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At Work, In Your Community, and Beyond

What You Can Do | Individual Action | Community & Beyond

Individual action is powerful, but there is greater power when we work together. At work, through community action, and on the national level, we can all make a commitment to protecting the environment.

At work, encourage your colleagues to take action. Office electrical use, business travel, commuting, paper use, and other activities, all lead to emissions of CO2, which contributes to global warming. Threats of climate change include sea level rise, adverse impacts on biodiversity, and increased risk of droughts, floods, and violent storms. Increasing amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are capturing the sun's heat, causing the global climate to become more and more destabilized.

Get your office to commit to reducing CO2 emissions.

Organize your workmates to walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation one or more times a week. Also, encourage your employer to allow workers to telecommute or telework or, if you are an employer give your workers the option of telecommuting or teleworking. Another way to reduce CO2 and decrease pressure on forests is to start or encourage a paper recycling and use-reduction program: use both sides of the paper for printing and copying, reuse trash paper for short notes, and encourage your office to buy recycled paper.
Calculate your organization's CO2 footprint.

Visit the World Resources Institute's sites listed below to learn what WRI and other offices and companies are doing to achieve zero net CO2 emissions. Read their success stories at

Calculate your organization's CO2 footprint. While you're there, calculate your own CO2 footprint.
Promote recycling.

Benefits of aluminum recycling include energy and natural resource conservation as well as landfill savings. Much of aluminum's recycle value comes from the energy saved. Making aluminum from recycled material requires 95% less energy than making it from bauxite, the primary ore. Aluminum from recycled cans and other products accounts for about 32% of the industry's metal supply. In 2000, the aluminum industry paid $1.2 billion to recyclers for used aluminum beverage cans.
Learn how urban decision makers manage ecosystems.

Many of our city and county governments now have web sites where you can find out where recycling centers are and what kinds of waste they accept.

Here's a fast way to find a recycling center anywhere in the United States:

Earth's 911:

Learn more about the importance of ecosystems.

Organize a viewing party. Watch Earth on Edge with your neighbors or members of your church, synagogue, mosque, or other group. Use the program Discussion Guide to start the conversation and encourage others to share their ideas for reversing our negative impact on Earth.

Become a citizen scientist.

Do your own research on the issues. There are many monitoring efforts that provide opportunities for families to learn about, restore, and sustain ecosystems in their community. Most programs provide information and sites designed especially for kids and schools. If you have children, become active in their schools and be familiar with their school's science curriculum. Developing an interested in ecosystems through schoolwork is a good way to engage children in the care of ecosystems and make them mindful of their role in preserving ecosystems for their future well-being.
Get involved in a monitoring program.

Use the Environmental Defense Scorecard to learn of pollution issues in your community. The list below contains other organizations with monitoring program. Don't forget to check out:
Organize or join a community clean-up campaign.

A couple of campaigns that have become annual events are the Charles River Cleanup and the Potomac Watershed Cleanup. Thousands of individuals and organizations participate in these community events and remove tons of solid waste yearly. On a national level, the Center for Marine Conservation's annual international beach cleanup takes place on the third Saturday in September.
Find out about environmental cleanups in your area.

Find out about environmental cleanups in your area. Contact your local department of environmental protection or a local chapter of an environmental organization such as the Sierra Club. Another good source for such information is your local newspaper's community news section. Also, there's the EPA's Adopt Your Watershed program. Check out the site and find out how to become involved in a program to maintain the viability of the water your family uses.

Organize or join a group actively seeking ways to reduce their impact on Earth's ecosystems.

If you're interested in joining with others in your community to learn how to take an ecosystem approach in all phases of your life, look into some of the organizations engaged in doing just that.

Talk with friends and family about working together to shrink your ecological footprint.

Engage family and friends in discussions about the environmental situation and how you'd like to participate in ensuring the viability of our ecosystems. Make a commitment to live sustainably and to monitor your progress over time.
Get ideas about how to start such a group.

Listed below are just a few sites that provide information and will help you get started.

Regardless of your views on the environment, share them with decision makers.

Make a commitment to let decision makers know how you feel about ecosystem management on local, regional, and national levels. Become informed about ecosystem pressures, how pervasive they are, and how elected leaders are responding to the threats they pose. On an international level, learn about environmental treaties and what they are intended to accomplish. Decide whether you support or oppose their aims, then let your voice be heard.

Become well informed.

Research the details of local policies and community efforts. Find out what impact they are intended to have and whether they are achieving that goal. Then work with officials and managers to develop the kinds of programs and management strategies that will preserve and restore ecosystems.
Learn your legislator's agenda.

Find out how your politicians voted on environmental issues by visiting the League of Conservation Voters web site.
Join organizations that express your point of view.

Many groups are actively engaged in serving as advocates for the environment. Find an organization that works for a cause in a way that suits you, become a member, and participate.
Investigate a variety of environmental organizations.

You can access information about goals and perspectives of national organizations that have web sites by viewing their home pages and clicking on the "about us" page.

Look at our Web Resources List to get an idea of the range of organizations you can become involved with, or check out:

Save Our Environment

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