Positive Effects on the Environment From Going Green

The green living movement encourages people to live in a more environmentally friendly way, and there are a number of different ways to "go green." While most people are aware that going green is good for the Earth, they may not fully understand the extent of its impact. Going green has several positive side effects for the environment that contribute to cleaner water and air, preserve natural resources and reduce the impact of global warming.

A woman is holding a recycling bin. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Reduced Pollution

Going green helps the environment by reducing the amount of pollution that enters the soil, water and air. By using alternative energy sources and avoiding the burning of fossil fuels, recycling and reducing waste and driving more efficiently, fewer pollutants are released into the environment. For example, a study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that air quality in the United States is steadily improving but as of 2008, approximately 127 million Americans still live in areas with potentially hazardous levels of air pollution.

Fewer Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide are thought to be a significant contributing factor to global warming. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that cars produce approximately 1.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. By reducing the amount of time you drive, maintaining your vehicle or driving a green car such as a hybrid, you can help to lower your contribution to the global warming problem.

Resource Conservation

The bulk of the world's electric power is generated by the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and natural gas. Burning these types of fuels releases greenhouse gases into the air, and their limited supply makes them unsustainable in the long-term. Reducing energy consumption, using alternative energy sources and recycling reduces the strain on these resources and cuts down on emissions. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that recycling just one plastic bottle conserves enough energy to light a 60-watt light bulb for up to six hours.

Less Waste

Going green encourages people to reduce their consumption, recycle as often as possible and reuse items in an effort to reduce waste. Reducing waste helps the environment by decreasing the amount of material that ends up in landfills, where they can biodegrade and release carbon dioxide which contributes to the greenhouse gas effect. The Environmental Protection Agency also encourages recycling in lieu of incinerating waste, which can release smoke or other potentially harmful pollutants into the air.

Wildlife Preservation

Going green also helps to preserve the habitats of certain species of wild animals. According to Planet Green, approximately 137 plant, animal and insect species become extinct every day due to rainforest deforestation. By reducing your consumption of paper products, buying recycled and recycling whenever possible, you can help to slow the rate of extinction for species that live in wooded areas. Going green also reduces the threat to marine wildlife that dies each year as a result of encountering pollutants or trash in the water supply.

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