How You Can Make a Difference for the Planet

With today’s environmental problems so large, abstract, and intractable — see warming, global — you’re probably wondering what you, one individual, can do on Earth Day to help. (If you’re one of the people surveyed by Gallup — see above — perhaps you don’t care, but humor us.) It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of climate change, but individual actions are making a difference. Michael Charney, for example, created the Massachusetts Climate Action Network, a group of 15 towns in his region that purchase clean energy and use it efficiently. His activism tools were simple: “I had a room with a phone and phone book,” he says. “If you have a list of people to call, and time to do it, you can change the world.” Seth Riney started Planetran, a “limo” company that uses hybrid Toyota Priuses to ferry people to and from Boston’s Logan Airport. He’s changing an industry, he says, “just by doing it — not by arguing policy with lawmakers.” You, too, can take action today, by doing everything from switching to compact fluorescent lightbulbs to reducing herbicide and pesticide use to purchasing Energy Star-certified products. After all, you don’t want the U.K. to drown, do you?