Small Ways to Make a Significant Impact
Over the last two decades, much has changed with respect to how we live. Whereas cell phones and the Internet were merely a novelty in the mid-1990s, nowadays you'd be hard pressed to find someone, even a child, who doesn't have their own cell phone and isn't going online at least once per day.
Another significant change over that time period has been an attitudinal shift toward a more environmentally conscious society. Nearly every community across the country now has some type of recycling program, and the "Go Green" mentality, in particular, has really taken off just in the last calendar year alone.
Despite such newfound environmental responsibility, many people are still uncertain as to what they can do and if anything they do actually has a significant impact. Fortunately, there are many things concerned citizens can do that are both easy and influential, particularly if practiced on a larger scale by concerned citizens across the country.
* Car pool to work. Car pooling has long been suggested and even encouraged by local governments as a way of reducing pollution. Many cities even provide rush hour car pooling lanes for vehicles with more than one person in them. Car pooling can help save gas, time and is especially helpful for the environment, as auto emissions contribute greatly to the nation's air pollution problem.
If you can't find someone to car pool with, consider public transportation. Many cities have worked hard to upgrade their public transportation as a means to relieve traffic congestion and encourage their citizens to use mass transit. As a result, public transportation has improved considerably over the years and, of course, it's often far less expensive than driving yourself to work each day.
* Change your property's landscape. Deciduous trees and shrubs, which are those that shed their leaves each fall, are excellent for the environment. That's because they act as air filters, reducing smog while simultaneously cooling the air on hot days.
Another less obvious benefit of planting more trees around your property is the landscaping angle. Gasoline-powered lawn mowers and other such lawn and garden equipment are far less fuel efficient than automobiles. Such tools have high rates of air pollution and, if your yard is of considerable size, that can add up to a significantly negative impact over time.
* Reduce waste. Reducing waste can have a positive impact on the environment, particulary if this reduction is emphasized across the country. For example, disposable items such as bottled water are wasteful and very harmful to the environment. Even if they're recycled, these items are not as environmentally friendly as a water filter, which can simply be attached to your kitchen faucet and provide the same clean water you'd get from bottled water, at a fraction of the cost.
Other effective ways to reduce waste include using reusable cloth grocery bags and brewing your own coffee each morning to reduce your usage of styrofoam or plastic cups from the local coffee shop. While these seem like minimal changes at best, think of all the plastic grocery bags and styrofoam cups you use in a given month, and you'll gain a greater understanding as to how wasteful these disposable products truly are.
* Support environmentally friendly legislation. Arguably the biggest way to make an impact is to promote and vote for environmentally friendly legislation. While more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious, legislation is the only way to guarantee that people and businesses behave in a responsible way. Support local legislation that promotes recycling programs and waste reduction. This will make it law for people to be environmentally responsible and it will facilitate more widespread change.