It may seem like the actions of one person won't make a difference, but there are actually many ways you can help.
Conserve water at home Wasting water is one of the biggest ways individuals impact the health of the planet. Taking measures to use less water is something you can start doing right away. If you live in an area with a water shortage, this is even more important for the health of your region's environment. Try to check off as many items as possible from this list:
- Check and fix any water leaks. A leaky faucet can waste a lot of water.
- Install water-saving devices on your faucets and toilets. A low-flow showerhead could be a good start.
- Don't wash dishes with the water running continuously. Use a method that requires less water to get the dishes clean.
- Turn off washing machine's water supply to prevent leaks. It doesn't need to be on all the time.
- Replace old toilets with new ones that use a lot less water.
- Wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes. Doing a half-load wastes water.
- Don't use too much water to water your lawn.
- Don't leave the faucet running while you brush your teeth.
Use fewer chemicals. Chemicals used to wash our bodies, homes, cars and everything else get washed down the drain or absorbed in the grass, and eventually end up in the water supply. Since most people use heavy-duty chemicals for all sorts of things, chemicals are doing real damage to waterways and aquatic life. The chemicals aren't good for humans, either, so do your best to cut back on them. Here's how:
- Learn about alternatives to household cleaning items that do not use hazardous chemicals. For example, using a solution of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water works as well as most commercial cleaners for basic cleaning jobs. Baking soda and salt are also cheap, nontoxic cleansers.
- When no good alternatives exist to a toxic item, find the least amount required for an effective, sanitary result.
- Instead of using chemical-laden shampoos and soaps, try making your own.
- Instead of using pesticides and herbicides, find natural ways to get rid of weeds and pests.
Buy local goods. Buying local helps combat air pollution in two ways. You don't have to travel as far to get what you need, and products don't have to travel as far to get to you, either. Making smart choices about where your food, clothes, and other goods come from can help make a dent in air pollution.
- Shop at farmer's markets and buy food that was produced as close to your home as possible.
- When you're online shopping, pay attention to how far the items you order will travel before they arrive. Try to find items that won't have to travel long distances.
- Pay attention to where your clothes, electronics, home goods, and other possessions were made. As much as possible, buy items that were made in your region.
Become an air pollution activist. Identify local groups working to combat air pollution, and find a way to get involved. By educating yourself and others about the problem, you can have a greater impact than you'd have by simply making lifestyle changes.
- Join a group that plants trees to help clean the air.
- Become a bike activist. Work to have safe paths built in your city.
- Contact your local representatives to speak up about issues particular to your region. If there's a factory spewing pollutants into the air, for example, get politically active to put a stop to it.