You don't necessarily have to buy an expensive hybrid or install a pricey wind farm in your backyard to make your life a little bit greener. It's not rocket science: you can be kind to nature and to your wallet, too.
For instance, more than half of the average American's monthly energy bill comes just from heating and cooling, giving the almighty thermostat control over the single largest household energy expense. So simply using a properly programmed thermostat, like the self-programming Nest Learning Thermostat, can save 20% on heating and cooling bills. Nest basically pays for itself and you're helping the planet by reducing the amount of energy that needs to be created in the first place — thus lowering fossil fuel emissions, which is a total win-win.
Other lower-tech ways of preserving the planet (while saving a buck) include walking or taking public transit to work instead of driving, switching over to paperless bills, and using a mug instead of disposable coffee cups. (Believe it or not, one person using one paper cup a day creates 23 pounds of waste in a year). Opportunities to make a difference are everywhere we look. Just following the easy steps in the infographic below can make a huge difference.
As Rachel Carson wrote in her 1962 book, Silent Spring: "in nature nothing exists alone." Here are a few more very simple ways we humans can coexist with Earth and keep it beautiful for future generations.
Andréa Ford is a freelance journalist covering technology and other topics. She has a specialty in infographics and previously wrote for TIME Magazine.