Here are some easy ways to help the planet that everyone can do without spending $$$$.
Walk and cycle more. Short trips in the car are proportionally worse than longer ones, as the cars emissions are greater when its not warmed up.
Lighten your cars' load, remove racks you don't use, don't brake at high speeds.
Consider alternatives such as video and telephone conferencing, use of email/internet, facsimile and telephone to cut your organization's travel bill and make huge greenhouse gas savings.
Leave on foot twenty minutes earlier, arrange a car-share, shop locally, plan your trip to do everything in one fell swoop, lose the environmentally big offender 4 x 4 and get something fuel efficient. (like a bicycle)
Don't leave TV's and computers on standby. Unplug what you are not using. Use power strips for stereo equipment, etc., and turn them off or completely unplug them when not using so that they are not in standby mode. Stop the energy leaks.
Dry your clothes without a dryer. This also helps with humidity in the home during winter.
Wash clothes in cold water only. Wash only with full loads.
Use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Read labels. Baking soda and vinegar are wonders. Toss in a little Cream Of Tartar (yes that's right) and you are home free.
Precook food using your small microwave. It uses fewer resources
Don't eat fast foods. McDonalds destroys rainforests.Rainforest Conservation Issues: McDonald's Destroys Rainforests, Eat There and So Do You
Recycle. Reuse. Don't fill up the landfills by making wasteful purchases.
Only run your dishwasher when its full, and let the dishes dry by air.
Replace all incandescent bulbs with Energy Star fluorescent bulbs. Turn off lights during daylight hours. When a room is vacated for more than a minute turn off the lights.
Replace or clean furnace filters once a month. Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Keep your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted to save up to 5% of your heating costs.
Dial down 5 degrees and put on sweaters.
Caulk seal and insulate attic doors, windows, doors, and ducts.
Give your refrigerator breathing room against the wall, clean the coils, and don't set the temperature too low. Fresh foods keep at 37-42 degrees Fahrenheit; frozen foods keep at 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the smallest fridge possible, and if you buy a new energy star efficient one, get rid of the old instead of putting it in the basement.
Keep your hot water tank clean. Periodically drain off the sediment in the bottom of the tank. Sediment buildup can insulate the water from the heating element. Open the drain valve or faucet at the base of the water tank and drain a gallon or two of water into a container until it runs clean. Give your heater a big blanket of insulation so its not heating the space around it.
Install low-flow showerheads and faucets or flow restrictors. They are actually pretty inexpensive. Save 10-16% of water heating costs. Take ten minute showers, no baths. Turn down the hot water tank.
Do not buy furniture made from tropical hardwoods; be aware of paper use (use napkins and dishcloths instead of paper towels, reuse paper where you can, and use recycled and preferably unbleached toilet paper.
Use environmentally friendly reusable grocery bags, like those made from recycled plastic or hemp.
Check your tires weekly and make sure they are adequately inflated. It's both safer and saves fuel. If everyone in the United States did it, gasoline use nationwide would come down by 2 percent.
Don't use herbicides or pesticides. Create a yard filled with native plants. Stop mowing unless you are using a push mower.
Plant short dense shrubs around your homes foundation to help with insulation.
Reduce organic waste by composting food scraps, and by leaving short grass clippings on lawns to decompose.
Recycle old clothing by donating it (in season) to homeless shelters, thrift stores, and other community organizations
This holiday use Craigslist , Freecycle or Cheapcycle to purchase gifts. Re-gift and/or create homemade things from renewable sources. Bake some bread. (do the kids really need more stuff??) Give Good Stuff if you feel the need to do otherwise. Good Stuff? - A Behind-the-Scenes Guide to the Things We Buy | Worldwatch Institute
Don't use disposable food containers/utensils unless you can find the kind made from potatos or corn.
Plant a tree.
If you golf, actually walk the course. Lose the cart. Better yet, don't golf. The destruction of acreage and the pollutants required to maintain courses are harmful.
Only have one kid.
Use water based paints with zero VOC. Use brushes not sprayers.
Turn off the A/C in summer and open the windows.
Get rid of some of these things: (please notice I said some, most just cant think of living without these things)
• Lava lamps
• Air purifiers
• Electric carving knives
• Electric toothbrushes and toothbrush sanitizers
• Leaf blowers
• Coffee warmers
• Electric doorbells
• Hot curlers, curling irons, hair straighteners, blow dryers
• Electric Fountains
• Electric clocks
• Electric air fresheners
• Electric treadmills, stationary bikes, and other electric exercise equipment
• Palm Pilots
• Motorized tie racks
• Electric staplers
• Electric games
• More than One TV
Consumers Energy offers Green E TRC's. http://www.green-e.org/your_e_choices/mi_home.html
Act politically. Vote. Save Our Environment Home Page
Educate yourself. Union of Concerned Scientists
Set a goal for 50% reduction. Then educate a friend. Educate a teacher.
And my favorite and the easiest tip.................
Become vegan. You will do more for the environment than turning off lightbulbs. Below is some reading material.