Step by Step: How Your Small Contributions Add Up for Mother Earth

Green-minded consumers have a positive impact on the environment.

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Think your small contributions couldn’t possibly make a difference to the state of the earth today? Think again. Vital Signs 2002, a report from the Worldwatch Institute, found that green-minded consumers are indeed having a positive impact.

Project director Michael Renner told the Environment News Service (ENS) that one of the most positive developments is the growth in sales of compact fluorescent lamps—an estimated 1.8 billion are now in use worldwide. Other encouraging trends include the rapid expansion of renewable energy generation, the reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals, and the expansion of managed and certified forests. On the negative side, tropical forests continue to decline and many freshwater species face extinction.

Vital Signs 2002 encourages consumers to pressure the electronics industry and regulatory bodies to be more environmentally responsible. Tens of millions of cell phones and some 315 million computers may end up in landfills by 2004, the report states. “Cell phone and computer users should be demanding that manufacturers take their products back and design them to be recycled instead of dumped,” Renner says.