Recommit to Your New Year's Resolutions
As we ring in the new year, millions of people make resolutions to change their lives for the better, hoping to lose weight, quit smoking, spend more time with their families or make other life improvements. The Web can aid you on your journey, with advice, resources and inspiration that will help you follow through with—or recommit to—your New Year's resolutions.
The act of making New Year’s resolutions has existed for over 4,000 years, but so has the act of breaking them before springtime. For many, the reason for this failure is not a lack of willpower but a lack of proper preparation and resources. This section provides general advice about choosing and accomplishing resolutions, and helps to keep you motivated along the way.
- Believe it or not, January might not actually be the best time to start fulfilling your New Year’s resolution. WebMD has an article encouraging you to wait until spring.
- It's helpful to have good role models to follow when you're trying to achieve a goal. Bill and Jim Germanakos are twin brothers who starred in the third season of the reality television show The Biggest Loser. They each lost approximately half their weight, a total of 350 pounds, over the eight months of the contest. To learn how they did it, visit their Web site, Weightlosstwins.com.
For history and facts about New Year’s resolutions …
For New Year's resolution advice and ideas …
is the official Web site of the U.S. government. Its New Year’s resolutions page features links to helpful government resources on more than a dozen popular resolutions.
has an article on how to set and achieve your resolutions. It says that in order to succeed, your goals must be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
For inspiration to fulfill your resolutions …
offers inspiration for achieving your goals. Register an account and post the 43 things you most want to accomplish. Other users will post encouraging comments and cheer you on as you post entries about how you’re progressing. Take a look at the 43 things of other users for ideas and inspiration.
works the same way as 43 Things. There aren’t as many users but the layout and organization of this site is a little clearer, and it is fairly easy to find the resolution you are looking for. Using the “Explore Ideas
” tab, search by “Most Popular Ideas,” by “Most Recent Ideas,” or by specific category in the “Idea Directory
Getting into better shape is the most common New Year’s resolution. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain muscle, lower your cholesterol, or improve your athleticism, these Web sites can help you meet your health goals well before you’re ready to make next year’s resolutions.
- Before you resolve to lose weight, consider whether your current weight is a healthy and reasonable one for you. The number on the scale can be deceiving; by using the tools listed below, you can use some basic calculations to determine whether you should try to lose or gain weight, or simply make some improvements in the quality of your diet.
- To be sure that you are choosing a sound diet, look for the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential behind the name of the creator of your site or, at the very least, the designer or supervisor of your diet plan. Some MDs have nutrition training and experience, but do not assume that all MDs are qualified to provide nutrition information and advice. Look for background and credentials on your site and verify them using other sources.
- Do not start an intense exercise routine or make a drastic change in diet without first consulting your physician. Use the tips on these Web sites merely as suggestions or loose guidelines; each person has specific health considerations that Web sites can’t take into consideration.
For diet and nutrition information ...
lists current nutrition recommendations from the U.S. government. Take a look at the "MyPyramid Tracker
", where you can enter foods eaten and physical activity performed. The Tracker then generates a report on the nutritional adequacy of your diet and fitness.
helps you choose a diet to fit your tastes and lifestyle. Use the "DietFinder
" by adjusting the importance of certain parts of your diet (like eating red meat or the ease of eating out). It will return results based on your answers along with user reviews of the diets. Knowing what other people say are their most and least favorite aspects of certain diets can help you decide whether it’s right for you.
is a gateway to a number of different diets, some more nutritionally sound than others. Each diet is described with its basic philosophy or approach, prohibited foods, risks, and a sample meal plan. Visit the “News
” tab for interesting articles on topics such as metabolism, dieting as a couple, and the health benefits of olive oil.
contains straight talk about the USDA Food Pyramid and other nutrition recommendations, and offers special information for groups such as women and seniors. Read about the importance of water intake, recommended calories per day, and some general guidelines for healthy eating.
provides an incredibly detailed nutritional breakdown of food. Find healthier substitutes for the food you eat at restaurants, or see how balanced a specific food is. This site also has a daily calorie counter, a tool to find foods that meet your specific nutrient needs, a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator, and a nutrition glossary.
has a food section complete with informative videos, recipes, articles, and a news feed that gathers news items from other sources. Lime’s staff reviews the products they like and offers additional resources on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
has a collection of healthful food recipes and guides. Find information about seasonal fruits and vegetables, a "Cook It Safe
” calculator to make sure you are cooking your meats for the correct amount of time, and healthier twists on favorite recipes.
To find a qualified nutrition professional in your area …
For workout ideas …
is one of the world's leading running magazines. The Web site is a comprehensive source for all things running related, with content geared toward a novice/non-elite readership. The inspiring, insightful, authoritative articles cover all aspects of training and fitness, including beginner’s training programs, gear reviews, nutrition ideas, and elite news and race results. Visit the “Tools
” section for a training calculator and a pace converter.
has a variety of articles on strength training, offering advice on form and technique, and introductions to fundamental concepts like sets and reps. Mayo Clinic also provides quality multimedia elements, like videos demonstrating different exercises, and a slideshow on how to work the major muscle groups. This is a good resource for someone with little or no weight training experience.
is the online arm of Yoga Journal
magazine. This site is a great central resource for beginners and experienced Yoga practitioners alike. For beginners, the "Basics
" section has yoga basics, advice from experts, introductory poses, and more. The “Poses
” directory has an extensive listing of well-annotated poses that include photos and step-by-step walkthroughs. There are plenty of articles on practice, yoga wisdom, and meditation to keep even the experienced yogi interested.
For help sticking with your workout and dieting plan …
is a community diet site that customizes diet and exercise plans to help users get fit. In the “Resource Center
" there are tips and strategies to help you eat right, exercise right, stay motivated, and cultivate a healthy mind. The “Community
” area has message boards, success stories, and the option of joining or creating a fitness team for added encouragement and motivation.
Global Health & Fitness
(GHF) has a long list of resources, including a fat calculator, calorie calculator, and a fiber calculator. The first few links in the "Free Tools" section may seem suspect because of the offers for free eBooks, but GHF is a legitimate site.
Quitting smoking improves the health of your entire body and saves hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars a year. This section shows you the benefits from quitting smoking, helps you find a cessation method that’s right for you, and guides you through the quitting process.
- Quitting cold turkey or gradually cutting back may seem like the cheapest and easiest way to stop smoking, but cessation Web sites discourage these approaches because they don’t often work. Research shows that fewer than 10 percent of smokers succeed at quitting cold turkey. It’s generally recommended to combine at least two approaches (counseling and nicotine replacement, for example).
- Be sure you talk to your doctor about your choice to quit smoking, even if you aren’t seeking a prescription drug. Nicotine replacement therapies, such as the patch or gum, could interfere with medications you’re taking. Your doctor may also have other resources to share.
- Though the Web doesn’t have a comprehensive, centralized list of local smoking cessation programs, check the Web site of your nearby hospital or city or county health department to see whether it offers classes.
For an overview on smoking cessation …
The American Cancer Society
has a “Guide to Quitting Smoking” that explains why it’s so hard. This lengthy guide covers the effects of smoking on the body and lists social and economic reasons to quit. It describes what happens to your body when you stop smoking (for example, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal after only 12 hours), and the immediate rewards of quitting. This guide also tells you what to look for in smoking cessation programs and tells you the best way to quit by assessing your smoking habits in a six-question quiz
For reasons to quit smoking …
is a site run by a tobacco-cessation educator. If you have the stomach for it, check out the gallery of people who have died from or are currently fighting tobacco-related illnesses, including those caused by smokeless tobacco. Then scroll down to view pictures of diseased lungs and people in the hospital. It’s not the most pleasant site you’ll visit today, but it is effective.
To determine the best method for you …
The American Academy of Family Physicians
has a number of smoking cessation resources, including this “Why Do I Smoke?” quiz that helps you figure out your reasons and offers alternatives. For people who smoke because of stress, for example, the site recommends other ways to manage tension.
To get started with quitting …
To learn more about techniques used to quit smoking …
The National Cancer Institute
is part of the National Institutes of Health. Its Web site has a brief overview of the methods used to quit smoking, such as the types of counseling available and nicotine replacement products.
American Family Physician
is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians. It has an article that outlines the different quitting methods in more detail and rates their effectiveness. Another table includes the types of nicotine replacement therapy, their advantages and disadvantages, who shouldn’t take which medication, and their average daily cost. The article is a little more technical but still readable.
For information on nicotine replacement therapy …
is a nonprofit healthcare information site with a section that also outlines the different types of nicotine replacement available. This site describes who should and shouldn’t use the different products, how they work, how well they work, and their side effects.
To find help and support while quitting …
has a database of meetings throughout the United States and 30 other countries around the world. When we checked, some states only had one or two meetings listed and a few states (Alabama, Arkansas, and Rhode Island) had none. If there are no meetings in your area, use the “Starter Kit
” link on the left to learn how to start one. NA also offers meetings via the Internet and telephone.
The National Cancer Institute
has a page of fact sheets that cover many aspects of managing life without smoking. Topics covered include handling irritability and frustration, getting through the morning without a cigarette, and many more.
has a “Relapse Prevention Library” to discourage relapses. The main message through these articles is “Never take another puff.”
To celebrate the New Year, the Babylonians would lower their debt by returning a piece of farm equipment they had borrowed during the year. Even if you haven’t borrowed any farm equipment lately, you too can use New Year’s to lower your debt and get your finances in order by using the recommended sites in this section.
- Easily make your own budget using any offline spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel. Excel has tools that allow you input formulas into cells, get the sum of rows and columns automatically, and even make charts of your spending.
- Many credit card companies will provide you with an end-of-year (or -month) summary of what categories you spent money on: for example, groceries, clothing, furniture, electronics, or restaurants. Having information about where you’ve spent money in the past can help you to determine a reasonable plan for the future.
- Personal budgeting software can be customized based on your unique expenditures. For information on online budgeting, check out PersonalBudgetingSoftware.com, where you'll find articles like this one, which discusses why (and how) to get an "Online Budget Makeover".
- To fully understand how debt is related to credit, you should familiarize yourself with the different ways in which the term “credit” is used. You can buy things on credit (such as using a credit card), but you may also have heard the term “credit” applied to your ranking as a desirable (or undesirable) borrower, such as with your credit score. Our findingDulcinea Credit Web Guide can help you understand the difference between the two.
For financial budgeting tips …
is the Web site of Living a Better Life
, an e-zine devoted to helping families save money. It’s free and there are plenty of featured articles on a variety of pertinent money-saving topics. Search the categories on the left sidebar to find specific advice, or subscribe for free to the e-zine. Either way, the site offers plenty of helpful tips.
For financial budgeting software …
is the Web site for Mvelopes, an online budget-management software program that was rated one of the best products in 2006 by PC World
. Based on the premise that most people spend 10 percent more than they earn, Mvelopes seeks to determine where your 10 percent comes from and then help you eliminate it. There’s a monthly fee for the service (charges start at $7.90 per month) but the program is comprehensive. For example, you can set it up so that you can have information automatically entered from your bank or credit card.
is an open-source Windows application that helps you make a budget by allotting money in a variety of spending categories. Simply enter the sum that you have available in each category. Every time you spend money, enter the amount into the program, which will automatically deduct the purchase and then tell you how much money you have left in that category.
For information about debt …
has a “Money101” section with a chapter called “Controlling Debt.” It provides a thorough primer on debt that explains what it is and provides tips to help you manage it.
’s “Debt Management” section includes a “Debt Management Basics
” feature that walks you through the fundamental aspects of debt and debt management. You’ll also find a “Debt pay-down advisor
” calculator to help you determine the best ways to pay for your debt. Look for regular columns with advice about debt, some quick tips about debt management on the landing page of the section, and links to additional news and resources.
The Federal Trade Commission
has a site about credit that covers credit cards and consumer loans. Browse the articles here to find one that can answer your specific credit or debt question. The FTC provides lots of tips to protect you from fraud and help you fully understand how debts and credit cards can affect your credit score, and what rights you have as a borrower.
has a “Credit & Debt Management” section containing a series of articles about credit and debt. Try the article on “How Credit Scores Work
” to get a better idea of how debt and credit interact.
To understand and improve your credit …
teaches you a number of ways to improve your credit. Select from the articles listed on the homepage or use one of the “Credit Worksheets” links in the right-hand bar to get started. Also be sure to check out the site’s "How to read your credit report" tutorial (also in the right sidebar).
has articles about improving your credit score and about debt reduction and refinancing. Use the credit score compass to get an estimate of your credit score by answering a few generic questions about your finances and debt. The "Credit Cards" tab near the top of the page contains information about how credit card companies stay in business, credit card catches, and the dangers of applying for store credit cards.
Just because you’re out of school doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. The Web is full of educational resources that can assist you in gaining knowledge and getting a degree. Hare are sites for virtual classrooms, educational podcasts, learning foreign languages and musical instruments, obtaining a GED, advancing in your career, and finding online colleges.
- Educational podcasts are easy to access, entertaining to listen to, and usually free. Search for a specific topic or head to a site that gives a sampling of what is available and current.
- Some language-learning Web sites offer complete programs and others let you learn a few words or phrases at your own pace. Choose the one that suits your needs.
- The following sites each list dozens—possibly hundreds—of colleges that offer distance courses. Make a checklist of what you are looking for in an online school so that you can easily narrow down these exhaustive lists.
For a free virtual classroom …
offers a free online classroom environment for live chat with teachers and students. Whether you need an online classroom for conferencing, instant messaging, document sharing, scheduling, or all of the above, Nicenet is the place to go. This nonprofit service is completely free and open to the public.
For educational podcasts …
is a user-friendly directory of podcasts organized by genre. The “Education” section contains more than 1,300 podcasts that can be used as educational resources. You'll find a wide variety of fun podcasts to choose from.
lists free audio and video learning materials, articles, and podcasts available for download. There are many classic books read aloud, which can be browsed by genre or searched using the search box.
To learn a foreign language …
BYKI (Before You Know It)
lets you download free language-learning software right off its Web site. The program works by teaching daily conversational words and phrases and is available in 41 different languages. With options for putting the course on your iPod and even your BlackBerry, you'll be speaking a new language … Before You Know It.
offers a variety of methods and programs for learning quite a few foreign languages. It provides evaluative quizzes so you can gauge your level, online courses, and audio/visual materials to help with speaking and listening. There are games to improve your skills, tips for teachers, and even a page where you can post the funny linguistic blunders you've made while traveling.
To learn a musical instrument …
features instructional videos from experienced musicians. There’s a list of videos on the front page but it isn’t well organized. The best way to find the instrument you’re looking for is to use the search box in the upper right-hand corner.
For information on the GED …
The American Council on Education
has a page devoted to information about the GED (General Educational Development) test. The site offers information on getting in touch with your local testing programs, finding a test center and understanding your scores. It's the place to go for all you need to know about the GED.
For career advancement …
's Career Advancement section provides links to education and training programs to help you meet your career goals. Look for test preparation help for certifications in a variety of specializations such as accounting, real estate, architecture, law enforcement, and computing. If you're thinking of a career change, visit the site and see what options are available.
For information about online colleges …
features an excellent introduction to distance education. Visit the "Ask the experts
" section, where online college professors and faculty members answer frequently asked questions.
The Online Education Database
has an impressive list of the top accredited online colleges with descriptions of each college, which agency has given accreditation, and the specific degree programs offered.
U.S. News & World Report
features a distance-learning guide that includes an exhaustive list of online schools offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The guide also offers advice to potential and current students, as well as related articles.
If you want to spend the upcoming year getting more in touch with your spiritual side, let the Internet be your guide. There are Web sites to help you understand the beliefs and teachings of your religion, and others to help you find a nearby place of worship. The section also has specific sites for Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Mormonism.
- Once you've visited a site that has information about a church or volunteer organization, you might want to make a phone call to get more information before you simply show up at services for the first time.
For general religion resources …
covers dozens of the world’s religions in detail, featuring information on ethics, customs, holy days, important texts, and people.
features the “House of Worship Locator
” that can locate a church in your area. Select your city, state, and denomination and discover your options. Or scroll down to the “Additional Locators” section to get information on other religions by selecting from the list of links. You'll be redirected to a site that offers similar services for other places of worship.
For Christianity …
Church On the Net
is tailored specifically to those new to Christianity. Straightforward explanations of the history, beliefs, and practices of Christianity are the base of this new site, which also features articles, community forums, blogs, and a "Lookup Jargon” jargon-buster to help you understand unfamiliar terms (find the link on the right). All articles and explanations are followed by a number of "Go Deeper" links to multimedia or other sites that let you further explore the issues and topics raised.
is a powerful reference tool that gives you access to many versions of the holy text in several languages. Use the “Quick search” tool to find a specific passage or to search for those on a certain theme. The advanced search options below the “Quick search” allow you more options, such as a quotation lookup, as well as a way to restrict your search to specific Bible versions or books. You can also add BibleGateway.com
's search tool to your own Web site.
For Catholicism …
is written by a convert to the faith and is a practical and educational guide to Catholicism for the neophyte. Although aimed at the new or verging convert, its categories, navigable through the left sidebar, provide good resources for anyone interested in the religion, whether for practical or scholarly reasons.
is a powerful resource for anyone needing clarification of details about the Catholic faith. On the top right corner of the page, you'll find links to its Catholic encyclopedia, "Summa Theologica," "The Holy Bible," the "Catholic Library," and more.
lets you search for Catholic parishes by name, city, state, zip code, pastor, and notably area code or phone number. You can also get a listing of all parishes in a particular Diocese, locating that Diocese through a list or a clickable map of the United States. Links to more informative pages for each parish are provided, including Mass schedules, contact info, and Yahoo maps showing the locations.
For Judaism …
is written from an Orthodox perspective but does a good job of educating on all aspects of Judaism. Searchable and organized by topic, all the content headings are tagged for their level of difficulty, so whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced in your knowledge of Judaism, you'll find interesting and appropriate articles on this broad and comprehensive site.
Navigating the Bible II
has an excellent Torah tool that displays the original Hebrew with n'kudot (vowel marks) section by section alongside the English translation and transliteration. Clicking on the speaker symbol next to any Hebrew line plays an audio recording of the line being read aloud. This tool is also available with Russian and Spanish translations. Further explore the site for additional tools for Torah study, genealogy, the Jewish calendar, and more.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
allows users to search for local Conservative Jewish places to worship. Click your state on the map or enter your city or zip code below it to get an extensive listing of area synagogues. Symbols next to synagogue names indicate times of prayer services and the size of the synagogue's membership.
The Union for Reform Judaism
includes a directory of Reform Jewish places of prayer by state, regional office, NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) region, or a search criterion of your choice.
For Islam …
features an online Quran tool, a remarkable resource for anyone interested in the Quran at any level. This easily navigable and usable applet lets you jump to any point in the Quran and display the passage of your choice. Choose from a number of different translations to show alongside the original Arabic, and listen to one of five beautiful recitations. The ability to have it automatically repeat a passage recitation multiple times turns this into a valuable Quran memorization tool as well. Get to the applet by clicking on the "Launch Quran Explorer
" link, but ignore the rest of the site features, as they don't function well.
uses easy search features and Google Maps to help you find a mosque anywhere in the country (and around the world). Its mosque profiles contain information on hours, facilities (including gender barriers), and reviews by other users.
For Buddhism …
The World Buddhist Directory
is a BuddhaNet project that has gathered Buddhist centers and organizations from around the world into a single database. Begin your search by clicking on the world map, or take advantage of the more robust searchable database on the right side of the page. Specify your country then narrow your search by state or province, or by Buddhist tradition. A list of organizations with contact information is provided.
For Hinduism …
is an extensive source on the religion, covering basic and more advanced topics on Hinduism, as well as Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism. Don’t miss this very helpful page pinpointing the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism
. Included in the vast resources here are articles on Hindu theology, translations of sacred texts, and Hindu news.
The Hindu Universe
features a very large number of Hindu listings. There are educational institutions, organizations, and temples, for example. As you click on one of the categories, it will further divide up the links into more categories, making it a bit less overwhelming. Each link also contains a short description.
For Mormonism …
is an official Web site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It provides an in-depth approach to all aspects of the religion, catering to both newcomers and longtime members of the Church. The site should answer most of your questions about Mormon beliefs and family values. For the easiest site navigation, use the category headings at the top of the homepage.
Saying you’ll spend more time with your kids is the easy part; the real challenge is figuring out what to do with them during all that extra time. If you’ve resolved to use the next year spending as much time as possible with your children, you can make it happen with the help of the activity ideas in this section.
offers arts and crafts ideas (some crafts you can even print from the Web site), recipes, party ideas, and travel suggestions. The clean design of the site makes it easy to navigate.
has tips on kid-friendly things to do and places to go either in your city or around the country. Simply enter what you’re looking for and where, and the site provides a list of suggestions along with a map showing the location of each.
is a review site for movies and media that lets you know whether something is appropriate for kids. Wondering why that latest movie release is rated PG-13? Find out here.
The Tufts University Child & Family WebGuide
has a list of links to help you keep your kids entertained. You’ll find links to outdoor activities, after-school activities, recommended reading for your kids, and even sites that look at how children play from an analytical or research point of view.
The holiday season inspires many to help people around them and make the world a better place. The Web can help you carry the spirit of the holiday season through the coming year by showing you opportunities to donate your time and money to charities and those who need help.
- Although most of these sites need volunteers to give time and specific resources, like care package materials, all of the organizations in this section can also benefit from financial contributions. If you don’t have time to offer, make a tax-deductible donation instead. Most organizations in this guide allow you to make donations by credit card online with just a few clicks.
- There are thousands of causes and organizations out there. If you're feeling stretched thin, remember that there are other ways to help besides donating money or volunteering. Check out the community Web sites to help connect others with your causes.
For volunteer and donor sites …
is a well-known and respected nonprofit and volunteer resource site. Listing almost 60,000 nonprofit organizations, the site offers volunteer opportunities, paid jobs at nonprofit companies, and community events and actions worldwide. Idealist's credibility and comprehensiveness are of particular note.
matches up volunteers and organizations according to their preferences, almost like a dating service. With good but simple search criteria and separate sections for volunteers, nonprofit organizations, and corporations, it offers an efficient and powerful way to start giving quickly.
The USA Freedom Corps
is the White House office in charge of coordinating and promoting volunteerism among Americans. Among its associated programs are the well-known Peace Corps and AmeriCorps programs. A USAFC kids’ Web site has its home here as well.
is akin to a domestic version of the Peace Corps. If you want a rigorous, community-based volunteer experience but want to stay in the United States, this program might interest you. Because coordination is easier without international issues, AmeriCorps offers a greater variety of service options.
To help military members and their families …
was founded by military family members specifically to address the shortfall in assistance provided to families of deployed service members. It aids families through 34 chapters across the nation and addresses a wide spectrum of needs. Operation Homefront has a prestigious advisory board and recently was awarded the highest possible rating by Charity Navigator, a nonprofit evaluator.
Wounded Warrior Project
offers a number of innovative programs to help reintegrate severely wounded soldiers returning to civilian life. Among many other services, the organization seeks to raise public awareness of the heroism and needs of wounded troops by providing a series of initiatives in which military families and service members can participate. One example is “Soldier Ride
”, a bicycling program in which severely disabled soldiers cycle with their families for fun and healing outside the hospital environment. The site also helps wounded soldiers reach out to others coming home, thereby creating a network of support.
(United Service Organizations) offers a wealth of volunteering opportunities, one of which is sending a package to the troops. If you want to send a care package or learn about donation programs, visit the “Make a Donation
” section for information on the different opportunities that exist. If you’d like to volunteer visit the “Find Your Local USO
helps you “adopt” a soldier. In order to participate in this program, you must commit to sending a card or letter at least once a week and a care package at least once a month. If you don’t feel comfortable with that time requirement, you can join Soldiers’ Angels to volunteer with the group, or give a donation. Visitors to the site can also submit deployed soldiers to be included in the program.
New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be just about bettering yourself; you can also resolve to make the planet a better place to live. These sites show you products and behaviors that can reduce your ecological footprint and help the environment.
- Benefit from green incentive programs. Check the Web site of your local utility company to see what tax credits or rebates are available for your eco-friendly investments. Your power company’s Web site can also be a good source for energy-saving tips.
- Replacing your burnt-out standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to reduce your energy usage (and costs). It’s often best to save the money and fuel on shipping by buying CFL bulbs at real-world hardware, home, or discount stores instead of online.
To assess your ecological footprint …
Low Impact Living
provides a very simple impact calculator. The site’s real value, though, is in the calculator’s suggested projects that help decrease your environmental impact, telling you when the benefits of these projects will cancel out their costs and how much of the planet’s resources they’ll save. Use the project filter to view projects that are more favorable to you based on concerns such as budget, time, or specific environmental issues.
For general guides to green living …
is a nonprofit organization that hosts events to promote awareness of environmental issues, and partners with cities and communities to launch local initiatives. The site provides tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint, links to environmental news, and information about living a green lifestyle. Use the site to learn about organic and eco-friendly products and find out where to buy them.
promotes the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” to guide its readers through the fundamental principles behind the more complicated methods of going green. Below brief explanations are articles that focus on making specific areas of your life greener, such as “In Your Yard,” “In Your Kitchen,” and more.
For sustainable food and eating green …
has a bright and easy-to-navigate site that gives you the lowdown on sustainable food and all it entails. A very readable guide that introduces sustainable food, articles on the benefits of sustainable agriculture, and a dictionary of sustainable terms, make this site a must-read. Click over to the "Eat Well Guide
" for help finding sustainable food nationwide.
is focused on getting you to the local, organic food that you want. Referenced by numerous other sites, its popular CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Farmers’ Market, and Organic/Natural Food store locator is an incredibly extensive nationwide resource designed to enable you to shop well, and shop natural. Their online store also brings organic and natural food to your doorstep.
For environmentally friendly transportation …
The American Public Transportation Association
is a huge proponent of all things relating to public transportation. Read reports on public transit’s benefits or find public transportation near you. Use the drop-down menu on the right to select your state and then your region; you’ll then be linked to your local public transportation provider’s Web site.
For energy-saving and Earth-friendly products …
, a government-run Web site, is one of the best resources for finding green appliances and electronics for the home. Check out the list of compliant products in such categories as home appliances, office appliances, lighting, air conditioners, and more. Using appliances that sport the Energy Star label is estimated to save you around $80 a year on energy costs per item, according to the site. There’s also a “Home Energy Yardstick
” that takes information about your home and energy bills and then shows you ways to make your home more energy friendly.
approves products as eco-friendly. In the “Certified Products” section you’ll find items in categories such as hand cleaners, paper products, and floor cleaners, as well as links to the products’ Web sites and places to buy them.
not only acts as your portal to green shopping and green products, but it also explains how to recycle different types of products and how to save energy by avoiding shipping.
To buy carbon offsets …
has a large button at the bottom of the left menu titled “Offset Your Footprint.” Here you can choose a category (ZeroCarbon, Car, Plane, or Home) and how much carbon you want to offset with your donation. Check the left menu for links to information about the Web site and its ideals concerning carbon reduction and offsets.
For local environmental organizations …
Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
is one of the country’s largest community-improvement networks and is dedicated to educating individuals about their responsibility to improve their local community environment. To start helping, go to the “Get Involved
” section of the site. Find an existing affiliation in your area or start your own.
The Student Environmental Action Coalition
has set up local opportunities across America for students to participate in environmental causes from their college or high school campuses. Register to get involved and start pushing for green initiatives all over the country.
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