“Going green” and adopting an environmentally friendly lifestyle may be all the rage, but truly changing your lifestyle and habits can be a challenge. If you know where to look, though, the Internet can be an important part of your sustainable world. The resources in this Web guide explain how to reduce your environmental impact in ways big and small. So get started with green living, and even find out where to connect with other green people and organizations.
There are many ways to go green, whether you choose to make tiny changes or drastic ones. If you’d like to make your life a little greener, or better understand environmentally friendly living, use this section to learn what going green entails and how it might apply to you.
- Signing up for a daily e-mail with simple ideas for green living can be a good way to remind yourself about going green every day of the year. Ideal Bite is a lighthearted, sassy site with down-to-earth tips that anyone can follow.
- When reading about green living, you may encounter acronyms like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), used in rating green buildings; and LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), a term created by the Natural Marketing Institute.
For general information …
features an “ecopedia” that defines multiple terms related to green living. Scroll down the right side to the “getlocalinfo” section to find resources in your area.
Do It Green Minnesota
is full of information about green living. Search for a topic by keyword or browse the extensive list of categories like Gardening, House & Home, Energy and more.
To assess your ecological footprint …
dives right into green living principles with a quiz that claims to measure “how much ‘nature’ your lifestyle requires.” When you’re finished, see how your ecological footprint compares to the average person.
Low Impact Living
provides an environmental impact calculator that suggests projects to help decrease the impact of your lifestyle. It explains 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.
To make your home greener …
National Geographic Magazine
offers an interactive “‘Green’ House” tour that tests your “energy IQ” and shows how to correct areas in your home that aren’t environmentally friendly. Using this site requires a Flash plug-in.
For recycling information …
The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide
explains one of the most basic ways to embark on green living. Learn how to recycle, what to do with different materials, how to go “beyond the curbside” and how to reduce your unwanted mail.
supplies community- and home-related resources for creating a green lifestyle. Use the search feature at the top of the page to find recycling or re-use locations that accept a variety of items like batteries or paint.
To buy carbon offsets …
features an “Offset Your Footprint" section where users can choose a category (ZeroCarbon, car, plane or home) and how much carbon they want to offset with a financial donation.
calculates all of your different types of carbon emissions and then recommends a donation plan for offsetting your annual amount. The money goes to renewable energy sources such as wind farms.
assesses individual carbon production in four areas: electricity, vehicle(s), air travel, and natural gas. After you see how much carbon you contribute to the environment, you'll be able to purchase carbon offsets to help lessen the effects of your CO2 emissions.
is a simulated presentation of the carbon dioxide emissions in every country of the world, as well as the regional birth and death rates. All in real time, witness an accurate, quantified representation of how many pounds of carbon dioxide have been emitted and how many people have been born and died since you began viewing the site.
No matter where you live, you can make a difference by buying green products, choosing green energy sources and green home designs, or by making use of green transportation alternatives. The Web sites in this section can point you in the right direction.
- 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 green investments. Your power company’s Web site can also be a good source for energy-saving tips.
- Know the difference between companies that are truly green and those that just use the green facade as a marketing gimmick. Read a Web site’s “About Us” section to find out the vendor’s mission and methods.
For buying general products …
approves products as eco-friendly. In the “Find a Certified Product/Service” section you’ll find items in categories such as soap, paper products and floor cleaners, as well as links to the products’ Web sites and places to buy them.
For green architecture and construction …
For green energy …
The Green Power Network
connects you with green power organizations. Click on your state on the U.S. map for a list of green power companies in the area. Each company is listed with the mix of resources it uses (some combination of wind, small hydro, landfill gas or other resources), and whether the energy provider has any official certification.
For green transportation …
suggests a “car lite” lifestyle. Read about alternatives to car use such as biking, walking, taking public transportation or carpooling. If you have to drive, scroll down for tips on making your car as efficient as possible.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
advocates the use of man-powered transportation in place of gas-guzzling methods. Learn how this organization is pushing for people-friendlier roads, and use the links to related Web sites for information on safer methods and the best routes for walking and biking.
photo-heavy Web site is an artistic and captivating depiction of waste and consumption in America. His photos are mesmerizing but also unsettling, as each is a visual representation of a true statistic.
It’s nice to know you’re not the only person out of the world’s six billion who is doing something to throw Mother Nature a bone. The Internet offers so many opportunities to meet new people and participate in environmental activism from the convenience of your home. Use the Web sites recommended below to explore different groups of environmentally conscious people.
- Some environmentalist Web sites provide prewritten letters to send to politicians or corporate executives, and you often have the opportunity to tweak or edit the letter to make it more personalized. Editing a letter makes it less generic and thus more effective.
- Sometimes it’s more beneficial to see the initiatives other people and organizations have taken, rather than reading article after article on the subject. Many environmental activists chronicle their endeavors on their Web sites, making it easy to learn by example.
- Social networking Web sites like MySpace and Facebook have innovative new mediums for people to express their ideas and concerns. Check your preferred social networking site for groups of environmentally conscious members, and make friends with other like-minded folks.
For collective action …
is a gateway to more than 170 advocacy organizations, making it easy to use your computer to help the planet. Visit the “Take Action Now
” section to see a list of campaigns and partners you can support, ordered chronologically by launch date.
Sierra Club Action Center
offers opportunities for online action in the areas of clean energy and water, cutting carbon emissions and protecting endangered species. Register with the site to sign petitions and send prewritten letters to representatives. Track the actions you’ve taken in “Your Action Center.”
highlights global warming, endangered species and forest protection issues that need attention. Sign e-petitions and forward letters to show your support for WWF issues. Choose campaigns specific to certain regions using the world map on the right, or read the “Activist toolkit
” for tips on effective activism.
For online communities …
is widely considered the birthplace of green social networking and has been in existence since 1998. With more than eight million members and loads of groups, online petitions and live discussions, you’ll find plenty of ways to get involved.
is a social networking Web site that hopes to inspire users by creating a space to read about others’ environmental actions. In addition to creating a profile, sharing all different types of media and joining specific groups, RiverWired users can access a compilation of blogs, articles, videos and podcasts.
For local organizations …
Keep America Beautiful
is one of the country’s largest community improvement networks and is dedicated to educating individuals about improving their local environment. Go to the “Get Involved
” section to find an affiliation in your area or start your own.
The Student Environmental Action Coalition
has 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.
You may think your neighbor with the hybrid car has already taught you everything you need to know about going green, but it’s worthwhile to read the findings, projections and opinions of people who have dedicated their time and careers to environmental causes. Use this section to keep current and informed.
- Educational networks and public broadcasting often address environmentalism. Check out your favorite network’s Web site and search for the green issues you want to know more about.
For environmental news outlets …
The Environmental News Network
assembles a list of environmental news articles from a variety of sources. Click on the topics along the top of the page to access material according to topic.
defines itself as an environmental news portal and search engine. Browse featured content compiled from news sources around the Web, or use the advanced search options
to find more specific information.
For blogs and other commentary …
is a media outlet dedicated to spreading the ideas of sustainability to a mainstream audience. Browse blogs, newsletters, video segments and radio shows about an array of green living topics.
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