How to Be More Green As a Teenager

We're told to buy hybrid cars, change our electricity supplier, and insulate the roof. But what if you're not in control of such things - a teenager? Worse - your parents have more important things to worry about than silly old global warming. However, there are still some things you can do. You might think as a teen, you can't do much to help, but you're completely wrong...


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    Look at every item you use. Purchase or consume as having a "cost" to the environment. That item was made with resources, had some cost to the environment in production, was shipped to you, marketed and after you use it it will have to be disposed of.
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    Try buying things that could be recycled. For example, buy recyclable pens that could be filled with ink rather than pens that get thrown away after being used. If you have papers, bottles or whatever, don't throw them away. Instead, send them to the recycling company in your district.
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    Reduce the amount you use and try to reuse existing items instead of buying new ones. One great idea is to buy clothes second-hand (lots of clothes are thrown/given away that are barely a year old and have hardly been worn) and to customize old clothes instead of buying new ones.
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    Try to make your purchase decisions from companies that support sustainable production, fair trade, or organics. If you don't know all about how something is made, look it up!
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    Turn off all the upstairs lights (and downstairs if your parents are already upstairs) before you go to bed each night. If you leave phone or i-pod chargers plugged into the main power source then it uses electricity even if it's not connected in your phone/i-pod.
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    Talk about pollution and global warming to your parents if you are truly interested in it. Don't push them to be more green and annoy them; they wouldn't mind a few suggestions every now and again. Some grownups are interested in living large. They might drive a huge S.U.V, live in a mansion, or simply waste things. Try to explain to your younger siblings what is happening in the world to them, as simply as possible. Allow them to make up their own mind but you might find they will be more open to it than your parents.
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    Don't leave the T.V. on in the background. Even if you're watching it but you're not very interested in the program - consider if there is something that you'll find more enjoyable and also doesn't use so much energy. Playing outdoors for example. Remind yourself of childhood hobbies, Lego and board games can still be enjoyable in your teens.
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    Haven't got any ideas for your birthday presents? Suggest a green theme. Energy efficient light bulbs for your lamps, recycled notebooks/stationary, sponsor a green charity in your name, solar powered chargers. There are lots of things you can buy that will be useful and enjoyable. Plus there will be an added warm feeling on your birthday.
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    Use dark colored themes for your computer. You may have heard on the news about a website which is Google - but in black, (Blackle)The theory being on some older computers (monitors that aren't flat screen) it takes less energy to show black than white. If you have one of these monitors change your background to black. For all computers lowering settings such as brightness and contrast will reduce the energy you use.
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    If you are on the computer just to talk to your friends - you don't need your printer/scanner/speakers switched on too. Try to turn on only what you need.
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    Remember that appliances on standby are still using energy. When you turn something off - really turn it off!
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    Save paper in school. Think twice before you throw away that old sheet of scratch or note paper. See if you can still use it for something.
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    Take a shower instead of a bath. When taking a shower, try to keep it below 10 minutes. Don't turn the heat all the way up, either. Make it a kind of game, trying to beat your old 'score' every time you take a shower.


  • Remember you can't change the world by yourself, but everything you do helps. Don't get frustrated when people are not as enthusiastic, you are only one person and can only do so much.
  • Ask your science teachers about what you can do. Learn as much as you can about the environment as it will make you feel stronger about the cause.
  • Reuse make-up wipes up to 3 times, don't chuck them away after the first use (unless it's caked in the stuff)
  • Bring cloth bags to stores and use them instead of plastic or paper.
  • Buy secondhand books instead of new ones - there are plenty of secondhand book shops around nowadays. This is a great way to save paper.
  • Read or watch the news. They may make announcements about ongoing name collections or upcoming demonstrations.
  • Join and be active in an organization that promotes being green and helps with ways to conserve the environment.
  • You could collect names on your own, and then send them to a politician, but it is easier to contact an organization for better climate.


  • It's also better to lead by example than lecture others! They may be more inclined to ask and join you when they see how much you are actually doing, rather than talking about!
  • Be careful switching on and off electrical appliances at the mains.
  • People might become annoyed with constant lectures. Realise that not everyone feels the same way. It's good to persuade people but be sure not to nag when you see it's a lost cause.

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Categories: Eco Youth Styles | Environmental Awareness