Environmental problems are becoming increasingly detrimental to our society, and human activity factors into a major cause of those problems. However, there are several ways in which humans can reduce these environmental issues. Always reduce, reuse, and recycle – buy products with minimal packaging and recycle glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum when possible. This will help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted each year. By using less heat and air conditioning, energy can be conserved and carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced. Be sure to use CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs – these bulbs use two-thirds less energy and give off 70% less heat than regular light bulbs. Drive less and more efficiently, for this also reduces carbon dioxide emissions. These are just a few of the things society can do to help our environment. There are several more examples in the links provided.
To expand on shaunabannan‘s excellent answer, I would like to say that buying products with minimal packaging is one of the best things that you can do. You can do this by buying fresh fruits and vegetables, and you can also do it by buying items such as rice, grains, cereal, etc. in the largest package that you can carry. Larger packages have less surface area of packaging for the amount of product that they contain. It is also better for you wallet since the price per weight of food is often less when you buy something in a larger package. So, read price tags and labels carefully when you go to the store. American grocery stores often list the “price per ounce” on the price tags on their shelves. Just look closely and you’ll probably see it 🙂
Educating others on environmental problems and what they can do to contribute can cause very positive ripple effects. Using energy efficient bulbs and turning them off when not in use helps, don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, and using the dishwasher to clean full loads of dishes can make a difference. Installing a rain barrel can help you use less water to maintain your yard and garden.
Utilizing websites such as GoodGuide.com in order to select the most sustainable products can make a positive difference. Supporting companies that use less packaging and natural materials can drive up competition and lower prices of eco-friendly products. Carpooling, maintaining your car, and planning your trips so you can go to many places at once will reduce your carbon emissions and gas mileage.
Writing to companies when they are doing a good job and when they aren’t doing a good job is important. It is very easy to do this by emailing companies through their website. Supporting local pro-environmental legislation and signing petitions or writing to congressmen about acts that will harm the environment is a great contribution. Walking or biking when possible over driving is beneficial.
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