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50 Actions for 50 Years

Join others in the Purchase community by challenging yourself to take these 50 actions for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020!


  1. Plant a tree.
  2. Learn recycling rules on campus and in your county to properly sort your waste.
  3. Sign up for UCapture to offset Purchase’s carbon footprint.
  4. Arrange a safe and “socially distant” clean-up at a local park, river or beach. 
  5. Form a “green team” in your department to find cost-effective ways to conserve resources and promote sustainability. Attend Sustainability Advisory and Outreach Committee meetings!
  6. Attend Green Team or GreenFee meetings once meetings begin!
  7. Replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with efficient CFLs or LEDs to reduce your carbon footprint by 450 pounds a year!
  8. Carpool, ride your bike, use public transportation or drive an electric or hybrid car. Reduce your carbon footprint by one pound for every mile you do not drive!
  9. Get involved with your local town to make a difference, volunteer for a local environmental group and/or make a donation.
  10. Learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how to incorporate them into your daily life.
  11. Teleconference/Zoom instead of traveling. If you fly five times per year, those trips are likely to account for 75% of your personal carbon footprint.
  12. Stop using disposable plastics, especially single-use plastics like bottles, bags and straws.
  13. Recycle paper, plastic and glass to reduce your garbage by 10% and your carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds a year!
  14. Donate your old clothes and home goods instead of throwing them out. When you need something, consider buying used items. Visit the FreeStore when open!
  15. Use cloth towels or rags instead of paper towels.
  16. Change your paper bills to online billing. You’ll be saving trees and the fuel it takes to deliver your bills by truck.
  17. Read documents online instead of printing them.
  18. When you need to use paper, make sure it is post-consumer recycled paper.
  19. Set your printer to print two-sided.
  20. Collect used printer, fax, and copier cartridges to recycle responsibly.
  21. Advocate for reusable utensils, trays, and dishes in restaurants and dining establishments.
  22. Use reusable bottles for water, and reusable mugs for coffee.
  23. Bring reusable bags when you shop.
  24. Pack your lunch in a reusable bag.
  25. Buy local food to reduce the distance from farm to fork. Buy straight from the farm, frequent your local farmers’ market, or join a local food co-op.
  26. Buy organic food to keep your body and the environment free of toxic pesticides. Support farmers and companies who use organic ingredients.
  27. Reduce buying over-packaged items and products, shop the bulk bin when you can!
  28. Choose products in reusable or recyclable containers.
  29. Grow your own organic garden, or join a farm-share group or community garden.
  30. Reduce your meat consumption to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry.
  31. Compost kitchen scraps for use in your garden — turning waste into fertilizer.
  32. Take a shorter shower and use a water-saving shower head.
  33. Fix leaky faucets and shower-heads.
  34. Run your dishwasher only when it’s full to save water and energy.
  35. Conserve water outdoors by only watering your lawn in the early morning or late at night. Use drought-resistant plants in dry areas.
  36. Wash your clothes only when necessary and at full loads, use cold water and line dry.
  37. Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products.
  38. Pull out invasive plants in your yard or garden and replace them with native ones.
  39. Turn off and unplug electronics you’re not using. This includes turning off your computer at night to prevent vampire energy.
  40. Turn off lights when you leave a room.
  41. Seek information to install solar panels on your roof.
  42. Take the stairs instead of the elevator to save energy (and get exercise!).
  43. Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer to reduce your carbon footprint by 2,000 pounds.
  44. Keep your tires properly inflated and get better gas mileage. This can reduce your carbon footprint 20 pounds for each gallon of gas saved.
  45. Don’t wash dishes with the water running.
  46. Contact your utility company and find out about renewable energy options.
  47. Use energy-efficient appliances and electronics.
  48. Recycle batteries from small appliances and your electronics. Use rechargeable batteries instead!
  49. Learn how to make a vegan or vegetarian meal and incorporate it into your routine regularly.
  50. Find creative ways to minimize your food waste by utilizing the entirety of your produce.