01 January 2016


NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)
WE all want to do better environmentally, here are some realistic suggestions from the +NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) , on of the premier environmental action organizations in the U.S. Few of us can do all of these things, location and personal economics are factors that have to be considered, but there are things here that some of us can do, and some will save us money and improve our personal health. 

And there is much indeed to be happy about this year! Thanks to the generous support of NRDC members, activists and supporters like you, NRDC is going into 2016 well prepared for the tough environmental fights we face on the road to a sustainable future.

Like many of you, I suspect, the New Year always makes me think about the things I'd like to do better. This year, after our incredible successes at the Paris Climate Talks, I am thinking in particular about what I can do—personally—to reduce my impact on the planet.

Conveniently, I work for a place that has all the expertise I need to make that ambition a reality. I asked our conservation experts to give me some tips to share with you on how to live greener, and they came back with these seven great ideas below covering everything from food waste to fuel economy.

One of the most important things we learned in Paris was that even seemingly small decisions—from towns, communities, neighborhoods or even ourselves—can have a huge impact for the environment. Building the healthy, clean future our families deserve begins with the smart decisions we make right now.

I hope you'll join me in dedicating 2016 to bold conservation action and another year of resounding environmental victories. With you on our side, we can't lose.

Rhea Suh
President, NRDC

Dana Gunders
Dana Gunders
Senior Scientist and author of the Waste Free Kitchen Handbook

Clean Your Kitchen

In the U.S., 40% of the food we produce gets thrown away—a huge waste of energy, land, water ... and money. Addressing the problem can begin right in our own kitchens. If your kitchen is cluttered, chances are you can't find food, which means that it will probably go uneaten. Remedying the situation is easy. Begin by donating foods that you never touch to a local pantry, clean out your fridge, and kick off the year with a clean kitchen that you're inspired to use. When it comes to food, remember: Eat it, share it, just don't waste it!

Lena Brook
Lena Brook
Food Policy Advocate

Say No to Antibiotics in Your Meat

The meat industry's chronic overuse of antibiotics creates an environment that can cause drug-resistant bacteria to multiply—and that poses a threat to us all. But thanks to the growing demand for responsibly produced meat, we're now seeing significant improvements in antibiotics stewardship. Keep the drumbeat going in 2016 by buying products with the USDA Certified Organic, USDA Process Verified Never Ever 3, or Animal Welfare Approved labels. These third-party certified products come from farms where routine use of antibiotics is prohibited. If you don't see these options, ask the grocery store to carry them.

Luke Tonachel
Luke Tonachel
Senior Analyst and Director, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Project
Need a New Car? Go Greener

Low gas prices may save us money at the pump today, but banking on this trend to last is bad news for your wallet—and the earth's climate. If you're in the market for a new car this year, look for the highest fuel economy car that meets your needs. Of course, the cleanest vehicles are the ones that don't burn gas at all, and plug-in electric vehicles are a best bet for fuel efficiency. But any way you look at it, cutting fuel use reduces carbon pollution and protects the planet today and tomorrow.

Noah Horowitz
Noah Horowitz
Senior Scientist

Cut Your TV's Electric Demands

The typical American "TV ecosystem"—two big screen TVs with attached cable boxes and game console—consumes as much electricity as one or two new refrigerators. But it doesn't have to be that way. Disabling your TV's automatic brightness control (ABC) feature can reduce energy use by 50%. Turning off its quick start feature can lower electricity consumption by another 10 to 25W. And using the automatic power down feature on your video game console will save even more money. These easy steps will shrink your carbon footprint, lessening your household's climate impact.

Erik Olson
Erik Olson
Director, Health & Environment Program and Senior Strategic Director, Food & Health

Eat a Little Less Meat

Our food choices can have a real impact on our environmental footprint. To protect your health and the environment, start by eating less red and processed meat. If all Americans cut just 1/4 pound of beef out of their diets each week, the reduction in carbon emissions would be enormous—about the same as taking 4 to 6 million cars off the road—and helping to blunt the worst effects of climate change.

Mark Izeman
Mark Izeman
Director, New York Urban Program

Get Outside!

We take care of what we love, so falling in love with nature is a great first step toward protecting wildlife, wild places and the environment. Plan a hike or even a vacation to a National Park, a State Park or a National Forest. In New York, where I work, residents live close to some incredible parks—some of my favorites being the Palisades Interstate Park, the Catskill Park and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve. Begin in your own backyard, with a stroll to the nearest park or community garden. Either way, take friends and family. Getting people outside is a great way to open their eyes to the natural world and build public support for conservation efforts.

Sylvia Fallon
Sylvia Fallon
Director, Wildlife Conservation Project, Land & Wildlife Program

Make Your Backyard a Butterfly's Delight

Monarch butterfly populations are in precipitous decline. Why? In large part because industrial agriculture is killing off the native milkweed plants on which monarchs depend for food. You can help create a safe corridor for monarchs and sustain them on their journey by planting local, native milkweed right in your backyard (literally). And to do even more, avoid using dangerous glyphosate weed killers—like Monsanto's Roundup—and choose alternatives that don't harm the environment.

The mission of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.
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