What YOU can do right away!

Little things when taken together can make big changes in your impact on the environment. Use these tips to get started, then read through the different links on the right side-bar, "Cutting Carbon 101."  

 In your home... the two most impactful steps:

In your home... more steps:

  • Lower your heat thermostat to 55 degrees while you are away or when you'll be asleep.
  • Turn off lights when they are not being used. Install LED bulbs.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Use a microwave or convection oven instead of a conventional oven whenever possible.  Consider an induction cooktop.
  • Avoid running water continuously while doing dishes, washing up, brushing teeth, or shaving.
  • Adjust refrigerator settings to 37-40 degrees and freezer to 0-5 degrees.
  • Install low-flow shower heads to use less hot water. Take shorter showers.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. They will get clean – honest.
  • Get non-petroleum based hair products and cosmetics. Go to the Environmental Working Group’s website (ewg.org) and get a list of recommended products. If the box says “100% organic”, that’s also good to go.
  • Cancel all of your catalogs. 
  • Have your bank statements and brokerage account materials sent to you by email.
  • Vote your proxy statements by email.


  • Drive more slowly. There is at least a 20% loss in fuel economy as speed increases from 55 to 75 mph. Keep your tires fully inflated.
  • Combine automobile trips for shopping and errands. Do not let engine idle.
  • Bike, carpool and use MBTA when possible.


  • Eat low on the food chain. It takes nearly 10 times as much fossil fuel to produce animal protein compared to plant protein such as beans and grains.
  • Buy local produce rather than items trucked in from afar and bring home in reusable bags.
  • In the summer, shop at farmers’ markets - Brookline's is on Centre Street. In the winter, the farmers' market moves indoors to the Arcade Building on Harvard Street. The closer the farms, the less fuel it took to get to you.
  • Buy non-petroleum based laundry products. A good clue is if the box says “biodegradable”.

 I'm a renter. I can't insulate or change the furnace. Is there anything I can do? Absolutely!!

  • If you pay for your electricity, you can sign up for 100% renewable electricity.  This can reduce your carbon footprint by as much as 25%.
  • Get plastic inside window kits. They will pay for themselves in a year.
  • Get your landlord to put down batting in the attic and seal up obvious leaks.