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7 actions to protect the planet this Earth Day

Barack Obama wearing black pants and hiking boots walks uphill along a gray, rocky path outlined by ropes. Others walk ahead and behind him. The sky is a deep blue.

April is Earth Month! At the Obama Foundation, we are guided by the belief that ordinary people working together can create positive change. That’s why we know that if we all do our part, we can make a real difference to protect and preserve our planet.

From recycling to installing solar panels, here are some ways you can reduce your environmental impact and live more sustainably. Start small—every step counts.

Drive Less Biking or walking can reduce the average person’s carbon emissions from transportation by 67%. A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

  • Carpool if your community isn’t public-transit friendly

  • Take public transit!

  • Use ride-sharing services

Start Thrifting Thrifting is a fun and sustainable way to shop. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and contributes to 10% of humankind’s carbon emissions.

  • Shop at local thrift shops

  • Resell your clothes online

  • Create DIY clothing

Reduce Paper Use The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years. Limiting paper use conserves energy and helps preserve adult trees.

  • Switch to paperless billing!

  • Use reusable and washable cloth napkins

Install Solar Panels You can cut up to four tons of carbon emissions annually just by installing a solar panel system in your home. Solar energy is a renewable energy source and reduces carbon emissions. As part of the Inflation Reduction Act’s expansion, the Solar Investment Tax Credit allows residential homeowners who install solar PV systems between January 1, 2022 through the end of 2032 will receive a tax credit of 30% of the cost from their federal income taxes. Find out if you’re eligible  here (Opens in a new tab).

Upgrade Old Appliances When you swap out old appliances for more energy-efficient new ones you’ll save money on your utility bills and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A new tax incentives make them more affordable. Check out the  ENERGY STAR (Opens in a new tab) program to learn more.

Compost Start composting to reduce food waste. Composting improves soil health, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and recycles nutrients back into the Earth.

Vote Exercise your right to vote. Elected officials have a major impact on how communities across the country help fuel climate solutions — so make sure your voice is heard and counted at the ballot box.