How to make the most impact on the environment? Through YOUR ACTIONS in YOUR OWN LIFE!

Date Published: June 2008
Author: Philippe Lewis
Article Category: Health Articles

How to make the most impact on the environment?


The last few years of my life, I’ve started noticing how much trash comes out of my apartment/house every week. Where this trash goes is pretty easy to figure out: landfill. Landfill is our not-so-good best solution to a really bad problem: landfill does not go anywhere, it just builds and builds and builds. What causes it to build is simple: our own inability to reduce waste to ZERO.

So I started looking at what needs to happen in my life so that my impact on the planet will be reduced. Rather than see a problem that I need to feel guilty about, I decided to take it as a game: how can I change the way I do things little by little, how creative can I get to make a huge difference while continuing to live my life normally. What I wrote below is essentially what I learned.

Got more ideas to add? Got more websites, youtube videos and articles? Please let me know! The purpose of this article is to make it easy to make small changes week after week in order to make a big difference year after year! Right now, this is just a first article. Eventually, I would like to turn this into a no-brainer fun way that people can make a difference. This could turn into a blog, an email list, a website, whatever will do the job in the most easy, simple, straightforward way!

Ready? Let’s start!

First, ever wondered why you’re getting all this junk mail and how to reduce the amount you receive? Check out these two sites:

Next, ever wondered how to make a difference with the environment regarding the products you consume day after day? First, see this website:

Now that you know how stuff is made and how it makes its way to you, here’s a few ways to diminish your impact on the environment:

- Buy less (stuff), drive less (with a gasoline engine). Buying less reduces the demands on manufacturing, which is the most direct way for you to reduce your impact on the environment. Driving less causes less emissions, which in turn is easier on the environment. If you need to meet people, consider free conferencing services instead (

- Buy used (stuff), carpool (with gasoline engines) or use transportation that pollutes less. Buying used means the life of the product will be extended before it find its way into landfill. Check out (real) flea markets, www.Craigslist.Com, www.eBay.Com, and ask your community (email lists, facebook, etc) if anyone wants to sell you the item you’re looking for.

- Carpooling ( and or using public transportation ( means more people get moved by the vehicle you’re using, which means less impact than if more people used their own vehicle. Transportation that uses less emission (biking, walking, etc) is even better!

- Fix or re-use (stuff that you already own) - or find someone who can. Sure you could have something brand-new, but that means both throwing something away and buying something else – a double impact on the environment. Trying to fix something that already exists will get your brain to function at a creative and analytic level to learn how to make this “thing” work. When in doubt, ask your community (lists) for help. Someone WILL likely show up ready to give you a hand.

-  Reduce the amount of packaging. Buy local. Buy in bulk. If you buy something and don’t need the extra bag, tell the cashier and carry it in your hands. Better even, always keep old plastic bags and other canvas bags/old backpacks/paper bags in your car and use them to carry anything you buy. Buy in stores that have lots of bulk food (Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco) to reduce the amount of packaging (and use those plastic bags to put the food in it instead of taking new plastic bags in the bulk food section). Buy local to reduce the amount of gasoline that was used to get food to you (the more people who do this, the more local food stores will carry). Even better, go to farmer’s markets (Check for Berkeley Farmer’s Markets). For shipping boxes, find a UPS store that will take them rather than putting them in the recycling

- Examine closely what you put in the trash. Become conscious of how your choices affect the amount of trash you generate. Turn it into a game! Get creative! How long can you extend the time before you have to empty your kitchen trash can?

- Recycle as much as you can (“everything” should be the goal!). Ask your city for a flyer telling you what can be recycled. If your city doesn’t recycle some items, find other cities close by that will, collect the items over a few weeks, and then walk/bike/drive over there on recycling pick-up day to put the items in someone else’s recycling box. A great place to look for all this information for the San Francisco Bay Area is!

Other fun articles:

- Green special: My trail of trash:

- www.EcoGeek.Org : Science, technology gadgets seals. We're in a bit of an eco-mess, but we've got the brains to lick any problem. And that's why publishes up to ten stories daily about innovations that are saving the planet.

This is just a start! Being the creative geek that I am coupled with all of your knowledge, we CAN make a difference RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, in our day-to-day life, where we have the most IMPACT.

Want to play with me?

A bientot et avec amour,

Philippe Lewis
[email protected]

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