Walk Your Talk: The Fifteen Most Important Things You Can Do to Green Your Life

| 3/4/2009 2:36:00 PM

Years ago, a friend told me a story of an acquaintance with strong environmental leanings who hoped to teach his children the importance of nature and environmental protection. One day, while riding in the car with his children, her friend was giving a friendly lecture to his children on the value of recycling. When he had finished, his son asked, “Dad, if recycling’s so good, why don’t we do it?”

Over the past decade, I’ve spoken to hundreds of audiences about environmental protection, many of which were populated by environmental educations and environmental enthusiasts. Numerous people in my audiences have admitted to me in private that they don’t do enough — or don’t do much at all. They talk a good talk, but don’t seem to be able really to walk their talk.

Leo Tolstoy may have said it best, “Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.” A cynical friend once remarked, “Environmentalists are people who want to tell others how to live.”

While I know many dedicated environmentalists who really walk their talk, I know a fair number who “think globally, but act vocally.” They complain and provide advice for others, but don’t do much to help make a better world. To them, knowing the answer is not always living the answer.

If you’re one of those individuals whose sentiments and actions are out of alignment, here are fifteen steps you can take to dramatically reduce your impact and help create a truly sustainable future.

1. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs in the most commonly used light fixtures in your house.

12/14/2009 12:07:05 PM

I didn't read all the comments but I saw a few that mentioned the human population explosion that continues to grow exponentially. Lots of us 'live' on $2/day and quite a few 'live' on $2,000,000 per day... guess who generates the most CO2? But, the bottom line, is that the planet can sustainable support about 2 billion and we have 7 billion, soon to be 14 bilion and then 28 billion. Something has to give, there are limits, no matter how many CFL's we buy, but it doesn't even make the list of the top 15...???? I can only hope that when "cap and trade" hits the streets that your children count against your carbon footprint until they die. Whether I drive a bicycle or a SUV doesn't begin to compare to whether I have a child or not, especially over a lifespan of 80 years. And moreover, I'll never take the "walk the talk" seriously until the climate change attendees don't use 140 private jets and 1200 iimos to atttend the conference. Give us a break.

7/30/2009 12:05:35 PM

Eat non-GMO to safeguard your health and stop unrecallable ecosystem pollution.

Jana Hayes
4/8/2009 9:27:46 PM

I am happy to at last find an article about living sustainably that highlights the importance of a vegetarian diet and living simply. I would probably be scorned by many environmentalists because I have not been recycling. I figure the gas it takes me to drive to the recycling center is just about a wash with what is saved at this point in my life. However, I live within a mile of my job and grocery stores and rarely have to travel more than 3 miles. I am vegetarian, which conserves approximately 2500 gallons of water for every pound of beef consumed as well as the energy equivalent of driving about 150 miles. I set my thermostat high in summer to minimize air conditioning and rarely have a television set on. If one lives simply to begin with, one may be as environmentally responsible as someone who invests in a lot of expensive technology.

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