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Green Living, Green Thinking – 8 Small Things You Do That Can Save the Planet Earth

As the world sadly mourns the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, it's clearer than ever how big a difference one person can make – and how much of an impact our actions can have across the whole world. Is history shaped by the actions of a few great men and women? That's a question for historians and philosophers, but the point is that we don't need to be politicians or 'great men and women' to make a difference. Real change happens when everyone does their bit, and there are plenty of small things you can do right now to make the world a better place – especially in the face of global warming.

If you want to do your bit and make a difference to the welfare of the planet then you don't have to become Prime Minister of your country, you don't need to give a famous speech and you don't need to make a breakthrough that solves the energy crisis. You just need to do your bit. Here are five ways to do just that…

Donate Some Money

Money

No matter how much you give, even the smallest donation can make a big difference to a number of green charities around the world. More to the point, if everyone thought the same way and gave just a few dollars, that would be billions of dollars to help put our planet back on track…

Plant a Tree

birth tree: planting a snow bell

Planting a single tree can help to offset a huge amount of the carbon emissions you produce throughout the year. It will also provide a habitat for whole ecosystems of life and help make your garden that bit more beautiful and green.

Cycle to Work

Cool cycling ?

This one requires a bit more effort, but if you're willing to cycle to work then you will be cutting out one of the activities that produces the most emissions of all. Furthermore you'll be reducing noise pollution and congestion, and you'll be able to benefit yourself as well from improved health and energy throughout the day.

Recycle

Recycling is something we all know we should do, but too many of us put it off and instead make lots of excuses. Recycling has many benefits for the environment however and reduces waste, pollution and energy consumption. Even if you only make the effort to recycle one thing – a few bottles per week for instance – it will have a huge impact on your overall carbon footprint and make a big difference.

Paint Your Home White

painting your roof

Here's one that's a little less obvious: painting your home white will enable it to reflect more of the sun's harmful rays back out into space which at the same time will help to cool down the atmosphere and turn back some of the harmful effects of global warming. We are losing reflective surfaces all the time as the ice caps melt away, so it's important that we do something about it!

Vote Green

The great thing about democracy is that everyone gets a say. That makes it our responsibility to ensure that the right policies are implemented and the right parties come to power. Voting for parties with green sensibilities will also send a clear message to our politicians that this is what should be high on the agenda – and all it takes is for you to tick a single box.

Lowe Your Thermostat

Try turning your heating down by a single degree. You'll barely notice any difference, but over the course of the year it will make a big impact on your energy expenditure and your bill. And seeing as you're saving that extra money, that's what you could donate to charity!

Spread the Word!

Something you can do right now? Share this article to Facebook! Occasionally talking about global warming with your friends, posting to social media and being seen to do the right thing are all ways that you can help boost the profile of eco-living. Just talking can make all the difference in the world…

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Shruti Vaghe, is a freelance blogger who often writes for The Shutter Works, renowned providers of wooden shutters in Calgary. She likes to blog and often shares her thoughts and views technology. In her free time, she likes to indulge in travelling and adventure sports. You can follow her on Twitter @ShrutiVaghe.