What You Can Do To Ensure a Better Day After Tomorrow

If you think climate change is too big of a problem for you to affect, think again. There are many ways each of us can reduce our energy use and the amount of pollution we put into the environment. If everyone took a few easy steps, our collective impact would be truly significant.

Here are some ways you can help to slow climate change. Your actions, combined with those of others, will make a visible difference. Read on!

—Sean Sheehan, National Outreach Director, Center for a New American Dream

Do you shower up every morning? When you shampoo or soap up, turn the water off. Why? Because it takes energy to heat the water we bathe in—and that energy usually comes from coal-fired power plants that pollute the air and disrupt the climate.

Also, be sure that your shower has an efficient showerhead. If 20 million people installed efficient showerheads, we would together prevent the release of nearly four million tons of carbon into the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of taking 600,000 SUVs off of U.S. roads, all from the comfort of your own shower!1

It’s also a big water savings— more than 90 billion gallons a year, in fact. That’s a lot of water—more than enough to fill 110,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools!2

If you already use efficient showerheads, you can calculate your positive impact on the Turn the Tide website. If you don’t, log on to Turn the Tide and find out how to get some.

How are you getting around? If possible, think about using public transportation, walking, or biking. If you need to drive, grab a few friends and carpool together in your most efficient vehicle.

Did you know that if 20 million people all drove a Toyota Prius to a theater 10 miles away, instead of a Hummer H2, we would save more than 1 million barrels of oil and 460 million pounds of climate-disrupting carbon dioxide? We’d also save a combined $44 million at the pump—yes, just from that one trip! Think about all the popcorn you could buy with that kind of cash!3

And think about how much we’d save if we carpooled, walked, or biked at least once every week! Actually, stop thinking about it and log onto Turn the Tide to find out.

So maybe you liked a movie so much you'll want to see it again when it comes out on DVD. But that'll be months away, so why keep your DVD player running until then? Switch off your power strips and fully turn off your DVD players and any other devices that typically remain on standby. The “vampire-like” standby devices in DVD players, cell phone chargers, stereos, washers, dryers, and other appliances suck 26 power plants worth of electricity every year in the U.S. alone. That’s 26 power plants spewing pollution and disrupting our climate just so the vampires can sit at our beck and call.4

Yes, you guessed it—if 20 million poeple controlled our vampires, we could drive a stake through an entire power plant!

Calculate the positive impact of taking nine other simple actions, and see how they add up to make a huge positive difference, at Turn the Tide.


1. SUV calculations by the Center for a New American Dream, based on U.S Department of Energy estimate that the average SUV consumed 645 gallons of gasoline in 2002. (Back to Text)

2. Efficient showerhead calculations based on savings of 4572.7 gallons of water and 376 pounds of CO2 per household per year from Rocky Mountain Institute, as cited in Turn the Tide, www.turnthetide.org; gallons in Olympic swimming pool from U.S. Olympic Training Centers Web site, www.usoc.org/about_us/visitor_ctr_COS.html (Back to Text)

3. Calculations for oil saved and CO2 avoided based on transportation figures in U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency (EIA), April 2004 Monthly Energy Review, at www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/mer/; $43.7 million dollars based on U.S. average gasoline cost of $1.812 per gallon, per EIA, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update, 26 April 2004, tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/gdu/gasdiesel.asp (Back to Text)

4. 26 power plants from Environmental Resource Center, “Environmental Tip-of-the-Week: 8/3/2001” www.ercweb.com/news/tipreq.asp?tip=8/3/2001 (Back to Text)