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Effective Environmental Choices for Individuals

This page outlines some of the key points from the book: The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists by Michael Brower & Warren Leon, Three Rivers Press, 1999. ISBN 0-609-80281-X

Priority Actions for American Consumers


  • Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive
  • Think twice before purchasing (or replacing) another car
  • Choose a fuel-efficient, low-polluting car
  • Set concrete goals for reducing your travel
  • Whenever practical, walk, bicycle, or take public transportation


  • Eat less meat
  • Buy certified organic produce

Household operations

  • Choose your home carefully (size, location, etc.)
  • Reduce the environmental costs of heating and hot water
  • Install efficient lighting and appliances
  • Choose an electricity supplier offering renewable energy


Avoid High Impact Activities
  • Powerboats (and snowmobiles, jet-skis, etc.)
  • Pesticides and fertilizers
  • Gasoline powered yard equipment
  • Fireplaces and wood stoves
  • Recreational off-road driving
  • Hazardous cleaners and paints
  • Products made from endangered or threatened species


Seven Rules for Responsible Consumption
  1. Give special attention to major purchases
  2. Become a weight watcher (heavier products generally have higher environmental impacts)
  3. Analyze your consumption quantitatively
  4. Don't worry or feel guilty about unimportant decisions
  5. Look for opportunities to be a leader
  6. Buy more of those things that help the environment (c.f.: water saving faucets)
  7. Think about non-environmental reasons for reducing consumption

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Eco-Justice Ministries ended all programming on July 31, 2020. This site is an archive of writings and resources.
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