As mentioned in a previous article, thousands of people all over the world make New Year’s resolutions to eat better, get better grades, exercise more, and engage in a variety of new and interesting activities to help promote a healthy life, but what about the planet?  As we will see, not only is it important to take care of ourselves, but it is also essential that we take care of our planet and our natural environment, so let’s take a look at some simple but effective ways we can do that:

Remember to put trash where it belongs: By putting bottles together, cardboard and paper, and other garbage in their proper bags, we can help the environment by ensuring that garbage is disposed of properly. You can even use a chart to determine where items should be thrown out, like the one shown here:

Take scissors out to cut up plastic bottle holders: Do you remember the movie Happy Feet? In that movie, one of the penguins gets tangled up in a plastic bottle holder while swimming in the ocean.  This is because the ocean water is dirty and littered with garbage, so it is important to first cut up the plastic so no animals get caught, and to put plastic items that should be recycled in the right bag.

Ride a bike, take the bus, walk, or use public transportation for local traveling: Although driving a car is best for people who go grocery shopping for their homes and need that type of large storage capacity, for younger people, it is always a good idea to take the bus, walk, or use other forms of public transportation in order to get around.  From going to school and work, taking the bus means that there are less cars on the road, and, since there are less cars, there will be less emissions coming from cars and vehicles, which can lead to air pollution in the environment. Although there are cars and vehicles that do produce less emissions, and are more environmentally friendly, it is never a bad idea to walk or use other kinds of transportation when traveling locally in your neighborhood.

Make sure outdoor litter goes in a garbage can too: Remember to take care of the Earth and ensure that garbage, such as ticket stubs, tissues, and other items, all go in a garbage can or waste basket, because we only get one Earth.

Do not use products that contain CFCs: Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, are chemicals that are sometimes found in products such as hairspray cans and other aerosol products that are sprayed out into the environment.  These chemicals are released into the natural environment and have been shown to cause great damage to the ozone layer.

The ozone layer, as you may know, surrounds the Earth’s atmosphere and also protects the Earth from the sun’s powerful ultraviolet rays. If the ozone layer, which is a thin layer that covers the Earth, is destroyed due to chemicals like CFCs being released into the environment, then we will have less protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So, these types of chemicals are dangerous for our environment.

Buy items from your local neighborhood: Remember how we were talking about how walking, taking the bus, or riding a bike are better for our environment?

Well, depending upon what you will be doing, when you buy items from a local store, not only do you support businesses in your very own neighborhood, but since it is being made in your own hometown, it will not cost a lot of money to ship from somewhere far away. So buying locally grown fruits, produce, and other items is actually a good thing, because it doesn’t cost a lot to ship it from someplace far away since it is locally grown.

Live in a smaller house that meets your needs: When a home is being built, a lot of materials go into constructing or making the home for the individual or family that is going to live there.  By living in a smaller home, single individuals can reduce the amount of labor, materials, and workmanship that goes into making the home, which leads to a lot of environmental waste used to produce the home that then gets released into the environment.

Plug in items when they are being used, and unplug them when you are done: By doing this, you can ensure that you are only using electricity that is used to power machines and other devices when it is needed, and not wasting energy.

Use a water filter to clean your water: A water filter is a device that attaches to the spout in the sink and helps to clean your water for drinking. This helps because if you use clean water for drinking that comes from your own sink, you will not need to use a lot of plastic water bottles, which can become a problem if they are not recycled correctly.  Also, a water container can be used to store water in that holds clean, distilled water for everyday use.

Plant a garden: Not only is a garden a nice way to grow vegetables and other produce items at home, but it is also a way to make your home more beautiful.