Little Things Make a Big Difference

In your room

  • Ask your parents if there is plant that you can keep in your room, decorate the pot, and water it when it’s thirsty.
  • Turn off the TV, lights, and stereo to save electricity before leaving a room. When it comes to music, many musicians support environmental causes, so check out the performers and bands that help the planet.
  • Use rechargeable batteries in electronics and toys whenever possible. Ask for a ‘solar-charger’ as a present and recharge your batteries from the sun!
  • Remember to turn off the faucet while you are brushing your teeth. You can save a couple of gallons every day. Americans use 100 gallons of water each day, twice the rate of other industrialized nations.

With your family and friends

  • Make a weekend project with family and friends to plant trees in your yard or in the community. Trees help the air, water, soil, habitats, and they add shade.
  • Go for an easy green gift. Give your friends or colleagues a birthday card or book made from post consumer ‘recycled’ paper.
  • Help your parents pack groceries in reusable shopping bags rather than using disposable plastic or paper bags.
  • Adopt a favorite environmental cause with your friends. The cause could be an existing organization or something as simple as a fundraiser for landscaping at the local library.

“Green” food and drink

  • If you don’t already have a filtration system on your refrigerator or kitchen sink, encourage your parents to get one. Drink water from home filters or pitchers. Since the 1980’s we have increased annual plastic water bottled consumption from 1.5 to 9 billion.
  • Go for more veggies all around. Farmers need about 6 gallons of water to grow a head of lettuce, but it takes over 1,000 gallons of water to produce a serving of beef, because the feed for the cows is so inefficient to grow.
  • Eat more local food. Keep your eyes out for local farmers markets and encourage your parents to buy local produce as well as ‘natural’ and organic foods that are not grown with chemical pesticides.
  • Go for the most local of all and plant some tomatoes in your back yard or a container garden for herbs inside or outside of your home. You’ll taste the difference.

Around your house

  • Help your parents set the timing on the thermostat to save money. Programmable automatically adjust based on your family’s lifestyle, but over 70% of them in homes are not programmed. You can do it!
  • Convince your parents to switch to Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) bulbs. On average, they use 66% less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • Encourage your parents to buy an ENERGY STAR qualified appliance the next time that they make a purchase. High efficiency appliances save on electricity, natural gas, and water. You save money and the environment.
  • Encourage your parents to get a home Energy Audit. Green home health check-ups for a few hundred dollars now can save you thousands in energy bills. Learn more on the ‘Energy Audit’ section of

In your yard

  • Use a bucket to collect rain water, and then help out by watering a few plants.
  • Get your parents to test out facial tissues made from recycled content. Save over 150,000 trees, if each US household replaced just one typical box of 175 sheets.
  • Get your parents to test out toilet paper made from recycled content. Save over 400,000 trees, if each US household replaced just one typical roll of 500 sheets.
  • Get your parents to test out paper napkins made from recycled content. Save over 1 million trees if each US household replaced just one package of 250 napkins.
  • Get your parents to test out paper towels made from recycled content. Save over 500,000 trees, if each US household replaced just one roll of 70 sheets.

Around school

  • Look for school supplies made from recycled materials. Ask you teacher to purchase recycled classroom supplies.
  • Go for an eco-friendly lunch with less packaging and waste. Help plan a ‘trash-free’ lunch day at school, and then make it a regular seasonal or monthly event. You can buy forks and spoons that look like plastic but they are actually made from materials like corn starch that biodegrade instead of clogging up the landfills.
  • Look for water containers and bottles that are not just disposable. You can find ones that actually have a filter built right into the top, so that you can re-use it by filling it up with tap water. You help save the planet and your parents’ money.
  • Carpool. Boosting US rush hour from 1 to 2 people per car, would save 40 million gallons of gasoline a day, over 15% of US gas consumption.

Around town

  • Bike instead of ask for a ride whenever it is safe.
  • Encourage your parents to ‘cluster errands’. A quick one-mile trip to the shop emits up to 70 percent as much pollution as a ten-mile excursion with several stops.
  • Encourage your parents to look into a Carbon offset program, until they are ready to buy a new more efficient car. You can learn more on the ‘Lifestyle’ section of
  • For their next vehicle purchase, encourage your parents to seriously look into high mileage cars, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. American manufacturers are coming out with innovative new lines of vehicles.
  • When you are old enough to drive, look into buying a used car as your first car. Hybrids have better mileage, but all new cars require manufacturing and about 39,000 gallons of water each.


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