Amidst busy schedules, work commitments and family get-togethers, it’s easy to forget that the little things often make the biggest impact. Are you sitting down for this news? Good. Because we have compiled 10 convenient ways for you to make a difference for our planet and those in need, without leaving the comfort of your chair.
1. Click for Charity
2. Learn About Household Energy Use
The EPA’s Energy Star program provides loads of useful tools to help you assess household energy consumption and learn how to cut back – all without leaving your seat.The Energy Star @ Home tool (pictured left) allows users to browse an electronic home, learn about each room’s energy use and examine problem areas where their own homes may be losing energy (and money).Take a few moments to play around with their virtual house, and pick up a few pointers about cutting back in your own home.
For energy-saving information that’s specific to your home, check out Energy Star’s Home Energy Yardstick for tips tailored just for you.
3. Help Fund a Project you Love
Crowdfuding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to browse creative projects and offer small donations to help them get off the ground. Donations start as low as $1, and you’ll often receive gifts and swag for your support.If you’re looking to make a donation with a global impact, check out Kiva.org, a non-profit organization looking to eliminate poverty through lending.The microlending website allows you to find someone who needs a loan for a business venture and provide it for them through mirco-financing institutions around the world. Since Kiva was founded in 2005, people have given over $390 million in loans, 99.01 percent of which have been repaid.
Your donation could mean a world of difference for recipients like Silole Sanamwala of Kenya, pictured left in her wheat field – which was funded through Kiva lending.
4. Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
Understanding your environmental impact is the first step to cutting back.
So before you do anything crazy (like get out of your chair), use a carbon calculator to break your footprint down into simple, easily-understandable categories.
5. Start a Movement, Join a Conversation
Your social network is probably one of the most powerful tools in your belt. So, why not put it to good use in your quest toward sustainability?To get started, share your favorite environmental tips with friends and family via social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or whatever platform strikes your fancy.Stuck for what to share? Links to some of your favorite resources are always helpful, but if you’d like a more compelling way to present your argument for all things green, check out Earth911′s Fact-O-Grams – which display a compelling green fact or stat and come prepackaged and ready to share.
6. Shop For a Cause
Have a few items on your wish list after the holidays? Why not check them off while supporting charitable causes?Gifts that Give offers more than 100 top brands and donates 20 percent of all proceeds to your charity of choice. Select from national groups like Habitat for Humanity and Save the Whales, or use your funds to support community groups and save animals at local shelters, like these adorable kittens from the Animal Rescue League of Southern Rhode Island – a Gifts that Give cause.GoodShop and We-Care allow you to peruse hundreds of online merchants, like Amazon and Zappos, and donate a percentage of each purchase to the charity of your choice. Causes include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Environmental Working Group and Best Friends Animal Society.
7. Make a Wish
Have a birthday, wedding or personal milestone coming up? Help friends and family commemorate the occasion by giving back to the environment and those in need.Through Causes.com, you can make a Wish List of charitable donations and share it on social media, so your social network will already know what to you get you for your special day.Causes include environmental groups, animal welfare charities and more.
8. Plant A Tree
Think you have to get down and dirty to plant a tree? Think again.For only $1, you can plant a tree in Brazil’s Atlantic forest through The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project. You can even share your support with friends on Facebook and Twitter to rally your network behind the cause.Through the Green World Campaign, greenies can donate $5 to plant five trees in damaged forests from Kenya to Mexico. Just text “TREE” to 85944 to have your donation credited on your monthly wireless bill.
9. Green Your Smartphone
Since your smartphone is such a big part of your life, why not make it greener? We know, paying $2.99 here and $1.99 there can add up over time, leading many smartphone users to avoid the temptation of the app store all together.But don’t miss out! Whether you use an iPhone, Android or Blackberry, there are loads of free apps that will help you go green, including Earth911′s very own iRecycle app (pictured left) which allows you to find recycling services on-the-go.A battery-saving app like iamgreen can teach you how to easily change your phone’s settings to maximize battery life, while apps like Eco Charger for Android and EcoCharge for iPhone will keep you from leaving your phone plugged in for too long by alerting you when your battery is fully charged.
For more ideas, check out the EPA’s list of top green apps, and start putting your smartphone to work for our planet.
10. Sign a Petition
Change.org allows you to browse petitions by topics that are important to you, including the environment, animals, human rights and sustainable food. Sign petitions for free and share with friends via social media.Care2.com’s Petition Site also allows you to easily sign and support environmental petitions online.In case you haven’t heard, the White House also operates a petition site at no cost to users. If a petition meets the signature threshold, it will be reviewed by the Administration and they will issue a response. Talk about an impact that’s within reach!