heart-for-the-world I am so grateful that I learned early in life about environmental defense actions I could take to help the world.  One of the biggest influences was my Aunt and Uncle, whom lived a very simple, eco- conscious lifestyle.   As a child it was one of my favorite places to visit even though they had  no hot water and an out- house to go to the bathroom in.  I learned appreciation for what I did have and never took it for granted.  My Aunt and Uncle chose to live this way, it wasn't that they couldn't afford lavish things.  It was quite the contrary, which made me respect them even more.  Canvas bags, glass bottles, compost, local, home-grown and of course recycled and reused everything!   There was a constant reminder about being resourceful and not wasteful.  Still to this day, if I leave the water on a second longer to brush my teeth, I can hear them reminding me to be aware of my usage. It amazes me that still to this day people don't, in the very least recycle!  It literally blows my mind.  So I decided to make a simple list to help others that did not grow up with Green Peace, NRDC advocates as Aunts and uncles. 1.  Recycle!!!!!! and buy minimally packaged goods. For example buy one large recyclable bottle of apple juice instead of a 24 pack of individual juice boxes. Get a stainless steel, BPA free bottle and refill every day to make your own individual drinks. 2.  Canvas Bags. Most stores are not even giving bags anymore and rightfully so. Plastic bags end up in our oceans ans pollute the environment. Keep a bunch of bags in your trunk and use them every time you shop, not just for groceries. 3.  Turn the water off in between brushing your teeth. Never leave the water carelessly running. If you are waiting for it to warm up then place a bucket underneath and collect the water to use for plants or animals. Nothing should be wasted. 4.  Wash clothes in cold or warm water, not hot. 5.  Run the dishwasher only when full and open the door for it to dry on its own, instead of using extra energy to dry it. 6.  Compost your food scraps or you can throw all organic foods in the green bin!!! A lot of people do not know this but organic scraps can be put into the "green bin" or bin where grass and leaves go. 7.  Unplug appliances when you are not using them. Example- blender, toaster, hair dryer and coffee machine. 8.  Turn off lights. Be mindful and turn off unnecessary lighting. 9.  Replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones if you can. 10.  Walk, bike, use public transportation and carpool to run errands or get to work. 11.  Replace standard light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs. 12.  Buy local as often as possible and support local businesses and farmers. Example- it is so silly when I hear people tell me that they go to Walmart to get organic fruit because it is cheaper, but at what cost to the environment?  Most likely that fruit is not local and the carbon foot print that it made to get to Walmart far exceeds the 50 cents you saved had you bought it local. Not to mention all the other horrible things that go on with the people that pick that produce for Walmart to make it so cheap. 13.  Donate and support great organizations like Green Peace and NRDC. 14.  Water filter. Do not support bottled water. It is not good for you and it is awful for the environment.  Most of the plastic bottles end up in our oceans, fish eat it and we eat the fish filled with toxic plastic.  Get a good water filter and bottle it yourself in glass bottles or stainless steel. 15.  Do your part and know that every person doing a little makes a whole! Share your knowledge with friends and family. *Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.- Margaret Mead