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Ten ways to reduce pollution in the environment

Updated on July 14, 2011

One world is large enough for all of us!

As we continue to live and breathe on this planet, we must become more energy conscious, if we are to continue to live and breathe on this planet! Use of natural resources, consumption and waste are all at peak levels, and rising. It is up to each of us to act individually and together to effect change that will make the planet habitable in the years to come. While wars are devastating to humankind, the blatant misuse of energy and resources potentially threatens our long-term survival as a species. It is by conserving energy at home, and growing an environment consciousness in our communities, that we can turn around the dire situation that the world is in now. We must act now!

Here then is a compendium of ten things that you can do today, or this week, to help reduce the impact you are having on the earth. As you go about implementing these ideas into your life, it is important that you inspire others. Please bring your attention to the personal enrichment that each of these items brings to you. They are practices of awareness, of connecting with the environment, and of hope. By embodying these qualities in our attitude, we create a positive experience for ourselves and the people we that we touch.

1) Bring your own bag when you go grocery shopping. Many grocery stores sell cloth bags, or you can just recycle ones that you already have. You can buy a cloth bag online if you like, here. They are very sturdy, and hold as much as the paper or plastic ones do. You can see an article here about how Ireland has addressed the issue of plastic bags by passing a 15 cent tax on each bag. initiated in 2002, it has eliminated 1 BILLION plastic bags per year.

2) Park your car. Every mile driven in a typical car produces a pound of exhaust waste, in the form of carbon dioxide. This amounts to tons of waste over a year. There is a converter here, that will tell you about how much you can reduce environmental pollution by driving less. There are benefits to not driving as well, whether it is exercise and neighborly interactions when walking or biking; or time to read or talk if carpooling or on the bus. And if you have to use your car (as I feel I have to) combine errands, work and other activities to promote driving less overall.

3) Increase your awareness of electricity use. Turn off appliances and lights when they are not in use. Be particularly aware of cable boxes, video boxes; and to a lesser extent TVs and DVD players. They consume almost as much energy off as they do when they are on! Anytime an appliance is off and there is a light, or clock going (like on a microwave) there is what is called a ghost load. Just unplug it when not in use, or better yet put it on a power strip with an on/off switch. You'll save energy, and cut down on the air pollution that electrical plants - that are often coal powered - create. Click here to find out more about how various household items and activities use energy based on data that you input.


4) Eat less meat. The energy required to produce 1 calorie of beef is 18 TIMES more than that required to make a calorie of wheat. It is mindboggling; however, if we examine the water required to produce a pound of beef, it is just over 5200 gallons. The water pollution is one problem that is out of control when it comes to the meat industry. Every meal that replaces meat with vegetables, beans or soy protein, and grains makes a significant dent in the overall environmental picture. One really good source of information here is a book by Michael Pollen called The Omnivores Dilemma.

5) Buy locally. Locally grown food travels at most a couple of hundred miles, and is usually picked the day before, if not the day of, delivery. In contrast, the average piece of produce found on your grocer's counter has traveled 1500 miles! In addition, it often need some refrigeration and packaging to survive the 4 - 7 days it takes before it gets there. And it's not just produce that is made locally; many things you can get at the big box is either being made locally, or in those cases where they aren't, they can often be purchased second hand. A lot of pollution can be avoided by just buying locally whenever possible.

6) Plant a tree. Start a garden! Planting a shade tree can significantly impact heating bills once it reaches maturity. Planting a garden is a joyful activity that cuts down on the energy needed to get vegetables to your table. If you don't have the room for a garden, you can alwaysgrow sprouts in your house or apartment. They are one of the most nutritious and easy to grow foods ever, containing not only essential vitamins and minerals, but also life supporting qualities not readily found in other foods.

7) Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. Yes, it's cliché; but, putting it into action isn't. We don't have to always buy something; and nine times out of ten I find that when I'm confronted with the choice or desire to purchase, that simply breathing for a moment is enough to satisfy me. There are many innovative ways to reduce; one way is to purchase things in bulk, thereby cutting down on packaging and expense. Another is to make certain that all batteries are properly recycled, and then to replace the appliances that use them with corded varieties. Or, in the case of remote controls and other items that don't have cords, to get batteries that can be recharged at home.

8) Join national groups to put pressure on governments and corporations to cut down on their energy consumption. When a law like the one in Ireland is passed, and literally billions of plastic bags are removed from the equation, it dwarfs what the individual can do. Yet, it was individuals who created the law, lobbied for it, and then signed it into action. Here is a site (the NDRC) with environmental petitions to sign and lots of other great information about the environment. And here is another (the EDF).

9) Put less load on your furnace and air conditioner. Either by getting a more efficient model, or by adjusting the thermostat. And while you're adjusting that thermostat, don't forget the ones on your hot water heater (recommended to be set at 120 degrees F.) and the refridgerator. If you want to really make an impact for years to come, you can receive tax credits (in the United States - through 2016 for certain items) for various other types of improvements to your home's energy efficiency. It's worth looking into, as you'll get money back from the government, and spend less money in the years to come as well.

10) Compost! Even the most diligent cook is going to come across a lot of scraps, ends, peels and bruised produce that can't be prepared. And, often there are bits and pieces of food that don't get eaten, and start to go bad. Starting a compost pile in the back yard is just the thing for them! Easy to take care of, the rewards are numerous. Healthier plants make for less pesticide use; and the compost can be used anywhere, indoors or out. Apartment dwellers may find that their local city has a composting program; or they can get an indoor composting unit.

A year has passed, and I've written another article about things you can do to help save the environment. My perspective has changed, and I figured I'd better write about it again.

Here's #8 from that list:

Increase your awareness of the urgency of the situation.

There are many popular authors on the subject. Al Gore, Will Tuttle and Derick Jensen all come to mind. Check out their books from the library. Just as important as the facts and figures presented by these authors is the certainty created in your mind by reading them.

Here are a couple more article links worth reading about.

Here's a bonus article I wrote about alternatives to gas lawn mowers.

And another about refrigerators.

That's about it for me . . . now I wonder what you have to share about how to help reduce your impact on the environment?

Every bit counts!

Together, we can grow hope for the future!
Together, we can grow hope for the future!
Dawning hope for a new age!
Dawning hope for a new age!
Be environmentally aware!
Be environmentally aware!
Life in the slow lane!
Life in the slow lane!
Biking is better.
Biking is better.

How eco-friendly are you?


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    • Danelle Smith profile image

      Danelle Smith 8 months ago from U.S.

      These are great tips to reduce pollution. I have a website that is about ways to reduce chemicals in our home and bodies so this is very dear to me. I just posted 10 ways to reduce chemicals https://thesmitylife.com/

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 3 years ago

      That's right, Virazozo, it's a start!

    • virazoza profile image

      Nilesh oza 3 years ago from Mumbai

      wonderful....

      Shop for the environment - cut down on packaging

      Buy reusable shopping bags

      Do the right thing – recycle

      Don’t litter and don’t tolerate people who do

    • profile image

      palak patel 3 years ago

      i really want this

      Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 3 years ago

      Your hub was on the mark, unfortunately big Corporations can not even come close to ordinary people reducing waste, we are a drop in the bucket. We need the EPA to clean up our environment, better testing and full circle production requirements to identify and reduce waste. Oddly this increases safety, reduces cost and does not defer disaster for the future. Other things we can do as individuals is more manual work instead of using technology. We spray chemicals all day, buy tractors to mow a ten foot yard and water it to simply grow faster. We seldom know anything about what we are doing and are incredibly lazy. Weeding a garden by hand, fertilizing it correctly, not caring about daisy's, we are some what insane and sold by ridiculous advertisements. For example recycled water is cleaner then tap water and could be a huge solution to some of our water issues. Industrial Farming could be making methane gas for production and we could reduce fracking and stop polluting every river in America. The list goes on for miles but nothing will change if Industry refuses to take responsibility for the disaster they are a huge part of. Half of America would have to dump a bucket of oil into the Gulf to catch up to BP for example.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 4 years ago

      Hi Jems; thanks for your comment. It's more that the atmosphere is trapping more gas & that acts like a blanket would, gradually making the overall temperature of the earth warmer. I like you metaphor though!

    • profile image

      jems 4 years ago

      its really intresting and a wee bit scary. just imagine if the sun gets hotter due to pollution. nowadays there r more natural calamities and i think it is natures way of paying us back for the cruel treatment we r giving her

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      Clean our envirnment

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      I'm not sure what you are talking about. Please be more specific; also, try to be more specific in your google search as well.

    • profile image

      uzair butt 5 years ago

      i want to make a model to reduced environmental pollution ?? but i did nt find ths at google or anywhere .if u have some model for a college level plx send me on ..http://www.facebook.com/uzair.butt3..thanks

    • Robert Hughes profile image
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      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      Thanks for your comment, Hessl. We can each do our part.

    • profile image

      hessi 5 years ago

      please help the environment to prevent pollution in our mother planet and please save our beautiful mother planet

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      Thanks for reading Vegas; and voting up!

    • Vegas Elias profile image

      Vegas Elias 5 years ago from Mumbai

      Very interesting hub on a very important topic. I voted you up for the important suggestions.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      And thanks for you thoughtful comments.

    • profile image

      scoon 5 years ago

      thanks for your topic

    • profile image

      CYRUS 5 years ago

      Pollution control shuold not be left to our governments alone. Pollution control measures have been put in place and every individual has atleast an idea on how he/she can contribute to the wellbeing of our enviroment. As a youth here in Zambia,iam saying let us care for our enviroments because this is not a one mans problem but its every ones problem solong you & i are all human beings. Its our duty to look after our enviroment because we are the managers of this planet that we've been given by our loving Creator (GOD).

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      Fusefire, thanks for the comment. I hope you are able to continue to do environmentally friendly things.

    • fusefire profile image

      fusefire 5 years ago

      I was kind of brought up on these principles, I had parents that knew what was goin' down in our environment.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      JasonL99; individuals first. Your loved ones and fans will be affected.

    • JasonL99 profile image

      JasonL99 5 years ago

      Your point about eating less meat is a good one, but how do we get the general population to take this advice?

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 5 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      Nice hub! Sadly it's true, the US does lead the world in pollution. We can spend billions to wage wars without batting an eye, but we can't figure out a better way to protect this planet from pollution. ~ Crazy to ponder our world 20 years from now.

    • Reves-diary profile image

      Reve 5 years ago from Dhaka

      To reduce pollution all over the world, all the respective governments will have to step necessary steps to make eco friendly environment. Without their proper initiatives, all the non-profitable organizations and other organizations will not be able to get succeeded.

      Thanks for your hub.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Karen.

    • profile image

      karen 5 years ago

      kool

    • Robert Hughes profile image
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      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      Thanks for reading this article and replying too, Caw.

    • profile image

      Caw 5 years ago

      Wow! :)

    • Robert Hughes profile image
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      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      Thanks for your comment, ramya! Green's the way to go!

    • profile image

      ramya 5 years ago

      go green...i support completely..!

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      Thanks for the note, bhava.

    • profile image

      bhava 5 years ago

      hi dear thank u

    • Robert Hughes profile image
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      Robert Hughes 5 years ago

      Thanks for reading the post, Sameer. I hope that you are inspired.

    • profile image

      sameer 5 years ago

      good ideas

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 6 years ago

      Thank you for your comment Michaleus.

    • Michaleus profile image

      Michaleus 6 years ago from Port Harcourt

      Nice one ! But I think we must all make concerted efforts to write against the careless gas flaring by the International oil companies as it remains one of the most destructive acts determining the fate of the Earth.This must either stop or be significantly reduced.

    • Michaleus profile image

      Michaleus 6 years ago from Port Harcourt

      It contains some very important perspectives.Thanks for writing but I would have to say that it is not only necessary the the amount of global gas flaring being allowed in the oil exploration industry must cease or at least be significantly reduced for us to have a chance at saving the earth as we know it.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 6 years ago

      Hi Kuhaeng,

      Thanks for commenting on my hub. There are a lot of little things that we can each do to reduce pollution in the environment. I know that you do several of them, and hope this article inspires you to do some more.

    • profile image

      kuhaeng 6 years ago

      Great work! Thank you for clarifying our options, which really are amazingly do-able. I enjoyed the link-rich and usable format and found your hub to be both very clear and very entertaining. Bravo!

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 6 years ago

      Hi CWanamaker,

      You are right, governments and corporations use (and waste) resources at an unimaginable rate; and are slow to change with out guidance from the people. Thanks for checking out my hub.

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 6 years ago from Arizona

      Hello Robert! Great Article. Tip #8 is a very important one that many people forget about. People need to get involved with organizations so that real change can happen! Its these organizations that act as advisers to the politicians. Large groups of people have a much better chance of instigating a change then just single individuals.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 6 years ago

      Hi Medor, Thanks for you comment. Growing your own food is one of the best things you can do. It cuts down on the use of petroleum, in the production and shipping of your meal; and with biodynamic gardening (which I don't know much about - I just joined a community supported agriculture farm that touts biodynamics) you will improve the topsoil quality. Very important for the earth to continue to help plants grow. I'm glad you enjoyed my hub!

    • medor profile image

      medor 6 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Very nice article, simple and thorough... you rock robert hughes... just bought our retirment place... goal, to grow our own food for the rest of our lives. thanks for some great reminders...

    • Robert Hughes profile image
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      Robert Hughes 6 years ago

      Thank you for your comment, Green Friend.

    • profile image

      GreenFriend 6 years ago

      Robert,

      Keep up the good fight! Thanks

      Another environment we need to be concerned about is the one indoors. With recent improvements in insulation over the last thirty years are homes no longer breathe. This is great for our electricity bill...but not so great if there are toxins present. Toxic chemicals from cleaners, volatile organic compounds in paints, formaldehyde from furniture, mold/bacteria growth; the list goes on and on. Since we spend over 90% of our lives inside, it only makes sense to have an indoor environmental assessment / mold test. If you are interested in learning more I recommend visiting http://www.airmd.com/

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 6 years ago

      Thanks for commenting, Joyce. I feel that the major shifts need to happen with corporations and governments. Perhaps by showing them what we want, they will listen!

    • profile image

      joyce.blue 6 years ago

      wonderful hub! This will raise awareness to people. I hope more people will be much concerned with our environment and help reduce pollution in their small ways.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 7 years ago

      Steph, Steve; thanks for reading my hub! I'm glad there are so many people who are supportive of the things I've mentioned. There is a lot more to be done, as well!

    • steve8miller profile image

      Steven Miller 7 years ago from Ohio Great City of Dayton

      Great hub, I agree with most of your point here as well. The eat less meat one is the only one I cannot totally agree on yet. lol. Great hub, keep up the good work. If we all follow your advice here this world will be a lot better place for us all.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I'm big into "green" with 3 blogs devoted to living eco-friendly and using renewable energy. This is a great hub and I've given it a big thumbs up :)

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 7 years ago

      Hello to all the good people who have stopped by in the last couple of days to read my hub and congratulate me on the nomination and winning. It was your votes, and the urgency of the topic that have spotlighted my hub. Thank you all. If I were to suggest a good read; it would be "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by Thomas Friedman. I hope we are all able to join together and overcome the global crisis we face now. Doing so will be the crowning achievement of the century, and perhaps the millennium. We each can do our part!!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Well done and one of my favorite subjects! Congratulations on your nomination. We all need to participate more in preservation of our planet!

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Congrats on the win - it is a very timely hub. I am trying to do more by growing much of my own food, but still use quite a bit of electricity, especially the a/c when it is hot. I bike to work and recycle bottles and cans. I'm trying.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Excellent hub and congratulations on your nomination. I'm doing my best to follow the great suggestions in your article. I recycle, buy clothes at thrift shops, use cloth bags everywhere I shop, buy from the local farmers market,grow my own veggies and herbs and make my own bread, etc. It just feels good. I also started a "swishing" party in my neighborhood (trading clothing, household items, etc.) Now I can add to my list from your suggestions. Thanks so much and thumbs up!

    • profile image

      Ana Barroso 7 years ago

      Great Stuff Robert. Finally somebody with guts and intelligence. really great and useful. I am very Green as well. I think we should take care more of our world before it will disappear with us.

    • profile image

      Jacki Dilley 7 years ago

      Great article, Robert. I love your do-able, practical ideas. Ireland's tax on the plastic bags is great!

      I'm glad you said you skewed the test. I only got 38% and my self-esteem plummeted. If you make up another test, put in a question about buying clothes from re-sale shops!

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 7 years ago

      Hi Ripplemaker,

      Thanks for taking these ideas to the next generation. Not only are they the ones who will most benefit from them; they are also the ones who will refine and develop them the most.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 7 years ago

      Hi, Right Black;

      I made that test a little skewed I think. If you scored 35%, you aren't doing so bad! Thanks for reading my hub and taking the quiz, too!

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 7 years ago

      Hi Denise,

      thanks for the kudos on the nomination! That in itself is an unexpected honor for me. I've been reading "Hot, Flat and Crowded"; and come to realize just how important buying locally really is.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      It is wonderful to keep on promoting environmental consciousness! In our preschool, we begin these lessons already by teaching the kids to take care of the environment, distinguish garbage & advocating the use of organic cosmetics such as shampoos, conditioners, deodorant & so on. :) Wonderful hub!

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets Nomination. Please join the Hubnuggets fun as you vote and promote your hub. To taking care of our world, cheers! http://hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub/HubNuggets-The...

    • Right Black profile image

      Right Black 7 years ago from Huntington Beach, California

      Wow I scored 35% on the eco-friendly test, bet Al Gore is jealous.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Robert. Welcome to the hubpages community and congratulations on your nomination for the hubnugget award. Enjoyed the hub-lots of concise, easy to follow, useful info. I esp loved the 'buy locally' and gardening. :) Good luck.

    • Robert Hughes profile image
      Author

      Robert Hughes 7 years ago

      Thanks to everyone for commenting. It's challenging to know what to do, when the planet is so obviously crying out to us to live more gently. The worst part is the United States is leading the pack in hurting the environment, and it seems, the rest of the world wants to live like we do.

    • profile image

      Gaia 7 years ago

      I think # 8 should be # 1

    • profile image

      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Hi! Robert

      Nice article. Simple methods. Every one can try to follow it.

    • profile image

      Riin 7 years ago

      Do people really think no one does any of these things? I'm vegan, don't own a car, carry my grocery bags with me in my backpack so they're always with me, compost, buy my clothes in thrift shops, and have a wildlife-friendly garden. I'm not perfect, but I'm not a hypocrite.

    • profile image

      Riin 7 years ago

      Not having children or only have one child is also important. The world population is growing, which isn't sustainable. I'd rather see the population slowly decrease by people just not reproducing as much than by war, famine, or disease.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 7 years ago from America

      I wonder if Gore, Obama, Nancy and the rest of the global green preachers of the world practice just one of the things on your list? we all know they do not! Liberals are a do as I say, not what I do bunch of hypocrites.

    • rzibit profile image

      rzibit 7 years ago from Bals

      If only people would listen to this stuff