Social Change

How Can One Individual Help the Environment?

Supported by Ara Chackerian

“I’m just one person; the difference I alone will make is insignificant.” Have you ever thought this to yourself? Well stop right there. Everyone can make a difference. In fact, it all starts with one, it all starts with you.

The first thing you should do is calculate your carbon footprint. Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy have carbon calculators that will determine the impact you are having on the Earth. The calculator will use your consumption patterns, energy use and transportation habits to calculate a number that can help you identify what you are doing right and where you can make improvements. Once you have this information, it’s up to you to implement positive lifestyle changes for the benefit of the environment.

While reducing your emissions is a noble goal, you can also offset what you are putting into the atmosphere whenever you fly. One thing you can do is donate money toward initiatives that reduce emissions, such as renewable energy and tree plantings. Another good idea is to fly Delta, American Airlines and JetBlue airlines, as they offer carbon credits every time you purchase a ticket. You can also buy offsets from Cool Effect or Native Energy. Consider it as a package price with your plane ticket, and take the cost into consideration when planning your next trip.

The Lonely Whale Foundation would like everyone to take the #StopSuckingChallenge and refuse to use straws from now on. If we all do this, 500 million plastic straws would be kept out of the oceans each day.

Many environmental groups have created pre-populated forms that you can use to tell your congressional representatives about your concerns. For example, all you would need to do is sign The Sierra Club’s form, and you will be adding your voice to those who want to save the planet.

If going straw-less or changing over to solar energy isn’t for you, you may be able to switch to renewable energy by contacting Green Mountain Energy, which eliminates the need for you to switch energy providers.