Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability

What You Can Do

1. Eat Local 

 
 
  • Buy your rice from here, not somewhere halfway across the globe. Find a farmer's market near you.
  • Grab your morning coffee and muffin at that local cafe instead of one of those coffee chains. 
 

2. Eat less meat  

 
 
  • Meatless Mondays! Need a reason as to why you should partake? Well, we've got six.
 

3. Eat seasonal  

 
 
  • Carrots and Spinach are nice to eat all year long, but corn and eggplant like to come out only in the summer and fall. Use this neat little chart to help you figure out what to eat and when.  
  • Want to see what foods you can eat from your home state? Find out here.
 

4. Preserve your harvest

 
 
  • Can, freeze, dehydrate anything and everything you can! Here are some quick, easy  techniques for preserving your harvest.
 

5. Buy fair-trade  

 
 
  • Spend your money on bananas that came from famers and workers who are actually justly compensated. Look for the fair-trade certified label.
 

6. Grow something

 
 
  • Fresh parsley tastes just as good from your herb garden than the grocery store. Maybe even better.  
  • Start an herb garden or even a p-patch! Or join a local community garden in your neighborhood.
 

7. Learn to cook

 
 
  • Experiment and make your own marinara sauce or chicken broth! Forget that preserved stuff at the grocery store.
  • Don't want to experiment? Here are some tasty recipes.
 

8. Support organic businesses

 
 
  • Shop and dine at places that offer organic items.
 

9. Compost!

 
 
  • Stop! And think before you throw your scraps down the garbage disposal. Odds are it's compostable.
 

10. Eat vegan at least one day each week

 
   

 

Back to Top

 

1. Know your neighborhood's polluters.

  • It’s important to know the lay of the land. Consult Scorecard for a list of polluters in your ZIP code.

2.  Buy local.

  • Do your research before you vote with your dollars! Seek out opportunities to support local, small businesses. 

3.  Buy fair-trade.

  • Look for fair trade items at the grocery store!    
  • Products with the fair-trade logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated.   
  • Fair trade assists farmers and other businesses in developing countries positively influence their communities. 

4. Drink 'green' coffee!

  • Look for ‘single-origin’ coffee, which makes it easier to identify where the coffee came from.   
  • Fair trade, organic, shade-grown, direct trade – what does it all mean? These terms will help you understand where, how, and who made your coffee!  
  • Direct trade directly sources coffee from farmer to roaster without a third party.

5. Help improve access to healthy food. 

  • Become involved with the many organizations that we have listed!   
  • The urban farming movement is empowering people to grow their own organic food, while other food activists are teaching children about gardening and healthy eating.   

6. Volunteer in your community. 

  • Get to know your community by becoming involved in these organizations   
  • Ask questions of these affected communities. Get to know the people living there. 

7. Start seeing the world in an integrated way.

  • Start thinking of the environment as something that is always around us – not something outside or separate from us.  
  • Understand how caring for people includes caring for the places where they live. We are inextricably linked to all of life.


 

1. Be Green at C-Street! 

 
  • Don't take a tray if you don't need it. This will cut down on washing needless dishes. 
  • Compost your food so that large amounts of scraps don't end up down the garbage disposal and into the Puget Sound!

2. Use a refillable water bottle!

3. Eat less meat and dairy.

 
  • A quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers! If you do eat meat, choose grass-fed rather than grain-fed, because it takes a lot of water to grow corn and feed crops.
  • There are also water costs embedded in transportation of food. Buy local instead!

4. Buy less stuff. 

 
  • It takes 100 gallons of water to grow and process one pound of cotton, and the average American goes through about 35 pounds of new cotton material each year. 
  • Recycling a pound of paper saves about 3.5 gallons of water. 
  • Buy recycled goods! Go ‘pop some tags’ at your local thrift shop!

5. Be laundry-smart! 

 
  • Match the water level to the size of the load.  
  • Using the warm or cold settings will help your clothes retain color! 

6. Take shorter showers. 

 
  • Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons a month! 
  • Take a shower instead of a bath. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water!

7. Washing dishes

 
  • When washing by hand, don’t let the water run.
  • Upgrade to an Energy Star dishwasher! These dishwashers use less water than washing by hand, so cut back on rinsing! 
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run.

8. Green your backyard

 
  • Plant species native to your region. 
  • Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard. 
  • Using mulch and allowing leaf litter to accumulate on the soil will keep it cooler and reduce evaporation.

9. Upgrade fixtures and appliances

 
  • Install a low-flow showerhead to save about 2 gallons per minute. 
  • Replace older toilets with new, higher-efficiency toilets to save up to 5 gallons per flush. 
  • Invest in a new dishwasher and washing machine. 

10. Insulate your water pipes. 

 
  • Insulate with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster, plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

11. Fix leaky faucets!

 
  • They're not just annoying - a leaky faucet can waste as much as 2,192 gallons of water a year!
Back to Top

1. Vote!   

 
  • It sounds obvious, but support and elect officials who support environmental protection.  
  • Do your research! Find out the candidates’ views and how they stand on environmental issues.  

2. Write a letter to the editor.  

 
 
  • Suggest actions that others can take to assist your cause. 
  • Elected officials and decision-makers look at the letters-to-the-editor section to follow public opinion on current issues. 

3. Write or call your elected officials. 

 
 
  • The best time to write or call is when decisions are being made – before a vote on a bill or when a regulation has been proposed.  

4. Become aware of how public policy decisions are made.  

 
 
  • Awareness, involvement, issue clarification
  • Alternative identification, consequence analysis, choice
  • Implementation and evaluation

5. Keep up-to-date!  

 
 
  • Sign up for an email listserv with an organization like the Washington Environmental Council to be updated on important local environmental issues. 
  • Like our Facebook page to see what’s going on in the greater Seattle U community. 

6. Get out on the street! 

 
  • Join protests, rallies, or marches that support your cause to show power in numbers and to get to know others who share your passion.

Back to Top

1. Vote!   

 
  • It sounds obvious, but support and elect officials who support environmental protection.  
  • Do your research! Find out the candidates’ views and how they stand on environmental issues.  

2. Write a letter to the editor.  

 
 
  • Suggest actions that others can take to assist your cause. 
  • Elected officials and decision-makers look at the letters-to-the-editor section to follow public opinion on current issues. 

3. Write or call your elected officials. 

 
 
  • The best time to write or call is when decisions are being made – before a vote on a bill or when a regulation has been proposed.  

4. Become aware of how public policy decisions are made.  

 
 
  • Awareness, involvement, issue clarification
  • Alternative identification, consequence analysis, choice
  • Implementation and evaluation

5. Keep up-to-date!  

 
 
  • Sign up for an email listserv with an organization like the Washington Environmental Council to be updated on important local environmental issues. 
  • Like our Facebook page to see what’s going on in the greater Seattle U community. 

6. Get out on the street! 

 
  • Join protests, rallies, or marches that support your cause to show power in numbers and to get to know others who share your passion.

Back to Top

1. Know your neighborhood's polluters.

  • It’s important to know the lay of the land. Consult Scorecard for a list of polluters in your ZIP code.

2.  Buy local.

  • Do your research before you vote with your dollars! Seek out opportunities to support local, small businesses. 

3.  Buy fair-trade.

  • Look for fair trade items at the grocery store!    
  • Products with the fair-trade logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated.   
  • Fair trade assists farmers and other businesses in developing countries positively influence their communities. 

4. Drink 'green' coffee!

  • Look for ‘single-origin’ coffee, which makes it easier to identify where the coffee came from.   
  • Fair trade, organic, shade-grown, direct trade – what does it all mean? These terms will help you understand where, how, and who made your coffee!  
  • Direct trade directly sources coffee from farmer to roaster without a third party.

5. Help improve access to healthy food. 

  • Become involved with the many organizations that we have listed!   
  • The urban farming movement is empowering people to grow their own organic food, while other food activists are teaching children about gardening and healthy eating.   

6. Volunteer in your community. 

  • Get to know your community by becoming involved in these organizations   
  • Ask questions of these affected communities. Get to know the people living there. 

7. Start seeing the world in an integrated way.

  • Start thinking of the environment as something that is always around us – not something outside or separate from us.  
  • Understand how caring for people includes caring for the places where they live. We are inextricably linked to all of life.


 

1. Be Green at C-Street! 

 
  • Don't take a tray if you don't need it. This will cut down on washing needless dishes. 
  • Compost your food so that large amounts of scraps don't end up down the garbage disposal and into the Puget Sound!

2. Use a refillable water bottle!

3. Eat less meat and dairy.

 
  • A quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers! If you do eat meat, choose grass-fed rather than grain-fed, because it takes a lot of water to grow corn and feed crops.
  • There are also water costs embedded in transportation of food. Buy local instead!

4. Buy less stuff. 

 
  • It takes 100 gallons of water to grow and process one pound of cotton, and the average American goes through about 35 pounds of new cotton material each year. 
  • Recycling a pound of paper saves about 3.5 gallons of water. 
  • Buy recycled goods! Go ‘pop some tags’ at your local thrift shop!

5. Be laundry-smart! 

 
  • Match the water level to the size of the load.  
  • Using the warm or cold settings will help your clothes retain color! 

6. Take shorter showers. 

 
  • Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons a month! 
  • Take a shower instead of a bath. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water!

7. Washing dishes

 
  • When washing by hand, don’t let the water run.
  • Upgrade to an Energy Star dishwasher! These dishwashers use less water than washing by hand, so cut back on rinsing! 
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run.

8. Green your backyard

 
  • Plant species native to your region. 
  • Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard. 
  • Using mulch and allowing leaf litter to accumulate on the soil will keep it cooler and reduce evaporation.

9. Upgrade fixtures and appliances

 
  • Install a low-flow showerhead to save about 2 gallons per minute. 
  • Replace older toilets with new, higher-efficiency toilets to save up to 5 gallons per flush. 
  • Invest in a new dishwasher and washing machine. 

10. Insulate your water pipes. 

 
  • Insulate with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster, plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

11. Fix leaky faucets!

 
  • They're not just annoying - a leaky faucet can waste as much as 2,192 gallons of water a year!
Back to Top

1. Be laundry-smart! 

 
  • Set your washer to the cold water setting, not hot. This saves nearly 500 pounds of CO2 per year with an electric water heater, or 150 pounds for a gas heater!
  • Make sure you are running a full laundry load.

2. Walk, bike, carpool, or use mass transit.

  • Every gallon of gasoline you save avoids 22 pounds of CO2 emissions!

3. Vampire power sucks!

  • Unplug your cell phone, tablet, and laptop chargers when not in use. These chargers pull electricity even when fully charged!
  • Turn off your TV, DVD player, stereo, and computer when you’re not using them!  
  • Invest in a power strip so that you can easily switch the entire strip off!

4. Use passive solar heating. 

  • Open your shades to take advantage of the natural heating powers of the sun on chilly but sunny days in the winter!

5. Replace your old light bulbs. 

  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED bulbs will save up to $65 a year!
  • In a typical home, one compact fluorescent bulb can save 260 pounds of CO2 per year.

6. Set your thermostat wisely.

  • In the winter, set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the day and 55 degrees at night. In the summer, keep it at 78.   
  • Adjust your thermostat before leaving for school or work.

7. Check your tires.

  • Keeping your tires properly inflated  can improve your gas mileage by more than 3%!

8. Modernize your windows.

  • Replacing all your old windows with argon-filled, double-glazed windows can save more than 2.4 tons of CO2 per year!

9. Paint smart, plant smart.

  • Plant shade trees and paint your house a color if you live in a warm climate or a dark color if you live in a cold climate. 
  • Reductions in energy use resulting from shade trees and appropriate painting can save up to 2.4 tons of CO2 emissions per year!

Back to top

Protecting ecosystems might seem like a rather large task for individuals to take on. One way to approach such a task is to consider how we can protect biodiversity, which then protects the ecosystems supporting such diversity. Habitat destruction, invasive species, overpopulation and overconsumption drive biodiversity loss. The list below, therefore, highlights actions individuals can take to protect biodiversity.

1. Be aware of your own personal impact.   

  •  Measure your carbon footprint (the amount of CO2 emitted based on your own lifestyle).  
  •  Understand your surroundings: from where does your water come and where does it go once it hits the drains? How is your energy provided and what sort of impacts does it have on ecosystems?  

2.  Support education for girls in developing nations. 

  • Research has shown that empowering women and girls through education leads to increased economic opportunity as well as greater choice in reproductive health and planning. This is one significant way to slow population growth.  

3. Remove invasive species.   

  • Volunteer with organizations like  EarthCorps
  • Planting native species and restoring habitats helps preserve biodiversity. 

4. Do you really need that?   

  • Think about it! Overconsumption is one of the major drivers of biodiversity loss.
  • Buy recycled or secondhand instead!

 5. Eat local meat (or less meat or none at all).  

  • Cheap beef production is a highly destructive process that involves mass deforestation. 
  • Cattle also produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide.  

6. 'Shady' coffee 

  • The coffee plant is originally a shade-growing plant. Coffee is more productive when it is grown in the understory of a forest. 
  • Shade-grown coffee helps to reduce biodiversity loss.    

 7. Buy 'good' wood.    

8. Eat sustainable seafood (or less seafood or none at all).   

  • 75% of the world’s fisheries are fully or over-exploited. 
  • Look for seafood labeled with the Marine Stewardship Council logo.

Back to Top