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15 Things YOU Can Do to Protect the Earth

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15 Things YOU Can Do to Protect the Earth

You might think protecting the Earth is a monumental task, one that can only be performed by superheroes. But believe it or not, there are many things we can all do to make a difference. Even small changes can have a big impact.

In honor of Earth Day, here are 15 practical steps you can take toward living a more sustainable life and help protect the Earth:

Smart Heating and Cooling

1. Weather seal your home. This is a big one. So much of the energy most of us use to heat our homes just slips out through the cracks. Have an energy audit performed on your home—some communities and organizations even offer them for free—and insulate, insulate, insulate!

2. Put on a sweater. Why heat up your whole home when you’re just using one room? Dress for the season. Don’t expect to be comfortable in shorts and a tank top when it’s snowing outside. Put on layers, even indoors, and bundle up under blankets when you’re not moving around.

3. Use your curtains and blinds. Curtains are good for more than just privacy, they can also help you regulate the temperature inside your home. In the winter, open your curtains or blinds during the day to let in the sunlight and close them at night to keep in the heat. In the summer time, do the opposite.

4. Cool cooking. During those Dog Days of Summer, try grilling outside or using the microwave more. It will help keep the heat out the house so you don’t have to crank the A/C.

Reduce Waste

5. Reduce. Try to fix old things before buying new things. Buy used items whenever possible, at secondhand stores, garage sales, on eBay. Say “no” to drinking straws at the restaurant.

6. Reuse. Whenever possible, opt for reusable versions of popular disposable items, including water bottles, coffee cups, diapers, razors. Reuse plastic food containers for storage. Don’t just throw away unwanted items. Donate them. Repurpose them. Turn them into craft projects. Be creative.

7. Recycle. We all know to do it by now, but a reminder never hurts. It can be so easy to just toss that one tin can into the trash, just this one time … By being conscientious about everything you throw in the trash, recycling will become second-nature.

8. Compost. When you say “recycle,” most people think of bottles, cans, and paper. Composting is nature’s original way of recycling — turning “trash” into healthy new soil. You don’t need a complicated bin, just set aside a corner of your yard to dump out food scraps and yard debris, and turn it over every so often. Don’t have a yard? Many cities, towns, and community gardens have a public compost pile. Or try worm composting!

Eat Green

9. Eat locally. By eating foods that are in season, and grown in your local area, you not only support your local ecosystems, but your food will also be fresher and require less fuel (and carbon output) to get to you. If possible grow your own vegetables.

10. Eat less meat. Environmental advocates and health experts agree that Americans eat too much meat. Cutting out meat for even one day a week can help to reduce the environmental impacts of meat production, and it’s good for your health.

Change Behind the Wheel

11. Drive less. Find ways to combine errands to make fewer trips. Use public transportation, carpool, walk, or bike. Work from home if possible. Have fun closer to home.

12. Keep your car well maintained. A poorly running car is a gas-guzzling car, no matter what the owner’s manual says. Keep your tires properly inflated, and your engine tuned up, and follow your recommended maintenance schedule.

Remember Mom’s Advice

13. Turn it off. If you leave a room, turn off the lights. Same with the television, the stereo, or any other appliance. Switch to LED lights.

14. Be water wise. Take shorter showers. Wait until you have a full load of laundry. Shut off the water when brushing your teeth or hand washing dishes.

15. Hang it up. Instead of using the clothes dryer, hang clothes up to dry, whether inside or outside. You only need to toss clothes into the dryer for about 10 minutes if you miss that soft out-of-the-dryer feeling.


Beware of phantoms — Those little red or green lights you see when you turn off your computer, DVD player, TV, etc., require power to light up. Unplug these things when they’re not in use, or put them on a power strip you can switch on an off.

What would you add to the list? Share your ideas below!


1 Richard Miner { 04.20.18 at 4:57 pm }

Take those clothe bags to stores and use them. There are even small mesh bags for fruits and vegetables; no need to use those smaller plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable aisles. When plastic bags do end up in our house, I wash them if necessary and place them on a device I made to hold them. It’s a small board with dowels sticking out at various angles. I use it for paper towels too, then reuse the plastic bags and towels.

2 Paula { 04.19.18 at 12:29 am }

I do all of the above, plus shut off the hot water heater until you need to actually use hot water ( saves us about $20.00 a month ), plus, we are now cooking and baking with a solar oven. It not only saves fuel, but also keeps the house cool! Plus, it is so much fun!

3 Protectors and Neglecters – Global Warming { 01.19.18 at 10:09 pm }

[…] J. (2010). 15 Things YOU Can Do to Protect the Earth. [image] Available at: http://farmersalmanac.wpengine.com/home-garden/2010/04/22/15-things-you-can-do-to-protect-the-earth/ [Accessed 20 Jan. […]

4 Lemongrass { 04.19.17 at 7:57 pm }

I use old sheets to make kitchen towels and to make small bags that I use at the fruit and veggie stand.

5 Susan Higgins { 04.20.17 at 8:20 am }

Thanks, Martin Oldford, for this tip!

6 Martin Oldford { 04.19.17 at 8:16 am }

Before changing your oil in your vehicle pull the dipstick to check the quality and quantity. If it’s still clear go another 1000 miles and check it again. That blinking maintenance light is just a nice reminder to change at 3000, 5000 miles or whatever. Most synthetic oils can last up to 10,000 miles unless dusty roads are your thing. Using less oil over the lifetime of your vehicle can mean more than reducing your gas consumption. Lift that hood before going to see you auto mechanic or oil shop.

7 15 Things YOU Can Do to Protect the Earth | Discovering The Outdoors { 04.22.15 at 9:02 am }

[…] via 15 Things YOU Can Do to Protect the Earth – Farmers’ Almanac. […]

8 Reese { 04.24.10 at 8:42 pm }

Adding to the “Change Behind the Wheel” section, I would also say that driving the speed limit or actually a little under is also a good way of helping with better gas mileage. Who wants to fill up their car more often because of higher speeds or better yet get a speeding ticket?

9 Kimmy d { 04.22.10 at 8:59 am }

We used cloth diapers and I use cloth feminine items. We wash in cold water and use the clothesline when weather permits. We also love thrift stores.

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