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Question of the Week: What’s the single most important choice you make to reduce your impact on the environment?

2010 January 25

Every day we make choices that affect the environment, both positively and negatively. Share your thoughts on what you think is the single most important choice you make to lessen your impact on the environment.

What’s the single most important choice you make to reduce your impact on the environment?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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56 Responses leave one →
  1. beertrekker permalink
    January 25, 2010

    having children one is enough!

  2. Jethro permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Ask for a different means to mobility – away from the Internal Combustion engine!

    40%+ CO2 emissions
    71%+ consumption of every barrel of oil produced

    The biggest thing we could do for the environment is “question internal combustion” and ask our government, car dealers and ourselves. Why we are still driving a vehicle using archaic technology from 1901?

    Enough is enough, we will never move away from the Internal combustion vehicle if we don’t ask for it. Right now, no one even cares to think beyond the car they drive.

  3. Chul KIM McGuire permalink
    January 25, 2010

    The single most important choice that I make to reduce my impact to the environment are the 4-R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Reclaim. Proactively implementing the 4-R’s daily makes me feel better as a person. I want to limit my and my kids’ footprint on the only earth that we have. I also educate and encourage others at work and on Facebook to do the same for the sake of One Earth. Cheers, KIM.

  4. Peter Javsicas permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Choosing public transportation instead of driving.

  5. Vick permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Reducing the family size. The number of people on the planet will increase dramatically this century and place ever increasing stress on resources and intensify an already warming climate.

  6. wade harter permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Choosing to buy those things only made in the USA (althought this is extremely hard to do). We have environmental controls (wastewater treatment plant discharge permits, air permits, stormwater permits, hazardous waste permits, cooling water permits etc.) which insure that our manufacturing has minimum impact on the environment. This is not necessarily true overseas. When I assisted in building a plant in Packistan there were no regulations. However our company installed a wastewater treatment system and exhaust controls the same as if we were building here in the USA.

  7. Sonja permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Asking myself if I truly need to buy something or if I am buying something just because society says that I need it.

  8. wade harter permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Choosing to purchase goods manufactured here in the USA. Our manufacturers operate under strict State aand EPA regulations which protect the environment. Most overseas manufacturing have no such regulations.

  9. Joan permalink
    January 25, 2010

    I’m striving to simplify my life and buy less stuff!
    The factories that manufacture all those plastic doodads, cheap trinkets and high-end electronics are taking a toll on the environment.

  10. Jackenson Durand permalink
    January 25, 2010

    I choose to wait until the next electrical car generations are starting to be in huge commercialization before getting my own.
    We try hard to spread the word but our close one is wonder by their faster need.
    I just found another way recently by inviting those close one at the EPA laboratory, scientific and philosophic, this way would probably put those in better pragmatic action for their own sooner.

  11. Lorenzo permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Hope you are not serious!
    And most of all… I am wondering how you are going to implement your “SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT choice to reduce YOUR impact on the environment”!

  12. Andy permalink
    January 25, 2010

    I became vegetarian.

  13. armansyahardanis permalink
    January 25, 2010

    The first time I always think that small is beautiful. Every second, or minute, …., day, week, … has a meaningful and interdependence among that. Brain is a single most important choice to do all done. Just well brain will produce a positive results than a worst it. Environmental impact depends it. Ya, human positive thinking……!

  14. Davester permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Recycle. Man, there’s a lot of cardboard, paper, metals and glass in common trash. Keep sorting and don’t worry about the organics in the landfill since they can tap than for methane reclamation once it’s capped properly!

  15. Lara & Vara permalink
    January 25, 2010

    The one choice that we made recently was to force our dad to change all the light bulbs in our house to energy saving white light. It will not only help reduce the electric bills but also help saving environment.

  16. April permalink
    January 25, 2010

    I reduced the amount of meat I consume.

  17. Cheryl permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Drastically reduce animal product consumption, buy organic food, and grow some of your own organic food, even inside. That alone could stop climate change! Here’s why, with all sources for further reading

  18. Jon permalink
    January 25, 2010

    The single most important choice that I make to reduce my impact to the environment are the 3-R’s and 1-S: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and SHARE. The 3 R’s are simple to remember but sharing your ideas, convictions, love for your environmental stewardship is probably MORE important than anything else. Sharing knowledge on “how to” care for the environment should always be in addition to taking public transportation; walking; drinking tap water; etc. Share this blog with your friends…I’d be surprised if anyone outside of us (people who think about caring for the environment on a ‘weekly basis’) read this blog! Share your knowledge. At least, that’s what I try to do.

  19. JIM permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Installed power strips on all electical devices including antenna booster devices to cut off power;(TV’s, treadmil etc..) [even a one outlet connection switch @$5.00]
    Battery backup/surge protectors on computers and modem/routers
    LED nightlite bulbs {est; uses $.25 a year each} Sep ’09 Switched out iredescent bulbs with those screwy looking florescent bulbs and recycle everything applicable.
    Trash barrel put out once a month and recyle barrel evey two weeks
    if full.Turn off water while brushing teeth. House temp 74 in winter and 78 in sumer. Pool pump and sprinkler system on timers.

  20. Al Bannet permalink
    January 25, 2010

    My most important decision to help the environment was probably my refusal to buy or drive any motor vehicle; or it could have been my decision to sire only one child. Tragically, the human population continues to instinctively grow, now seven billion and counting.

  21. Shawn Paul Boike permalink
    January 25, 2010

    Personally, recycle what we can & turn-off when not in use-all things.

  22. Warren permalink
    January 25, 2010

    I ride my bike to work instead of driving my car. It’s good for the earth, and good for me.

  23. Ron Roberts permalink
    January 25, 2010

    using solar energy .I have a solar water heater and it significantly reduced my electrical usage. any property owner can convert their water heaters to use solar to heat their water. That’s a lot of people using electricity, every day to wash themselves and their stuff.

    This technology is here and ready to go, NOW!!

    Going Green Grows our Future.

  24. Jani permalink
    January 26, 2010

    My choice to go vegan wasn’t entirely for environmental reasons; however, the positive impact is just the same. Also, I have always chosen to live as near to public transportation or work as possible. Which is a more significant impact? I’m not sure. It would be interesting to know, but difficult to calculate!

  25. Wiz permalink
    January 26, 2010

    Well, I throw my junk in the garbage, that’s about it I’m afraid.

  26. Steve Barney permalink
    January 26, 2010

    Eating a plant-based diet.

  27. Charles Harbaugh permalink
    January 26, 2010

    I try to avoid driving as much as I can to keep the pollution down in this city.

  28. David Mc permalink
    January 26, 2010

    Gee Lorenzo, I don’t think Vick was advocating homicide!

  29. David Mc permalink
    January 26, 2010

    Not to mention shipping our raw materials to them and then shipping the finished goods back to us. That kind of boomerang costs energy.
    Some act like this is protectionism. It’s NOT!

  30. Kenneth Moore permalink
    January 26, 2010

    Good job!! I’m surprised it took until the 10th comment for someone to say this. Eating less meat, no matter where your food is produced, has such a gigantic impact on fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions… Oh, and (generally) improved health, which decreases petroleum used in the production and distribution of pharmaceuticals, of course, and the necessity of fossil fuel-based transportation (whether electric or actually gas powered, it’s all fossil fuel based pretty much) because people are too fat to walk. This is something so small and less costly than a lot of the other ways individuals can reduce their environmental impact, but not enough people embrace that solution.


  31. David Mc permalink
    January 26, 2010

    And increase your allowance maybe??

  32. David Mc permalink
    January 26, 2010

    74 in winter? You softy!

  33. David Mc permalink
    January 26, 2010

    I have solar water, for my pool. I set the same thing up for my sister in Dominica. Now they have warm showers and dishwater.

  34. David Mc permalink
    January 26, 2010

    I got a job in industrial chemistry R&D and successfully help design waste out from the inside. That was the number one reason I took that career path 26 years ago.

  35. David Mc permalink
    January 26, 2010

    You were an only child? How about have one, adopt one?

  36. David Mc permalink
    January 26, 2010

    Ask the lonely men in China how that’s going.

  37. Julia Tomorrow permalink
    January 26, 2010

    I don’t drive anywhere, ever, and I won’t until there’s a better option out there for our planet. I don’t eat meat either.

  38. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    January 27, 2010

    I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Homeowners Association at my condo complex. One of the things I have been able to do is to get two water districts, our landscaper, and the board to agree on a recycled water system for the complex. It took two water districts because the one that serves us does not have a recycled water line, the neighboring district has one going by across the street from us. So part of the agreement is that our district can tap the other district’s line and run the supply pipe under the street to our complex. This required testing the pressure in the line and other work and an agreementof understanding between the two districts to share the line. The water district did an on site inspection with the landscaper and that went well. We will convert our present irrigation system toa recycled water system. The cost for this could be up to $40,000; but the good news is it won’t cost the association any money. A no intest loan will pay for the cost. The water district will look at our reycling water bill and the water bill we had before the system went in and keep the difference to pay the loan. It takes 4 years or less to pay off the loan and then the water bill comes down to the much lower recycled water rate. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  39. JIM permalink
    January 27, 2010

    Reference my comment on 25th: Most important single thing I did was cut my electric bill in half!

  40. Don in CA permalink
    January 27, 2010

    Our best environmental effort (well, OK, the two kids didn’t have much choice) is to keep living in our small (1500 sq. ft.) house. Over the years we also replaced all the windows and most of the lighting for energy efficiency and installed photovoltaic electricity generation system, but keeping the size down limits both material and energy (gas and electricity) use.

  41. January 27, 2010

    Encourage sharing.

  42. Al Bannet permalink
    January 27, 2010

    The macho men of China favor the survival of boy babies over girls, so there is a shortage of women, so of course they are lonely, because they are myopic male supremists and their own worst enemies.

  43. Al Bannet permalink
    January 27, 2010

    Perhaps becoming a vegetarian was equally important, although it seems lost in a society so devoted to killing and eating innocent, defenseless animals.

  44. Nick permalink
    January 28, 2010

    I am NOT having children…beat that!!

    O.K., so I also compost almost everything, store over 1000 gallons of rainwater for landscape and food growing while the rest of the rain is trapped on my property, I shower outdoors, I co-run an intensive certification program for water harvesting in AZ, I flush my toilet with rainwater, I teach Environmental Biology, I vote with my wallet on food issues (Expensive!!),

    But again….NOTHING compares to not having another person lifetime worth of consumption and waste!!
    Keep rockin guys! you rule!

  45. Jill permalink
    January 28, 2010

    I stopped purchasing bottled water and bottle my own using my tap water.

  46. David Mc permalink
    January 28, 2010

    You’re not alone Nick-

    “May we live long and die out”

    Just kidding. Children would learn well from you.

  47. Lisa permalink
    January 28, 2010

    I ride my bike and use biodegradable doggie bags, and don’t use plastic shopping bags anymore.
    Also, looking into eco friendly wallpaper materials for my company’s wall murals

  48. Karen permalink
    January 29, 2010

    I take cloth bags when shopping. If I forget to bring the bags, I make sure to tell the cashiers “no bag please” when I’m only buy one or two items.

  49. Eunice permalink
    March 8, 2010

    Most all efforts matter, but, it’s true: our single largest whack at the other 99% of species = our key decision = having a child.

    Hands down.

  50. Keisha permalink
    June 5, 2010

    Hands down using organic products as well.. Save the Earth and the people that live in it.

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