Blog: Thirty Things to Help Save Our Planet

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The Union for Concerned Scientists sent me a list of things we can do to keep America green. The problem for me is I’ve already done many and, because of where I live, I’m unable to do some.

So, if you have a home and pay your own utilities, do these things to help the environment flourish and convert our energy to cleaner sources.

You’re supposed to do one thing each day. Good luck.

Day 1: Find out who your state representative is. Put his or her name, email or phone number on your phone, fridge or desk for further reference. 

(Too late. Our only representative was Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) but President Trump just nominated him for secretary of the interior. If he’s confirmed, the winner of a special election in the spring will replace him.)

Day 2: Ditto with your senators. 

Day 3: Call or email your senators and representatives and ask them to stand strong for the environment and for climate science. Tell them to support the agreements that are in place and regulations on methane and power plants. Also, demand the new administration support the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Day 4: Set your green goals for the year. Upgrade appliances to those that use less water and energy. Volunteer more. Commit to using fewer disposable items. I’m stuck with the appliances that are in my apartment and my car is in storage so I can’t volunteer until summer. I’ve given up using almost all disposables.

Day 5: Find an ally with whom you can share goals and talk at least once per month.

Day 6: Stop doing business with mega-banks and find a small, neighborhood or community bank that reflects your values, supports communities, small businesses and low-income neighborhoods instead of fossil fuels, predatory practices and ridiculous CEO salaries.

Day 7: Open a bank account at the small bank of your choice and move all direct deposits there.

Day 8: Tell your old bank why you’re moving. 

I did this several years ago and am once again pleased to be called by my name instead of a number. I told Wells Fargo I was old enough to have free checking and when they realized I was serious they ran backward. It was fun telling them they blew it.

Day 9: Skip the Starbuck’s line. Find a local coffee shop that offers fair trade and organic coffee and milk. Find out why organic milk is better. 

Been there, done that. It’s also cheaper to make a latte at home using your old microwave to heat the milk.

Day 10: Talk to your employer about adding socially responsible options to your 401K. 

I’m retired, and after more than half a decade of interest rates in almost negative numbers, I have little or no savings.

Day 11: Switch your electricity bills to clean energy if you haven’t already. It’s fast, easy and your bill should remain the same. 

Mine is included in my rent.

Day 12: Start a conversation café or join one and share your thoughts on big issues with others at least once per month. Conversation begets action.

Day 13: Shop at small, independent and green businesses instead of big box chains.

Day 14: Learn how recycling is done and why it’s often done wrong. Share this knowledge with someone else.

Day 15: Learn about climate change and how to correct climate change deniers when they share junk science. 

Day 16: Write a thank you note to someone who is doing good in your community.

Day 17: Add diversity to your workplace by reaching out to communities of color.

Day 18: Reduce, reuse and repair instead of throwing out. This is a tough one because when you take a broken appliance in for repair, you’ll be told it’s cheaper to buy new.

Day 19: Find one thing you could share instead of buying new.

Day 20: Reduce wasted food by buying less and storing correctly.

Day 21: Support your local food bank and families in need.

Day 22: Find out what you can do to support water rights for native people. Standing Rock isn’t over yet.

Day 23: Amazon uses huge amounts of data storage space in the cloud; ask them to be more transparent about their vague clean energy goals.

Day 24: Sign the petition to tell Samsung to end poor labor conditions in smart phone factories where workers are exposed to toxic chemicals.

Day 25: If your refrigerator was made before 1993, it’s a huge energy hog. No matter how old it is, clean the coils every six months with a vacuum or rag. It makes a difference.

Day 26: Walk slowly around your home and make a note of drafts. When possible, re-caulk around windows and weather strip doors.

Day 27: Switch from a big bank credit card to one that supports local communities and green environments.

Day 28: Walk or bike to nearby places where you would ordinarily drive.

Day 29: Visit Politifact on your computer and check anything that sounds fishy. Politifact is a Pulitzer Prize winning site that will give you the real news.

Day 30: Finally, buy yourself an organic fair trade chocolate bar. You’ve earned it.