*** THE LIST ***

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You've found it.  Probably what this site is most famous for... The List.  Here is a list of things you, as an individual, can do to protect the environment, conserve the Earth's resources, and otherwise further the mission of The Nature Initiative.  Some of the items on the list are easy to follow, heck, you might be doing a bunch of these already.  But we will keep adding to this list and we hope that anyone and everyone, regardless of how dedicated you are to the cause, will be able to find some suggestions and challenges to change their lives.  Remember, each of us can make a change, one step at a time.

Click here to suggest items for the list and to tell us your experiences with trying to complete all the items on THE LIST.

*** The List ***

  1. Commute Intelligently - A bus or train is better than your car, and a bike is even better.

  2. Don't waste electricity - Whenever we use electricity, we help put greenhouse gases into the air.  Listen to your mom - turn off the lights and the television when you leave a room.  Not only does it save you $ on the electric bill, you're helping the environment.

  3. Plant Trees - Planting trees is fun and a great way to reduce greenhouse gases. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air. The fine folks at the National Arbor Day Foundation will send you 10 free trees when you join them.  Check them out at http://www.arborday.org/ for great tree planting tips.

  4. Recycle cans, bottles, and newspapers - When you recycle, you send less trash to the landfill and you help save natural resources, like trees, oil, and elements such as aluminum.

  5. Lobby for Recycling - If your city or municipality doesn't have a recycling program that includes curbsite pickup, start pressuring your local government to implement one.  

  6. Buy recyclable products - Buy recyclable products instead of non-recyclable ones.  Look for the recycle mark – three arrows that make a circle – on the package.

  7. Buy recycled products - Wait, isn't this the same as #6? What the heck!  Nope, there is a difference between recyclable and recycled products.  Recycled products are made from previously used materials and are often recyclable.  Also, it usually takes less energy to make recycled products than to make new ones.

  8. Go Solar - Solar energy can be used to heat homes, buildings, and water.  It can also be used to make electricity. Today, more than 200,000 houses in the United States take advantage of the sun's energy.  It is among the cleanest forms of energy available.  Tax breaks are often available for individuals and corporations that use solar energy to power their homes and businesses.

  9. Drive Smart - Aim for 40 miles per gallon or more.  Hybrid cars aren't a solution if they don't top that (we're talking to you Lexus and you too Ford Escape).

  10. Buy ENERGY STAR _ Products such as computers, stereos, TVs and appliances with the ENERGY STAR label are made to save more energy than most alternative products. 

  11. Power Shower - Okay, this is something you can do everyday (we hope).  Limit showers to 4 minutes or less.  Focus on washing, soaping, shampooing and getting out of there!  Tom Cruise claims to take 1 minute showers! That might be "mission impossible" for most of us, but if Americans limit their showers to only 4 minutes, water use would be reduced by almost 50%.

  12. Take reusable bags when shopping - Not just for groceries, but anywhere.  Small purchases can be put in a backpack or purse, instead of in paper or plastic.  Just remember to get a receipt - you don't want to look like you're taking a "five finger discount"!  Hey, Whole Foods will even give you a small credit on your purchase if you bring in some of their bags the next time you shop. 

  13. Sign up for Green Power with your electricity supplier - People are often surprised to find out that most large city electricity suppliers allow you to choose a Green Power (albeit at a slightly higher price).  Just call them and sign up!

  14. Compost - Forget filling up landfills, put food scraps and garden clippings in a compost pile in your yard.  In a few months, decomposition will leave you with a good pile of fertilizer for your garden. 

  15. Less packaging - When choosing between similar products, choose the one with less unnecessary packaging.  Such buying habits will encourage manufacturers to package more efficiently.

  16. Pay Bills Online - Electronic payments save paper (the payment stub, the check, the envelope) and energy (less planes & trucks moving around our mail).  And you save 37 cents on postage!

  17. Go Green when you clean - Use biodegradable cleaning products that lack harmful chemicals that pollute groundwater.   

  18. Go native - When planting your garden, plant native species.  Non-indigenous plants can disrupt the ecosystem of your community. 

  19. Give your monitor a rest - Don't leave your computer running all night at the office.

  20. Conserve at the sink - Don't leave the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving.  Not only will you conserve water, you'll save money on the water bill!

  21. Stick it in the fridge - Put a pitcher or bottle of tap water in your refrigerator (a 2-liter soda bottle works great).  That way you won't have to waste water running your tap to get cold water.

  22. Re-read - Buy used books.  And then recycle by giving them to a friend or selling them to a used bookstore.

  23. Rent, don't buy - Rent movies instead of buying them.  It cuts down on the number of tapes and DVDs made, and the accompanying packaging. 

  24. A tale of two sides - If possible, when printing or photocopying, use both sides of the paper.

  25. Cut off the junk mail - Sometimes it seems like the credit card solicitations alone are enough to fill a landfill.  Reduce junkmail by sending a postcard with your name and address to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.

  26. Buy loose tea and use a reusable infuser instead of buying teas packaged in one-time-use paper or nylon bags.

  27. Drink coffee?  Use a reusable cloth or metal filter instead of paper ones.  If you have to use paper, make sure those filters are made from unbleached, recycled paper.

  28. Grounds for the ground - Don't toss those used coffee grounds in the trash.  Used coffee grounds can prove beneficial in your yard or garden.  Any acid-loving plant (e.g., blueberry bushes, evergreens, hydrangeas, or strawberry plants) will thrive when you sprinkle used coffee grounds on the ground before watering.  You can also add used grounds to your compost pile.

  29. Inflate those tires.  If you have to drive, you might as well get the best fuel efficiency (i.e. pollution efficiency) you can get.  One easy way is to keep your tires inflated to the right level.  Under-inflated tires can hurt fuel efficiency by up to 10%.

  30. Send emails instead of letters.  It saves paper and money and cuts down on the number of planes and trucks needed to cart around the mail.  Some bold souls have even turned to e-vites for their wedding invitations.

  31. For the hardcore conservationists out there- Join the Compact.  It's an informal group of people who promise to go one year without buying new products of any kind (other than food, drink, medication, etc.).  Check out one Compactian's blog at http://sfcompact.blogspot.com

  32. If the Compact [see #31] is too tough for you, you can make a difference by buying used clothes.  Ebay is a great alternative to the thrift shop - you can often find gently worn name brand and designer clothes at great discounts.   

  33. If even the Maytag man thinks your washing machine is a hopeless case - make your new washing machine a front-loading type, which use only 5 gallons of water per wash and spin clothes drier than standard top-loading machines.

  34. VHS? Computer disk? - We know technology has come a long way in the past few years, but for those of you still holding on to your VHS tapes and computer disks consider donating them before tossing them to the curb.  Organizations such as Alternative Community Training accepts donations of VHS tapes and floppy disks.  Check out www.actrecycling.org for how to donate.

  35. Think flat.  Buying a new desktop computer?  Go for the flat screen LCD monitor.  It may a cost a bit more, but the Earth will thank you.  The old-school Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors take more materials to make, use significantly more energy to power, and create more heat which, especially for businesses, means more air conditioning and thus more pollution. 

  36. Download your tunes - If you download your music instead of buying CDs, you eliminate the environmental impact of making CDs, packaging them in plastic, and shipping them around the world.  You also won't have to take your car to the record shop. 

  37. Go with hi-tech instead of tape - Use a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) instead of a VCR for recording your favorite tv shows.  That will mean less discarded video tapes in the landfills and less clutter on your shelves.    

  38. Mug it - Instead of using disposable cups in the break room, bring your own reusable mug to the office.  Coffee tastes better from a nice ceramic mug anyway.   

  39. Think green at tax time - We can probably blame the IRS for leveling hundreds of acres of trees every year to print up hundreds of millions of pages of tax forms and publications.  And don't forget the fossil fuels it takes to ship those forms all over the country.  How about downloading those forms and publications instead.  The publications can be downloaded in searchable PDF format at http://www.irs.gov.   

  40. E-file - By e-filing your tax forms instead of printing them and mailing them, you'll save our natural resources and keep the air cleaner.  And you'll get your refund back quicker!  Some taxpayers can even e-file for free.  Check with the IRS.   

  41. Forget the fax - Instead of faxing a document, scan it and send it by email.  That way you won't generate unnecessary paper waste like a cover sheet or a fax transmittal confirmation.  And the person who gets the document can opt not to print it out if they don't need to. 

  42. Go paperless for bills - Get your credit card bills, phone bills, and other regular bills sent to you by email instead of snail mail.  Most vendors will happily offer this as an option - it saves them postage and printing costs and helps the environment.

  43. Invest green - When choosing your investments, put some money in a "green" or "clean tech" mutual fund or ETF.  These funds tend to invest in companies that are developing technologies and products that will help the environment or regular companies that adhere to strict environmental standards. 

  44. Don't smoke - When you add up all of the people who smoke, we're talking about a lot of useless CO2 being added to our world.  Not to mention the destruction of the environment within 3 feet of the smoker.  Smoking is pollution.  Cigarette butts are litter.  Trust us, your lungs and your friends will thank you. 

  45. Exotic is not earth-friendly - Don't buy exotic pets.  These pets, including certain reptiles, birds and fish, are often collected from foreign locales and of released into the wild (or if they escape) can wreck havoc on the local ecosystem. 

  46. Soy, it's not just for eating - Encourage businesses to print with soy-based inks.  They are more environmentally friendly than chemical inks. 

  47. Be black and white and green all over - Cancel your newspaper subscription and read the news online instead. 

  48. Get a library card - Borrow books from the library instead of buying them. 

  49. Light Naturally - Place work areas at your home and office near windows.  You'll be replacing electric light with free and clean natural light.

  50. Be a Freegan! - You might already be a vegan, but how about rejecting consumerism and trying to be a freegan.  It's a bit severe for most of us, but it is worth trying for at least a day or a weekend each year.  www.freegan.info

Click here for tips 51-100...
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