Kids using a laptop outside in a field. Alternatives Journal. Photo © SerrNovik \

Be A Careful Consumer

Think before you buy. The Better World Shopper evaluates social justice and environmental performance and assigns a letter grade to companies that make everything from ice cream to office supplies. 

What you put on your body is as important as what you put in it. Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and Environmental Defense’s Just Beautiful campaign identify products that keep the planet beautiful too.

Using manufacturers’ data about computers, printers and more to rate criteria such as energy use, packaging and materials, the EPEAT registry makes it easier to choose lower-impact electronics.

Don’t ditch that cellphone too soon! When you do, Call2Recycle will help make sure the recyclable and toxic components in phones and batteries are dealt with responsibly.

Measure How You Live

Use a carbon footprint calculator (plus your utility bills for more accurate results) to find out where you stand, and then take steps to reduce your impact. There's also a version for kids and teens.

Alternatively, use this this fun ecological footprint calculator to find out how many earths we’d need if everyone lived like you.

Estimate the environmental impact of your wedding or conference guests’ travel plans with event footprint calculators by TerraPass (and buy carbon offsets if you’re so inclined).

Learn how a range of different upgrades, appliances and retrofitting options will calculate into utility bill savings and ROI with REEP’s Green Home Planner (designed for detached houses only). 

Scotiabank EcoLiving’s Home Energy Savings Calculator analyzes the dimensions, appliances and energy demands of any home and suggests effective ways to improve performance and have a lower impact the planet.

Build A Community

Green Drinks is an informal monthly meet-up of environmentalists from a range of different fields, including academia, activism, NGOs and the tech industry.

Need some motivation to amp up sustainability at home or in the workplace? Join the Practically Green online community to get personalized suggestions, set goals and earn points!

Voice your concerns about an environmental issue and gather support for change with Avaaz’s extra-easy online petitions.

Laura is a past A\J managing editor. She has an MA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, is an organizing aficionado, lackadaisical gardener, and former musical theatre producer. @inhabitings

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