What Can a Bunch of Seniors Do to Save the Planet?


Just in: Two thirds of Americans believe we’ll have to make major lifestyle changes to save the planet.

I save the planet every day by refusing plastic bags in stores, and I never drive if I can walk. I have a good friend who refuses to use bottled water. And another who recently replaced all the light bulbs in her house with florescents. But there’s so much more we all could do!

So I logged onto Facebook and asked my fellow seniors: What small thing or things do you do every day to save the earth? They shared some great ideas:

Not only do I refuse to use plastic bags, but I guilt trip shopkeepers who offer me plastic bags. It’s not making me popular!

I recycle everything I can.

We compost.

I’m vegan. It’s by far the best thing any human being can do for the planet.

I take super-quick showers. I once read that Jennifer Aniston does this too. (Go Team Jennifer!)

My hubby and I shower together. (To save water! Honest.)

No paper towels! Ever.

I pay my bills, get my bank statements and pay my taxes online.

I’ve got the brownest lawn on the block because I just can’t justify watering grass every day.

I replaced the grass on my front lawn with rocks!

I turn off the light when leaving rooms and turn the thermostat off when I leave the house.

When it’s cold outside I keep the thermostat at 60 and dress in layers.

I pride myself on using up everything in the fridge. I detest throwing out food. I learned this from my mother, who lived through the Great Depression.

We drive an electric hybrid car.

I use a drying rack or clothes line instead of a dryer.

We never buy packaged food.

I refuse to buy anything that is overly packaged.

I buy things made from recycled materials if I can.

I shut off the water while I’m brushing my teeth.

When it comes to flushing?  “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

I buy all my clothing (except underwear) from thrift shops. Not only is it good for the earth, but it supports the charities that run the stores

Inspired, I’ve decided to challenge myself to add as many of these strategies as I can to my own routine.

Here’s a challenge for you. Adopt at least one of these habits yourself. Then, if you’re doing something that isn’t on this list, share it with us in the comments section (scroll way down). Finally? Share this post on Facebook or Twitter. Or email it to a friend.

Can Senior Planet save the planet? Let’s find out! 

Roz Warren is the author of “Our Bodies, Our Shelves: a Collection of Library Humor.”  


28 responses to “What Can a Bunch of Seniors Do to Save the Planet?

  1. I have made my side yard and backyard into raised beds and grow most of my own vegetables in season. Living in the PNW, I can use row covers to extend the harvest through the winter. I buy mostly organic and shop the perimeter of the grocery store, avoiding the heavily plastic-packaged and processed items.

  2. While individual actions are laudable and somewhat helpful, it’s important that seniors (1) educate themselves on the larger issues re climate change (e.g. the effects on the world’s poor, the low-lying areas of the world, the ocean, the animal species, etc.) and (2) be a visible presence among groups that are pushing governments to take major action on climate change (e.g. Young people – who, unlike us, will have to live with this uncomfortable future we are bequeathing to them and their children and grandchildren – feel heartened when they see gray- and white-haired people showing up at their rallies, especially if those seniors have a grasp of the magnitude of the problem. Btw, while it’s important to read the books that paint the total doom-and-gloom scenarios (which, unfortunately, are not entirely unrealistic), we should also be reading books that suggest possible solutions. There IS hope. We just have to get our governments in gear NOW. (And not complain when they do things that make us less than happy – the future is likely to be more constricted than the spendthrift world we grew up in.)

  3. I am impressed. I feel like I should do the same in Japan. I am 60 years old and thinking about the coming 10 years from now. I am self-employed and want to continue my profession on Internet Biz. I have several old note pc which are siting on my desk not used. I was thinking of throwing them away but I am thinking twice.

    There may be people who want to use them but not enough money to buy PC. I have so many unused old staff which can be used for needies.

    Goyat from Yokohama, Japan

  4. I shower and wash my hair once a week in winter time. Let my hair air dry. Cook on week end for the rest of the week. Make one pot meals-store in individual containers for a quick warm up in microwave. Love my crock pot and do not have to watch for burning food. I grow a very small garden for vegs. Wash in cold water. Dry cloths on a wooden rack near the house.(The rack was always turning over w/ my clean clothes-so I used 4 soup cans w/ some concrete in each can to set the legs of the wooden dryer rack in an no more accidential turn overs. lol
    I buy used vases at the thrift stores for $,25/ea, grow multiply flowers and give as presents. I love to do this an others seem to love to get them
    I give a small home made present to my mailman and when I get a package too large to put in my mail box-he brings it to my door. Which saves me a trip to the mail office to pick up the package.
    I save seeds and share w/ my friends. I like to get seeds that have been saved from friends.
    Make my own laundry detergent
    Put a sock top around your cooking oil bottle and it will catch the drips after using.

    1. Use only cold water to wash clothes in. Freeze left over food- a week later it will taste new. I use Weigle’s gas card to save $.10/gallon on gas. I use their milk card to get a free gallon of milk after u buy so many. I applied for Walmart charge card to get $35 back. Home Depo to get $25 back, Amazon to get $20 back when spending $50 and I also got free shipping on this trip w/ having Prime. I will not use their charge cards again but will shop at their stores. I use a Bank of Am charge card to get their cash back-I use it for paying all my utilities and monthly bills-do not have to remember to pay because BOA remembers for me. Saves me time,envelopes,stamps, trip to the mail box. The rewards that I get from BOA is placed back on my payment to them.I use You Tube and Crackle for viewing free movies. (When Netflix goes up in price I will be unsubscribing) No cable here. I am hooked on my laptop and ROKU using an antenna. I donate items to Central Service to get a tax write off, buy recycled items like vases, sheets- you can do so many things w/ sheets-I made for me and my whole family cloth napkins, pillow cases, cushion covers,to throw over couches and recliners to protect from our lovable doxans, for thin bed covers in the summer,curtains, shower curtain w/ plastic liners, car seat covers.. GO WILD W/ IDEAS. Save the water that you boil eggs in to cool and water your plants.
      I have been retired for 23 years and continue to have a great life from my savings due to being frugal and researching on how to be more frugal. I love Clark Howard,Dollar Stretcher has many sites, Penny Hoarder, You Tube has many sites also on how other people cut their cost of living. Thanks everyone for sharing.

  5. Like many others I do what I can. However at 86 and 79, respectively, my husband and I refuse to freeze at 60 degrees during Pacific NW winters (I tend to get cold despite 3-4 layers of clothing). He showers but I take baths; small tub, 3/4 full=less hot water. I remember my reusable grocery bags most of the time; any plastic bags are returned for recycling. We don’t eat red meat very often and drive locally only. Our lights are LED and CFB, and I do most of my clothes shopping at thrift stores–saves a ton of money as well as helping to reduce waste. Our small yard has mostly rocks with a few grasses and other container plants in the summer.

    As I stated above, on balance I do what I can–but that doesn’t include giving up straws, heat in the winter, prepackaged lettuce or a few bites of chicken in my salad.

  6. I’ve done all of these—-just not consistently and if I shower with my husband (Mr. Excitement) it’s not to save water. I’m pretty good at turning off lights when I leave a room because I pay the electricity bill. Does that count as doing well by doing good? Maybe enlightened self interest doesn’t count.

  7. For sure no plastic bottles.Run the water in the sink at a low volume when washing dishes or hands – it really cuts down on water. Wash out and reuse plastic bags. Take reusable shopping bags to the store – Wholefoods pays you 5$ a bag to bring your own. Recycle and compost everything possible. Don’t buy a new car unless necessary – huge carbon impact. Never take planes if possible. Try and eat local food. Don’t buy stuff out of season that of necessity is flown in from South America. Since pesticides are destroying the planet and lives around the world, invest the extra money to eat organic. Take turns breathing . . . .

  8. Interestingly enough nobody suggested we should just die. Think of all the resources it would save and we could be composted if desired…?

    (OK, it’s a joke, but think of Shmoos. If you’re on this site you probably remember them.)

  9. I will put the link on my website. Treat idea! I already do many of the things on the list such as drive a hybrid; eat no meat; recycle everything I can, including clothes, books, fabric, shoes, household appliances, batteries, etc. I use both sides of my paper in the printer, make my own granola, cook mostly from scratch, and look for new ways to be a conservationist. Thanx for this! ellensue

  10. What an awesome topic, and I am glad to know that people are finally paying attention! I love what people are doing to help! We have to stop using plastic, and start refusing straws….our ocean creatures die because they look like jellies. Oh, and download the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch app so you’ll know what fish are okay to eat, and which ones are overfished or full of mercury! Rock on, everybody!

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