Earth Day: Your best tips for combating global warming (Day 1)

In preparation for Earth Day, we asked our WildAlert subscribers what they do on an individual basis to combat climate change. We heard all kinds of great ideas from simple everyday efforts to major undertakings. As April 22 approaches, we’d like to share a sampling of those stories and tips. Check out today’s installation and come back tomorrow for more. We’ll be running new tips every day until Earth Day arrives.

You can also check out our own staff’s tips for combating global warming here.

Here is what I have done to ease the climate change in my world. I have chosen to eat more healthy foods. This small step, by eating fruits and vegetables, has lowered my household waste so much that I only use the trash service in my neighborhood twice a month. I am no longer eating from boxed foods. I will grow most of my own fruit and vegetables this year. I am planting 2 apple trees as I eat these every day. I am also planting grape vines that will grow in my area. I will continue to add more fruit and nut trees to my land. I will sell the excess food at the farmers market every week. Wishing everyone a very Happy Earth Day!! Keep on smiling and the world will be a brighter place.
- Love and Peace, Nancy, Bar Nunn, Wyoming.

I am planting shrubs and plants in my yard, recycling as much as I can and posting a sign on my mail box on Earth Day, reminding everyone to recycle as many paper, plastic and glass items as they can and telling them that in my county, the average person creates 1.5 tons of refuse for the landfill per year.
- Angela, Charlotte, N.C.

Two very easy changes that just about anyone can do: First, eat less meat. That pound of beef on your plate took about a pound of oil to put there. The oil went for transport of course, but also for antibiotics and hormones (to make the beef bigger, faster, in unsanitary factory farm conditions), fertilizers, pesticides, plastics (that styrofoam tray you bought it in at the market) and of course the energy to make them all. Each and every one of these uses of carbon is unnecessary and directly contributes to global warming. You don't have to become a vegetarian (although that's an admirable goal), and you certainly don't have to quit meat all at once. But every meal you eat that doesn't contain any meat is far better for the environment in every way. So do what you can. Second, get rid of your grass. Grass is completely wasteful. It takes all kinds of fertilizers and pesticides to make it grow, it takes constant watering, and constant mowing. All these things come directly from crude oil, and all contribute directly to global warming. Instead of grass plant native shrubs and bushes. These will grow in the climate conditions native to the area, so you don't need constant watering, and you don't need fertilizers or pesticides. Best of all, they don't take constant mowing. You prune once a year, if that.
- Bruce, Raleigh, N.C.

I am currently living in a dorm room so one thing that I try to do is unplug anything I am not using at the moment. So lights that I've turned off are also unplugged. It only takes an extra second or two to plug them back in when I need them again. :) Less electricity wasted! Also — although I hardly ever get off campus anyway — I try to use the bus whenever possible. For longer trips — Carpool! Always fun. Also simple things like not wasting napkins and keeping a paper bag separate from my trash can for recycling. Not too exciting or glamorous but every little thing helps.
– Alexandra, Bellefonte, Pa.

As a member of numerous organizations, including Wilderness Society, I am taking action on numerous environmental and nature issues involving government agencies and/or officials. Also, surveys done and some letters sent to newspaper editor if issues involved are of enough importance.
– Dennis, Orange, Calif.

Some folks might call it crazy, but for me, it is the best part of my day. It's the half hour each morning and evening that I spend commuting to work on my bike. In Pittsburgh, where the winter weather, drivers, and hills don't have a reputation for being very bike-friendly, in can be a challenge some days. But the burst of energy in the morning and the beautiful views of the city that my ride provides me, as well as the knowledge that I am taking a small step to reduce my impact on the environment, keeps me pedaling. I encourage everyone to give it a try, if only for a week, or even a day. You'll see in no time how rewarding and easy it is to combat climate change from the seat of a bike.
– Brian, Pittsburgh, Penn.

I built my own solar-powered water heater. I took a defunct water-cooler and removed the radiator on the back, careful not to let out any refrigerant (as it harms the o-zone layer) by clamping the lines shut before cutting them. I then took air-line tubing (you can get this at any store that sells fish-tank equipment) and cut it in half, each pushed onto one end of the metal pipe. I then ran water through it overnight by siphon (as running water would be a waste) as well as some rubbing alcohol to clean out the pipes. I now have a fully-functional hot water heater that turns 40 degree water into 130 degree water!
- Jack, Oakhurst, N.J.

Boycott being a purchaser as much as possible. You are not a consumer when 41% of purchases end up in a landfill. I stopped driving a car 8 years ago and rely on my bipedalism and public transportation. I am pushing for my college to get real serious about solar power on campus. We have a geology professor who is brilliant and works that angle for her day job.
- Michael, Manville State, N.J.


My wife and I decided to reduce our retirement funds by $24,000 and buy a Prius. We have a wood stove in the kitchen so I just toss the bread on it rather than using the electric toaster. I wash the dishes in two inches of water (heated on the wood stove). I graduated from college 50 years ago; but will not travel the 350 miles for the reunion as it would be a waste of gas — and walking or biking would take too much time. I produce shows on local public access TV encouraging viewers to consider alternative energy sources, riding bikes to work, etc. When I wash my hands I begin with the merest dribble of water to get my hands lathered up. We grow as much of our food as we can in our yard. Lawn is kept at a minimum and cut with a push mower. I'm learning to sharpen and use cross cut saws for moderate sized logs. And of course we heat with wood. We buy locally grown food as much as possible. I'm on a committee trying to figure out how the local middle school can grow as much of its cafeteria food on its own land as possible.
- Nathan, N. Bennington, Vt.

I eat a vegan diet (for 21 years now :). The best thing for your health and the health of the planet!!!!
- J.C., Athens, Ga.

I'm changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs, taking shorter showers, turning off the water as I brush my teeth and wash my hands, keeping the heating and air conditioning off and using fans and sweaters instead. I bought a stainless steel water bottle and I refill that instead of buying plastic water bottles or using paper or plastic cups. I turn off my computer at night and unplug electronic devices and appliances when they're not in use. I put my car in neutral and coast down hills and don't accelerate into turbo as much.
- Heather, San Francisco, Calif.

It's the small, simple things that I'm doing to help wherever I can... Recycling everything, washing clothes in cold water, turning all the lights out or dimming them at night, buying organic food (which means no meats from factory farms or veggies with GMO's) and using household products that are environmentally friendly. When I need to run errands or go to the doctor, dentist, etc., I combine everything in one trip to save gas and lower exhaust fumes.
- Marilyn, Woodstock, Ga.

My wife and I purchased a 2007 Pontiac Vibe in the fall of 2007. We get about 30 miles per gallon in town and 40 miles per gallon going 60 miles per hour on interstate highways. I won't buy a foreign made vehicle. Our town has a curbside recycling program so all our newspapers, cans and plastic bottles and containers get recycled. I was at the first Earth Day in 1970 and joined Zero Population Growth. We only had one child which lowered our effect on the earth's resources. I support several environmental groups financially and our house is energy efficient.
- David, Moline, Ill.

We have changed over to all compact florescent lighting. We recycle everything, and take it to the recycle center ourselves, to include the trash. This way, we save money on the bill, and the big diesel garbage trucks don't have to run around so much. We also installed a newer, more energy efficient washer and dryer, hot water heater (set to 120 degrees F), and air conditioner. We keep all settings set to their minimal comfort levels. And because we live in a rural setting, we never just drive around. Our trips are planned and timed with our doctor's appointments etc., so that we can do everything in one fell swoop. This way, we only ever put about 75 miles a month on our little 3.0 V6 Ford Taurus. Speaking of which...The Vulcan motor in this car gets (I know this because I have tested it over and over again) 32 MPG at 63 MPH down the freeway. So that's where we drive it. I keep it tuned up and the tries inflated to 35 PSI. I change the oil myself, and it gets recycled too, just any batteries that I might need. And yes. All my household batteries are rechargeable so as to keep as many of them out of the landfills that I can. I will on occasion even stop to pick up stray trash. That's my part to a better world.
- Wayne, Montello, Wisc.

I'll continue to sign petitions against global warming; continue to send letters to the U.S. federal congress and senate; participate in recycling waste; make an effort to use less energy; continue to tell everyone I know that global warming is real, that it is causing massive destruction like Katrina, and will continue to threaten all life as we know it, and that it may already be too late to do anything about it.
- Roy, Glendale Heights, Ill.

Each and everyone has to do there part in our habits in regard to climate change. I'm going to plant a garden, learn to cook better, plant a tree, and pray that with the Lord's help all of this will work. Not real sure the amount of words will help. However, with each battle won, there is another war. I’m keeping the faith that what I do will be one step forward to not having this world die and the life on it.
- Carla, Quincy, Ill.

I am in the advertising specialties business. My boss added reusable grocery tote bags to our inventory. They are a hit with the EcoBrokers. Individually, I walk or take public transportation instead of driving. I also shop at thrift shops. First of all, I save money on clothing, and second of all, buying from thrift shops decreased the demand for new clothing. (I didn't say new styles, just new clothing.) I barter for many of my goods and services.
- Mandi, Oceanside. Calif.

More here.

Remember to check out Wilderness Society staff tips, too.