds it? Where is the aquifer? All states and many municipalities have water management plans that explain where the water comes from and how it is managed both for quantity and quality. You can find them online through your local water company or the environmental protection agency. Check it out.

24. Call, email or text. Communicate electronically and save the travel or the postage whenever it makes sence. Using electronic communication reduces the amount of travel and mail required every day.

25. Bring a canvas bag everywhere you go. Stick a simple canvas tote in your purse or backpack. Use it whenever you go to the store, any store, instead of a shopping bag. Stick a couple of extra ones in the trunk of your car for when you need to buy a lot of stuff.

26. Re-sole and re-lace your old shoes. We all have old shoes that we don’t really wear anymore. Take them to a cobbler and get new soles and laces to give them a new life. If you think they are out of style or don’t fit anymore donate them so someone else can enjoy your old kicks.  

27. Antiques are cool. Need a new lamp, check out a thrift shop. Looking for furniture, try a garage sale. See if you can find that one thing you really need used. This works for office furniture and factory tools just as well as home goods. Find out where the local industrial thrift shops are and see if you can save a few pennies and find what you need.

28. Shrink wrap. Try to reduce the amount of packaging you use to send gifts or goods. Use smaller more efficient boxes and wrappers. Don’t add extra fill if you don’t really need it. Try to make it simple, safe for delivery and small.

29. Get your company involved. How can your business be a little greener? Are there places where you can reduce waste and improve the bottom line? Is there a way to make product delivery a little shorter and reduce travel impacts? If you could make one minor change to your products or services keeping up quality but making them a little more sustainable what would it be? Write it up and share it with your coworkers. Need some ideas on how to present your plan, check out some of the letters to my favorite companies on this blog.

30.Make a new parking spot. Find a safe secure spot outside or in for you and your friends to park bikes, skateboards, scooters, roller blades or other modes of transportation that don’t require an engine. Don’t forget the hooks for helmets and pads. Let everyone know that there is a new place for their transportation of choice and encourage them to try it out.

Come back tomorrow to see tips 31-40

In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary here are 40 great tips on how to live and work a little more sustainably each day. Try them out this week and see if you can make a few of them work all year.

Tips 11 – 20

11. Buy used. Need a new car, try out a used one first. Most used cars have only been on the road 3-5 years and still are good solid vehicles. Try it out and see if it fits your needs. By purchasing used, we are extending the life of these vehicles and reducing the number of new cars that need to be built each year.

12. Write a letter. Reach out to your mayor, representative even your president and tell them how important the environment is to you. Remind them that you elected them and that you expect them to do what they can to keep our waterways clean, make our energy sources more efficient and our homes safe and beautiful. Need an idea for a letter, check out some of the examples in the Letters category.

13. Open your windows. We all need fresh air. If the temperature is comfortable, open your windows and air the place out. Air quality will improve and you’ll probably be pretty comfy.

14. Compost. Start a compost bin in your backyard or on your stoop. See how much waste you can divert from a landfill just by separating out the egg shells and banana peals into a compost pile for next years flowers.

15. Celebrate! Make Earth Day a holiday for your family and friends. Host a picnic, go for a hike or just spend some time together outside enjoying our shared home. It is a day to remember how lucky we are to have such a great place to live, and to remind ourselves that we need to work to keep it beautiful.

16. Challenge your partners. Share your plans to become more sustainable with your business partners. Tell these other companies that supply or receive your services and goods that you expect them to take similar steps and challenge them to show you real results. Set real goals that you both can achieve and hold each other to them.

17. Clean your filters. At work, at home, at school ask if the filters have been cleaned in your HVAC systems? If they haven’t anytime in the last decade make sure that it happens. The air quality in the building will improve and the system won’t have to work as hard to maintain the right temperature.

18. Turn the lights out. There is nothing more romantic than candlelight. Why not try a turning out your electric lights for a night and living by candlelight, or even just turning in early. You will save electricity and you might have a great time changing up your regular routine.

19. Eat Organic. Try to eat at least one meal a day made of all organic food. Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.  Try it out and see what you think. If you like that fresh chemical free taste stick with it.

20. Walk the stairs. Do you need to take the elevator to the third floor? Try walking the stairs for a week. Keeping the elevators idle will reduce electrical usage and beef up those quads and calves.

Come back tomorrow to see tips 21-30.

In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary here are 40 great tips on how to live and work a little more sustainably each day. Try them out this week and see if you can make a few of them work all year.

Tips 1 – 10

1. Take a walk. Can you walk to school, or the store, or to work today? Go for it. It will add some exercise to your routine and save a few miles on your car. Plus, you will save emissions and money.

2. Disposable package? Use it twice. If every time we bought a plastic water bottle, or paper cup we used it twice instead of just once we would effectively double the life cycle of that bit of plastic and reduce our waste by half. It is simple math, but let’s try to reuse everything that we buy for only a single use at least once more before we throw it out.

3. Slow down your food. Eat local and in season. By supporting local farms and making choices that are in season we are getting the best food at the right time. Eating seasonally means that produce doesn’t have to be processed and it is fresh and delicious. When you are out to eat ask your server what is in season. If they can’t tell you, tell them to ask the chef. You’ll find out just how fresh your food really is.

4. Check the bottom line. Find out what it costs to keep the lights on when no one is in your store, office or house. Talk to your coworkers and family about reducing the time that the lights are on, or at least changing the light bulbs to a more efficient CFL or LED. Share how much you can save by making simple changes.

5. Time yourself in the shower. Can you reduce the amount of time the water is running? Try it for a week and see if you can shave off two minutes from your normal shower. Most normal shower heads use 2.5 GPM (Gallons per minute) so if you save two minutes off your normal shower routine you’ll save 5 gallons of water a day! In a year that is over 1800 gallons of water and over 12 hours of found time in your daily routine.

6.  Read a book. Learn a little more about sustainability and ways to make your life a little greener. There are tons of great books out there. Try Cradle to Cradle to start, or check out something else from my book suggestions post.

7. Pick up. Grab one garbage bag, walk around your neighborhood and fill it. Most of us live in a place where someone needs to pick up after all of the litter and mess. Today, let that someone be you.

8. Talk to your boss. This week, find a time to ask your supervisor how the company you work for is getting more sustainable this year? Ask them to provide specific answers, or challenge them to help you take steps towards getting greener. Be warned, this will usually lead to new projects, which may lead to added responsibility and potential promotions. If you are the boss, ask your employees the same question and set achievable goals.  

9. Car pool. For one week try to car pool with a coworker or a friend. Take turns doing the driving and see if you can cut down your combined mileage. It is a great way to save a few dollars on gas and repairs and improve a friendship along the way.

10. Plant. Pick your favorite plant, a tree, a vegetable, a flower and find a place to plant it. Take responsibility for it and make sure that it has appropriate water and sun. It is a great way to remind us all daily that we have real responsiblity for the earth.

Come back tomorrow to see tips 11-20.