The Steve Nash Foundation encourages you to get active in growing health in your own community, which starts with our environment. What's missing in your conservation efforts? Fill the need by encouraging others to work with you to make it happen.
One example we love is the Alaska Youth for Environmental Action's Reach Out and Recycle Plan. This step-by-step manual can guide you in bringing recycling to your favorite school, business or home.
And while you're at it, try their 3-2-1 Challenge - it's easy!
Of course, that's not all you can do - making healthy communities is a team effort, and easy when you look at it in simple, daily steps. Try these 13 ideas:
Inflate your tires for maximum performance, and insist on high gas mileage in any car you purchase. Better yet, tell your local and national leaders that you demand high standards for efficiency.
Walk! Bike! Take the bus! Get to know the people in your community and take it to the street. Reduce your dependence on your car by considering where you shop, live and work.
Support clean and renewable energy options, including wind, solar and hydro. Reducing reliance on dirty methods of energy production like coal can keep global warming pollution from getting worse. Reducing reliance on unsustainable measures like corn means we'll have a healthier planet longer. You don't have to afford a new solar roof to write your leaders and encourage their support of the issues, or call your local utility company and ask them to offer meaningful renewable energy options.
Go easy on the wet stuff! Install low-flow faucets and showerheads, turn the water off while you brush your teeth, and throw some river rocks in your toilet tanks — you won't notice the difference, but the Earth will.
Buy Energy Star-rated appliances (www.energystar.gov) like dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and refrigerators. You'll save more energy and your new low electric payment will be a shock! When possible, let the air do your drying for you — a simple clothesline makes chores more fun (and you might even meet your neighbours).
Insulate your hot water heater and pipes to prevent heat loss.
Wear a sweater, socks or down booties to keep warmer in the winter without cranking the heat.
Using a power strip for systems you don't need while you sleep makes it easy to shut down your entertainment center or computer equipment.
Properly sealed doors and windows keep the chill out in the winter and the cool breeze of your fan in during the summer. Press-and-stick molding seals doorframes and threshholds, and simple to apply plastic film fits any size, any shape window pane. It takes minutes and will take the heat off your energy bill.
Consider using a fan and outside air to cool your home. Use outside air in your car instead of air conditioning and roll down the windows for a healthy breeze.
Using trees around your house can keep it cool in summer and warmer in the winter. They suck up the carbon dioxide we put out, and help clean the air. If someone wants to clearcut in your area, get informed. Don't accept any clearcutting that yields low-value use for the land.
Recycle clean glass, office paper, cardboard, paperboard, plastics (including bags, films, containers), aluminum, tin, magazines, and newspapers. Don't have a recycling facility? Make 'em listen. Don't just recycle, though - reduce what you need by putting the Earth first and prioritizing a healthy one. Reuse things you already have (don't forget that 4th "r" -- Repair!) and donate reuseable items you don't need to local shelters, kids programs, building projects when you're remodeling (like Habitat for Humanity), and schools. Check out 100% post-consumer waste recycled products for your office needs at sites like www.frogfile.com .
Need a cheat sheet? Download our Green Leaf — 13 Tips For the Environment From the Steve Nash Foundation!