Wiser Living
Finding a natural solution

Earth Day 2018: Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Many of us strive to reduce our carbon footprint year-round by moderating our water usage, energy usage, recycling, and more. However, with Earth Day just around the corner, you might be inclined to boost your current routine or perform a completely new Earth-friendly act in tribute of the day. Or you may be completely new to the idea of green living. Whatever the case may be, Earth Day is a wonderful time to start thinking about what you can do to make a difference today, throughout 2018, and beyond.

Photos by  Pexels

What You Should Know About Your Carbon Footprint

Understanding and calculating your carbon footprint is actually quite a complicated process. Everything that you do, use, and consume has an impact on your personal carbon footprint. Think about every time you drive, how you heat your house, and what you have for dinner and how you cook it — all of these actions make an impact on the Earth in some way.

The term “carbon footprint” has to do with what are called greenhouse gases and their expulsion into the atmosphere. These gases include methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and more. When we participate in acts like driving, eating meat, and burning fuels to heat our homes, we’re adding more of these gases into the atmosphere. As a result, these compounds have a strong effect on the heating and cooling of our planet that takes place in the atmosphere. Although in many cases it’s impossible to completely stop these activities, it is feasible to cut back on excess energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

What You Can Do This Earth Day

Check Out Your Diet

First and foremost, meat is one of the biggest ways you can drastically cut down your carbon footprint. The production of meat products uses massive amounts of water and feed, and the animal itself produces methane that affects the environment. Fertilizers that contain nitrogen are used to grow feed for the animals, and this releases a huge amount of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. The water necessary to maintain cattle is incredible: It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat. Only 25 gallons of water is required to grow a pound of many fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Support Sustainable Companies

Simply taking a look at how you spend your money can also make a large impact on the environment. I highly suggest that you research companies that you support to find out what kind of efforts they are making towards a greener planet. Wasteful companies that don’t actively recycle, use safe ingredients for the Earth, or simply employ production tactics that expel more greenhouse gases than they are able to counteract are businesses that you should think twice about supporting.

In addition, many companies like to give the appearance of a natural or green product when in actuality, their product has a negative impact on the Earth — this is called greenwashing. Doing your research on a company — about the way they give back to the planet and their transparency around processes — can truly help you make informed decisions about sustainable businesses.

Think About How You Travel

Most of us rely on cars and planes to get wherever we need to go. It is simply a necessary mode of transportation that many of us don’t have any alternative to, which is completely understandable. However, there are instances for all of us where we could travel in a different way, but we don’t simply out of convenience. This Earth Day, if you can use your scooter, bicycle, or even just walk to get where you need to, I implore you do to so. If each of us chooses to travel differently, even for just one day a year (hopefully you can try for more), we can cut back immensely on our carbon footprints.

The most effective way to incite change in yourself and others is to get involved in discussions about the planet. Openly talking about things like global warming invites others to come up with new ideas about how we can collectively lower our carbon footprint. If you’d like to do what you can to make a difference to the planet this Earth Day, get involved in your community and see what other people around you are doing to start a trend of change.

4 Ways to Be More Mindful When Using Your Smartphone

Raise your hand if any of the following examples sound familiar. When the alarm goes off in the morning, you pick up your smartphone to see if any texts have come in overnight. Or, when you’re standing in line at the grocery store, you try to catch up with a few emails. Even when Mother Nature is at her best with an amazing rainbow or sunset, your first thought is to capture the moment on Instagram.

If your hand is in the air (and your smartphone in the other), it might be time to examine your relationship with your phone. If you are ready to use it more intentionally and deliberately rather than out of force of habit, the following tips can help you to do just that.

friends sharing smartphone at restaurant
Photo by Shutterstock

Keep It Out of Sight

A great way to reduce your digital distraction is to keep your smartphone in another room or hidden place for a good portion of the day. When you’re trying to finish a project for work, put your phone in your backpack or purse, and when you’re painting the guest bedroom, keep your smartphone out in the kitchen where you won’t be tempted to check your texts.

Ironically, you can use your smartphone to help you reduce your smartphone use — start by downloading the Forest app from the iTunes store. The app allows you to 'plant a seed' that will gradually flourish and grow into a tree if you leave your phone alone.

Create Rules for Yourself

If you have kids, you probably have rules that dictate how much screen time they can have. Now it’s time to do the same for yourself. Come up with a list of times and places when using your phone is absolutely forbidden and stick with it. For example, when you’re at dinner with friends or family, out walking or hiking, cozied up on the couch watching a movie, or when you wake up in the middle of the night. As a bonus, you will be such a great role model, your kids will certainly notice that you’re following your own smartphone rules and they may be inspired to do the same.

Invest in a Phone That Features Great Connectivity

For those moments when you want to quickly connect with a friend or share a live stream event with your family, your smartphone should cooperate and allow you to do so easily and unobtrusively. In order to use your smartphone time as effortlessly as possible, consider upgrading to one of the newest models. For example, the iPhone 8 features LTE Advanced and Wi-Fi calling, as well as a 12MP camera and 7MP FaceTime HD Camera. Thanks to its fast and reliable connectivity, the days of wasting time searching for a signal will be over. You can whip out your smartphone while relaxing on the beach, send out a 60-second live stream to your folks showing them the awesome waves and blue sky, and then put the phone away and get back to living in the moment.

Create Smartphone-Free Zones at Home

Another way to cut down on your constant smartphone use is to ban it from certain rooms in your home. The bedroom is an ideal place to go cold turkey with your phone. Ideally, your room should be a sanctuary where you rest and relax, not obsessively check emails or text your BFF when you should be sleeping. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, spring for a good old-fashioned AM/FM clock instead and keep your smartphone on the charger in the family room overnight. If you’re used to waking up with music playing on your smartphone, you can set the alarm to your favorite local station and wake up with the help of some lively tunes.

Smartphones are definitely handy little devices. They just don’t need to be in our hands all of the time. By keeping it out of sight and unused at certain times of the day, and making sure that your phone has a great signal for when you do need to use it, you can cut back on your constant cell phone use and get back to living life in the moment.

Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 18 years. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Alison thoroughly enjoys writing about a wide variety of people and topics. When she is not writing, Alison can be found hanging out with her family—which includes three wonderful rescue dogs—and sipping a caffeinated beverage from Starbucks.

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day With These Eco-Friendly Challenges

April is upon us and soon,Earth Day and Arbor Day will follow. We must look beyond these two days to show our appreciation of the Earth: Every day should be Earth Day! One of the many ways we can help protect the environment is to take control of our consumption. It is actually our rampant consumption that is harming the Earth. From the endless amounts of stuff we buy and throw away to our reliance on single-use convenience plastic to the constant need to upgrade to the latest device, it is time to take a step back and reflect on how our personal actions the other days of the year is helping or endangering the Earth.

With that, I want to highlight a few projects that will help change the way you think about consumption. I always encourage my readers over at The Do Something Project to take on projects for themselves as a way to learn and take on habits. Last month, we covered ways to practice a more minimalist approach to the closet. This month is all about being kinder to the planet.


By now you’ve probably seen the many news reports and startling statistics about plastic pollution. Sadly, our reliance on plastic is destroying our bodies, animal and marine life, and destroying the earth. This year, the Earth Day Network is running a campaign for a World Without Plastic Pollution. It’s using Earth Day 2018 to elevate the issue of plastic pollution to a global audience.

I encourage you to pledge and commit to reducing the use of plastic in your life. No, it’s not easy, but small changes multiplied by millions of people will make an impact. Take the #PlasticFreeChallenge and challenge yourself to skip the plastic and find a more eco-friendly alternative. This can be as simple as bringing your own reusable water bottle everywhere you go, asking for “no straw” in your drinks and bringing your reusable bags when grocery shopping. Doing a challenge like this is an eye opening experience. While we may not be able to do away with plastic completely, it’s important to take on new habits so that the next Earth Day is one that has less plastic pollution. Head to My Plastic Free Life for ways to reduce plastic and of course check #plasticfreechallenge across your social media platforms to find ideas on plastic alternatives and for a community of helpful individuals.

Switch to a reusable, plastic free water bottle.


The next challenge is all about reducing waste. The idea is to reduce the amount of waste you produce by following the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot as championed by Zero Waste Home. The goal is to send as few items to the landfill as possible. Due to rampant production and consumption we send a lot of items to the landfill when they still have a lot of life to them. The goal of the #ZeroWasteChallenge is to reduce the amount of waste you generate given where you are in the world and what resources are available to you.

The first R is to Refuse. Commit to refusing things you do not need. These can be free stuff such as giveaways, tsotchkes, pens, unwanted mail, extra plastic bags, etc.
The second R to Reduce is to figure out areas in your life that you can simplify. When you simplify and declutter, you’ll know exactly what you have and be less likely to purchase duplicate items. Keep a shopping list and reduce the amount of times you go shopping.
The third R is Reuse as much of what you have instead. Swap disposables for reusables like switching from paper towels to cloth towels, plastic bag to a reusable tote, plastic utensils to actual silverware. Take a look at what you have already. An old jar can be used as a to-go cup, a container for bulk goods, or a food storage container.
The fourth R is Recycle. Get to know your town’s recycling policies. Recycle what you throw out. Try to reduce plastic use as plastic rarely gets recycled.
The last R is for Rot. Create or find a compost system that works for your home. By composting natural items like fruit, vegetables, egg peels, and more you keep these items out of the landfill and back to the soil where they will enrich the environment.

Challenge yourself by completing a waste audit. Take a peek into the kind of trash that you produce and find ways to reduce it. The alternatives are there, but we must look for them. Find more ideas on how to reduce waste using #ZeroWaste across all social media platforms.

Opt for un-packaged vegetables, skip the plastic bag and reuse a cloth bag for smaller items.


Consider this, each time you buy something new, a resource has to be extracted from the Earth to make it. It goes through a production process that may not be environmentally friendly. For many of us in the Western world, we don’t see the harmful effects of all of this production and disposal because all we see are beautifully packaged products in beautifully designed shelves. For this particular project, consider buying nothing new. What does this mean? It means being creative. It means refusing the impulse buys and reusing something to its end. It’s easy for us to get caught up in the next model, to upgrade, but what if we just reuse and recycle existing products first. By following a Buy Nothing New Challenge, you’ll be questioning need versus want, you’ll be searching for clever alternatives and you’ll start recognizing how strong the pull of advertising and marketing is. How does one do a successful Buy Nothing New Challenge?

• Avoid stores where you are more likely to purchase something. This may mean skipping the mall or department stores.
• Unsubscribe from marketing emails and opt-out of magazines and catalogs.
• Make a list of what you need.
• Take a look in your home first to see if you may already own something similar.
• Ask family and friends to borrow certain items.
• Check Craigslist, Facebook, eBay, NextDoor, and your local thrift stores to find secondhand alternatives

By buying nothing new, you extend the life of old objects and you save them from the landfill. It also saves money and reduces home clutter.

I encourage you to try these challenges for a week or a month. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish and how much of an impact you are making. We all benefit from a healthy environment so it’s important that we try to do our part today and every day. It doesn't have to be perfect, we just have to Start and Do Something!

Meal Planning To Shrink Our Ecological Footprint

vegetarian meal

Photo by Adobe Stock/okkijan2010

It’s been a little longer than I anticipated, but I’m back for another blog post for the month of March! And with this post, it’s time to unpack the experiments with my weekly meat consumption. In my last blog post, I not only laid out the goals I had for reducing my ecological footprint, but I also listed four concrete steps on how I’d start to do that. For the last couple months, I’ve worked on the first goal: reducing how much meat I eat. Now it’s time to share how it all went….

Meal Planning

Why was it important to me to lessen my meat consumption? According to the Global Footprint Network (the main source I’ve been using after taking the Ecological Footprint Test), nine percent of our anthropogenic carbon emissions (emissions due to human activity) is due to global livestock processing. Animal agriculture takes a large toll on resources (water, land, food), and depending on where you live, it can take a lot of transportation (and carbon emissions) to ship meat across the country. Even trying one new vegetarian recipe per week, or per month could help put us on the path to a more sustainable planet.

To reduce my meat consumption, my plan was to first track how much meat I ate on an average weekly basis, before going out of my way to decrease it, just to give myself a feel as to where I was starting. Once I recorded that, I planned to slowly reduce the amount of meat each week based on that number. My goal was to eat four meals (or less) with meat in them each week. The process of meeting that goal was slow-going, but it really made me think more about how I planned my meals. And ultimately, that planning reaped some positive rewards.


Photo by Adobe Stock/Brent Hofacker

Experimenting in the Kitchen

In my first week, I noticed that meat was sprinkled throughout my diet a lot more than I had anticipated; usually, I ate meat in a meal at least once a day. It was in the small meals I didn’t think about: soups, stir-frys, salad toppings…. Even though it wasn’t the main ingredient, it still found its way into my meals. And mainly that was because I was relying on it as my source of protein, obviously. I knew that the chicken on my salad couldn’t be removed without finding a suitable substitute that offered protein to keep me energized across the day.

Nowadays there is an over-abundance in meat substitution recipes on blogs and social media sites. I didn’t have to look far. One of the foods I ventured into to substitute chicken in some of my meals was tofu. It’s usually the first food people think of, but it was always a food that… honestly grossed me out a bit. But since college, I’ve begun to be more curious about it, as one of my best friends and roommate of four years was a vegetarian. I saw her cooking tofu in ways I hadn’t thought about and incorporating vegetables and protein sources in replace of meat. So when I went to the grocery store to pick up some tofu, this time I didn’t feel as intimidated.

I had read about how people can make tofu in ways that appealed to pickier eaters. For me, my problem was the texture. I didn’t want to bite down on a soggy, wet piece of tofu in my salad or soup. What was great was that there was a selection of different firmnesses in the store that I could choose from; as a beginner, I bought the “extra-firm” kind, so it wouldn’t easily fall apart on me.

After experimenting several times with tofu, I found that my favorite way to incorporate it into my dishes was by chopping it into sugar cube-sized blocks; tossing it in sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds; and cooking the batch in the oven. They came out warm and crispy with a great flavor, and I threw them into stir-frys, homemade miso soup, and Buddha bowls. I found I didn’t miss the sautéed chicken when the tofu was seasoned and cooked like this.

Another protein source I utilized more were seeds and nuts — particularly chia seeds and almonds. As I planned my meals, I naturally started drifting into better portion control, measuring out my servings instead of heaping things into bowls willy-nilly. It was necessary when I used nuts as a protein source, since that also comes with higher fat content. I utilized chia seeds in smoothies, oatmeal, parfaits, and even soups. My favorite was a butternut squash soup I made, which I thickened with chia seeds. Suffice to say, that kept me full for hours.

olive oil over salad

Photo by Getty Images/InaTs

 Results and Reflection

There were several challenges throughout these weeks, however. I found that some days, and some weeks, were easier to plan and track and stay true to than others. Some weeks were filled with long work days, busy nights, and hustling weekends, and when I couldn’t find the time to meal prep, my easy way out was to grab some protein through meat. I bought chicken rice soup, defrosted and baked chicken or turkey, or ate out and got meat in my meal. It was easy and didn’t make me think much about the process. Other times, my vegetarian dishes flopped — badly. The first time I tried to make miso soup, my tofu started falling apart, my miso-to-water ratio was off, and I added way too much zucchini as an added ingredient, which made the soup taste less like miso and more like flavorless, soggy veggies. The natural solution, I decided, was to change my go-to protein substitute. One of the fun substitutes I found was homemade nuggets made from chickpeas, vegetables, and coated in bread crumbs and baked. If I had those instead of processed chicken nuggets, then even on my busier weeks, I could know that I’m eating homemade, vegetarian “fast food.”

Besides realizing that this change of eating would require more planning, I found that ultimately there were many more rewards than setbacks. I’m in a fortunate position where my job requires me to be researching and reading and learning about food, nutrition, and health, but I loved how the information I found was easily accessible to everyone. I just had to find the time to sit down, read, take some notes, and experiment. And when I found a dish that worked for me, it was a triumphant feeling. Throughout this whole process, I would’ve been much more lost without the internet to guide me. I was increasingly thankful to all the pioneer cooks, bakers, and experimenters who provided so many meatless, colorful, and nutritious recipes to try — which in turn encouraged me to experiment with what I was learning. Plus, my grocery bills dropped when I bought beans, produce, nuts, and tofu instead of pounds of meat every week — which for a recent college grad is definitely an incentive.

As the weeks continued, I found that I was spending less time worrying or analyzing my meals and instead just doing it; it was becoming a habit to decrease my meat. By the end, I was able to successfully decrease my meat intake to four meals a weeks, and sometimes I went a week without any meat at all, which was an exciting milestone for me. I think the biggest thing I realized with researching these recipes was that it’s not the end of the world if I have to give up some meat-filled meals. Food is such an intrinsic part of our lives and our cultures and our histories that sometimes it’s hard to say good-bye to something we’ve known all our lives. But I’m looking forward to experiencing and sharing new recipes and ways of living. And if I take it in baby steps, I think it won’t feel like I’m giving something up — rather, that I’m gaining something better.

So I still eat meat; I’m not sure if I will ever decide to become a full-time vegetarian or vegan (but kudos to those who do!) But I’m excited that this experiment put me on the right track. With this blog post, thus concludes my conscious tracking of meat. Hopefully, this will settle into more of a habit (fingers crossed!) as I move into the next goal for shrinking my ecological footprint: my garbage waste. Truthfully, this is the biggest goal to meet for myself. I will be detailing more about this in the next blog post. For now, I hope this post inspires you to try a new meatless dish this week. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with cooking new creations!

Want to start this series from the beginning? Learn more about my ecological footprint journey in Tracking Our Ecological Footprint.

Work Sustainability into Your Long-Term Financial Planning

Saving the planet is no easy task. While insurmountable piles of trash and plastic pollute our natural landscapes and wildlife, companies keep producing what seems like infinite contaminating products and packaging. In a consumer-driven economy, however, one way for citizens to voice their opinion is to put their money where their values are.  

Though it might seem like an impossible task, you can make a difference. When you compare your contribution to the billions of other people on this planet, it may not seem likely, but if you consider how much trash your household alone contributes, you will realize that cutting down on your non-biodegradable trash and environmentally harmful products will, in fact, increase your sustainability and make a positive impact on the planet. Here are some ways to incorporate these goals into your financial planning.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Plan Out Home Upgrades

We spend a lot of our time at home, so it makes sense that this is the best place to start with some changes. While making improvements to your house is not easy or cheap, making the right improvements can both raise the value of your home and benefit the planet.

Solar panels are an example of a long-term investment that is expensive upfront, but they are generally worth it in the long run, both economically and environmentally. On average, solar panels cost $20,000 upfront, however, many states offer incentives that generally cut the cost in half and you get monetary benefits, like tax cuts, making up for just about all of the expenses. Plus, if you count the money you will save on energy bills, they will likely save you as much or more money than you paid for them.

Another home improvement is investing in a compost system, which will dramatically reduce the amount of trash you throw out. You can put biodegradable material such as fruits, vegetables, paper bags, as well as any product marked for compost or biodegradable. Investing in a compost can be a great first step for green living

Invest in Your Values

The next step for sustainability is to keep it in mind when purchasing items around your house. Except for food and other biodegradable necessities, try to only buy items that you can keep for a longer period of time. Obviously, this includes buying real kitchenware instead of plastic, but should also expand into every room, and even into home makeovers.

Think about the sustainability of all objects in your house, including furniture. When buying new furniture, try buying local or used. You can shop at furniture recycling stores, Craigslist, and even Facebook Market. This way, you give a second life to a piece of furniture that might otherwise have gotten thrown away, you don’t accumulate any unnecessary packaging or shipping. Plus, this can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and you can still end up with high-quality furniture.

If you’d prefer not to buy used furniture, shopping local is always another great option. Not only will this support your local economy, but the quality of the furniture will almost certainly be higher than mass-manufactured products. Shopping locally will still give you the benefits of using less packaging and reducing shipping costs.

Of course, not everything can be bought used nor is available locally. Mattresses, for example, should not be bought used in order to avoid bed bugs and other unsanitary threats. For these cases, you will need to do more research. If you are looking to buy an eco-friendly mattress, you should look for one made in the U.S., and you can look into organic mattresses that don’t have have the harmful chemicals

Make Eco-Friendly Purchases

Sometimes long-term planning is all about the smaller details. Much like investing in solar panels, sometimes you need to spend more money in the short term in order to buy less and save more in the future. To do this, find brands that use less packaging, don’t test on animals, and use natural products free of harmful components.

Beauty products in particular can contain harmful chemicals which you then put directly on your face. However, there are plenty of popular brands that don’t test on animals, as well as newer brands that use organic and chemical-free ingredients.

You can also get more creative when buying things that last longer instead of things you'll have to throw out. For example, instead of Ziploc bags, you can buy Bee’s Wrap. Bee’s wraps are an eco-friendly and sustainable seal for your food that can replace Ziploc bags in your kitchen. They are a cloth made with beeswax that you seal using the warmth of your hands. It is completely reusable, as you can wash it with soap and water after using it, and it can cover anything from fruits and vegetables to snacks and lunch meals.

By making similar purchases that keep sustainability in mind, you can gravitate towards a waste-free household and cut your ecological footprint. Whenever you can, forego wasteful packaging and be smart about your energy consumption. Little by little, these actions will add up and make an impact on the environment, and at the very least, you’ll know you’re doing your part to solve the problem, not contributing to it.


These Smartphone Apps Make Green Living Easier

Making our lives a little bit greener is quickly becoming more important than ever. If you’re used to driving a gas guzzler or not separating out your recycling, though, it can be a little tricky to get started. Thankfully, if you’re like most of the world, you’ve probably got a smartphone or other smart device in your pocket, purse, or on your desk near you, and there are plenty of apps to help make going green a little bit easier. Here are some of our favorite apps to help you go green.

woman on smartphone
Photo by Adobe Stock/imagecore

Paper Karma

Unsubscribing from junk emails is easy — just click the spam button, and 9 times out of 10, your email service handles the process for you. Junk mail that shows up in your physical mailbox, on the other hand, isn’t as easy to shed — until now.

Paper Karma does all the hard work for you — simply download the app to your smartphone and scan your junk mail as it comes in. The app does all the hard work for you, by notifying the offending company that you no longer wish to receive their junk mail. It works for unsolicited catalogs too — or even ones you requested but no longer want, but the company doesn’t seem to get the hint and keeps sending them.

Energy Consumption Analyzer

We all get an electric bill every month, and depending on where you live you might get a water bill and gas bill as well. Most people don’t glance at anything other than the balance due — but these bills can be a wealth of information to help you keep your energy consumption down. The Energy Consumption Analyzer app helps to make that a little easier.

If you have electric, gas or water meters that are easily accessible, simply add them to your app and periodically go write down the current meter readings. The app does the rest — calculating your household’s average rate of energy, water or gas consumption. If you input the current cost per unit, the app will even calculate how much your bill should be before fees and taxes.

While it does require a little bit of work on your part, this app can be a great tool if you’re concerned about how much energy you’re using. Then you can work on reducing it.

UFO Power Center

If you want to be more proactive in moderating your home’s energy consumption, consider the UFO power center. While this does require you purchase compatible power strips for your home, this app enables you to track exactly how much energy your devices use as well as shut off power strips remotely that are not in use. You can even schedule specific outlets or appliances to shut off at non-peak hours to prevent them from using up and wasting electricity when they’re not in use.

While the power center requires an investment, once the initial purchase is made, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars on your power bill every year. And, as an added bonus, if you forget to turn off the coffee maker before you leave for work, you can simply log into the app and turn off the outlet.


Unless your city or town makes recycling mandatory, it can be difficult to know what to recycle and where to recycle it in your area. Can you recycle those old pizza boxes or do they have to go in the trash? What about 2-liter soda bottles? While you can call your local recycling center to get the answers — assuming you have a local recycling center — it’s much easier to just pop open your iRecycle app.

This app helps you separate recyclables from non-recyclables and uses your phone’s location to help you find local recycling centers. It’s also got a ton of information about ways you can make recycling easier in your daily life — from choosing package-free items to techniques for separating garbage from recyclable materials.


Say you want to donate money to help support climate protection organizations. Do you know which ones are actually doing good work for the planet and which ones are just pocketing all their donations to pay their CEO? While you can find end-of-year income statements for any non-profit organization in the country — all of that information is public record by default — unless you’re an accountant, it can be hard to navigate all that information. 

#Climate does all the hard work for you, listing the climate organizations that are helping the planet and deserve your support and warning you away from those that aren’t doing any good. Just plug in the organization you’re curious about and #Climate will collect all that information for you.

Light Bulb Finder

What’s the difference between an incandescent light bulb, an LED and a CFL? If you know, good for you. If not, take a moment to download the Light Bulb Finder app to your smartphone. This app has all the information you could ever need about the different types of light bulbs, from how long they last in relation to one another to the carbon footprint of each bulb and even how much money you could potentially save by switching to one type of bulb over another.

If you can find the old version of the app right now, you’re good to go — otherwise, hang tight. The minds behind Light Bulb Finder are currently working on a newer and more efficient version of the app.

Smartphone apps are just one tool to help make going green a little bit easier. Take a look at the ones we’ve listed above, or let us know some of your favorite green apps in the comments below. If we missed a good one, we’d love to know about it.

Boise: A Green City

Boise is known as the City of Trees—nature and urban lifestyle meld seamlessly in this Northwestern town. Geothermal energy powers much of the city, businesses share buildings, commuting is often done by bike and local-trendy restaurants thrive. An artsy vibe emanates from this Idaho nook, making it a cool eco-conscious escape.


Bikes Everywhere!

Vehicle traffic is typically light, and Boise Green Bike rental stations are sprinkled all over the city. A unique road—the Boise River Greenbelt—stretches through the center of downtown; cars are not allowed on this path. Many essential business and points of interest are on the Greenbelt, so it’s easy to do without a vehicle. Even mail carriers travel by foot. 


Local Food

An overwhelming amount of fresh, local, organic and vegan food choices are situated throughout the area. Everyone seems to be connected; businesses feature each other’s products, which creates a unique system of local support.


Essential Eats

  • Paddles Up Poke - Asian inspired bowls of rice, seaweed, fresh veggies and sashimi. Vegetarian Options

  • Boise Fry Company - Local and organic potatoes are used to make heavenly french fry selections that pair with different spices sauces, like blueberry ketchup. The vegan burger is perfect, and the gluten free bun is soft and airy. Vegan Options

  • Wild Root Cafe - Seasonally shifting, vegan driven, modern veggie dishes are served in a vibrant atmosphere. Chicken can be added instead of tofu, or the delicious grilled tempeh.Vegan Options

  • The Stil - Boise ingredients are handcrafted into out-of-the-box ice cream treats like local wine and beer floats! They have great coconut milk based ice creams (go for the cookie dough...it’s gluten free, too).Vegan Options

  • Guru Donuts - Local ingredients comprise Guru Donut’s fluffy dough. Vegan donuts, like the Blood Orange Basil and raspberry filled Jelly Lama, are made with flax seed, coconut milk and demerara sugar.

Culture Preservation

Boise goes to great lengths to preserve structures and history; the Egyptian Theatre is a great depiction of this, and still hosts shows to this day. 


Basque Block is a deeply respected culture which migrated to Boise from the borders of Spain and France. The museum on the block details the significant role Basque culture played in history, while explaining unique practices and language. You can’t miss tasting Pintox—a basque version of Tapas—at the Basque Market.

While the Old Idaho State Penitentiary dives partially into a more grim historical perspective, it’s been a crucial piece of the state. The preservation of the structures, and documentation of past events, makes for an interesting walk through the old cell blocks and prison buildings.

Local Booze

Boise has no shortage of craft brews, ciders, wine and cocktails. Pure ingredients are a consistent key to each establishment.


Essential Booze

  • Longdrop Cider - Purposes scraps from a regional sliced apple facility to make their crisp ciders that are flavored with local tea. By using extra apple pieces, they’ve helped reduce 60% of the apple company’s waste.

  • Telaya Winery - Sets along the Boise Greenbelt, driving in bike and foot traffic. Wines here have a unique, smooth taste—Idaho grapes, as well as a delicate barrel aging and toasting processes contribute to the sensational flavor. Local food and snacks are often featured at Talaya, and employees help select a variation of charities to support on a regular basis.

  • The Stil - Keeps with the unity theme of Boise through incorporating local wine and beer into crazy awesome desserts; for example, Telaya wine floats with Lavender Berries ice cream!

Mindful Lodging

The Modern Hotel and Bar was once a Travelodge, and has been repurposed by a Basque descendant into a cool retreat with an artistic vibe and deep roots into the community. Their chef was prestigiously nominated for a James Beard Award—so it goes without saying the food is awesome. 


The Inn At 500 sets on the other side of the spectrum in the luxury niche, but also ties in elements of the Basque community through themed rooms and mural tributes. Eco-friendly features, like lights that shut off when guest leave with their key card, reduce the environmental impact. Richards, the on-site restaurant, offers a seasonally changing, local menu; the chef has been a Boise staple for years.

Deep Nature and Wildlife Ties

Boise’s intermingling with wildlife and rugged landscape makes it a one-of-a-kind place; rarely does bustling downtown allow for a pristine river to run through its center.


The Idaho Fish and Game’s MK Nature Center is a habitat for fish, birds and other animals. A stream walk winds behind the center, through trees and over water. At one point, the path dips down and windows set along the river bed. Visitors can clearly observe life below the water.

Camel's Back Park overlooks the city—a short, steep path, and stairs that look of ancient stone lead to the picturesque top. Alternate trails weave through the area as well.

Boise is encircled with protected national forests and beautiful mountains. One side of the range has a desert feel, while a short drive will take you to the rocky, tree covered portion. It’s a gorgeous place for those who enjoy the creature comforts of the city, and the serene purity of nature.


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