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Patch Picks: Make the World a Better Place

Five local ways to help the planet on or after Earth Day.

During the last few weeks, Brookline Patch has given you a number of ways to help the planet and by decreasing your impact. These articles have been leading up to Earth Day, which takes place all day tomorrow. Today's Patch Picks is also about Earth Day, and will include a number of those tips and tricks. 

Get Involved
Why: The planet sometimes needs a hand beyond the lifestyle changes you can make. Join a clean-up effort, like Friends of Leverett Pond Clean-Up Day and spend the day picking up litter and grooming your local parks. If you can't make it to an event like that, just keep an eye out for litter: pick it up and throw it away, or .

Use Your Feet
Why
: Cars are one of the most direct sources of carbon emissions. Using your car less helps reduce that. Dig your bike out of storage, or buy one from Superb Bicycle or Ferris Wheels. If your destination is less than a half-mile away walk or bike there. It will take you about 15 to 20 minutes to walk instead of drive, and parking is a lot easier. 

Clean Green
Why?
: Most cleaners in your home are made of chemicals, and not all of these chemicals are good for your family or pets. Replace your cleaners with an all-natural line, such as Method. You can buy these at  or Whole Foods. Alternately, create your own from natural cleaning agents such as baking soda or vinegar, using recipes like those on Care2.

Eat Lower on the Food Chain 
Why
: Cows especially, but all meat requires a lot of grain to feed and generate a lot of methane and other gasses. Grain is harvested by carbon-producing methods, and then the meat is transported across great distances to your supermarket. Buy less red meat, purchase more vegetables locally. Locally-grown food not only supports  but also doesn't have to travel as far. 

Phantom Power
Why?: Even when it's fully powered off, a DVR, TV or even computer will still draw power. An unplugged cell phone charger, plugged into to the wall, still draws a few dollars' worth of electricity each month. This is called "phantom" or "standby power" and accounts for another large chunk of your electric bill. Purchase timers and power strips with switches from  or . Switch the strips or set the timers so they are off when you aren't home or are asleep. 

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