The Sustainable Consumer

This section includes books, websites, podcasts and videos providing consumers with information to better understand–and potentially make small steps to reduce–their carbon footprint. Four are highlighted to get you started. Additional resources follow, organized by resource type.


Climate Change Food Calculator: What’s Your Diet’s Carbon Footprint? | BBC News, Aug. 9, 2019From the BBC - an interactive tool to learn the carbon footprint of your foods.
Climate Change: How Consumers And Businesses Can Make A Difference | National Science and Media MuseumThe National Science and Media Museum in the UK brought together a panel of experts to address how consumer behavior can make a difference to climate change and how businesses can make it easier to live sustainably.
Good Together Podcast, hosted by Laura Alexander Wittig and Liza MoiseevaBrightly co-founders Laura and Liza host a podcast for those “curious about a zero waste lifestyle … (wanting) to know what the circular economy really means.” Each 30 minute episode features daily, actionable tips to help you live your life more sustainably.
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint | New York Times, Jan 31, 2019This guide details choices one can make in their day-to-day life to lessen their personal impact on the environment. Broken down into five sections: On the Road, In the Sky; On Your Plate; In Your Home; What You Buy; What You Do.


Big Green Purse, Diane MacEachern. 2008.A book full of ideas on how to use our wallet and spending power to make a positive impact on the environment. “The way you spend your money makes a difference.”
Clean & Green, Nancy Birtwhistle. 2021.Book offering everyday cleaning and laundry tips and interesting ideas like “zero-effort oven cleaner and guidance on (sustainably) removing tricky stains from clothing and furniture.” Helpful for anyone looking to reduce their use of plastic and throwaway products in general. Includes recipes for all-purpose cleaners and replacements for harmful chemicals that will keep both your home and the planet clean and green for future generations.
Gorgeously Green, Sophie Uliano. 2008.Focused on healthier lifestyle and fashion choices, this book offers ideas on looking and feeling great without damaging the planet.
Green Cleaning, Margaret Briggs. 2008.Many cleaning tips have been handed down over the years to get rid of nasty stains or odors. Green cleaning is just a different way of thinking about what you put on the surfaces in your home, what you breathe, and what you touch. Full of tips on how to clean just about anything without the use of toxic products.
Green Greener Greenest, Lori Bongiorno. 2008.A thorough, well-researched guide for making smart environmental choices. Ideas for those just starting out, as well as environmentally-conscious “veterans.”
How to Go (Almost) Zero Waste, Rebecca Grace Andrews MA MS. 2020.This book provides practical tips for progressively decreasing wasteful practices at home and work, including ideas to encourage programs at local schools in your area.
How To Grow Fresh Air, B.C. Wolverton. 1997.As the air we breathe gets more polluted, plants can help combat the negative and make our air healthier. From Dr. Bill Wolverton, one of the world’s foremost authorities in the use of phytoremediation. Shares ideas from many years of practical application, primarily in wastewater treatment and indoor air pollution abatement.
Meat Free Monday Cookbook, Paul McCartney. 2018.From Sir Paul and with a foreword from his daughter Stella McCartney, this cookbook is part of a broader campaign to encourage those who wish to start to include less meat in their overall diet.
Simply Sustainable, Lily Cameron. 2021.Offering easy changes to get you started, or more advanced, high-impact tips to maintain a low-waste home. Simple, effective steps will change your view of disposable plastic products.
The Day the World Stops Shopping, JB MacKinnon. 2021.“We can’t stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma.” Even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure. Drawing from experts in fields ranging from climate change to economics, the author investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society, and ourselves, and “just how much we stand to gain.”
The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget, Josh Dorfman. 2009.This book includes ideas on how living a greener lifestyle can also save people time and money.


Climate Change Connection: Personal Solutions as a CitizenClimate Change Connection is a charitable non-government organization working to educate citizens of Manitoba, Canada, about climate change and to facilitate sustainable solutions. Offers insight into how Manitobans can make a real difference in the struggle to deal with climate change issues.
Climate Council of Australia: Top 10 Large-scale Climate Solutions“Co-ordinated ambitious action taken today can dramatically reduce future harm.” List compiled by Australia’s leading climate change communications organization of their top ten, large-scale solutions to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.
Earth911Started in the early 1990’s, Earth911 advocates that “humans can successfully reduce their impact by using less, reusing and recycling more, and constantly making small improvements through their daily decisions at home, while shopping, at work, and at play.” The site provides information, products and an easy search tool for where to recycle goods.
EartheasyFrom roots on an island in the Northwest where a family explores sustainable lifestyle options, this website features solutions that lead to a simpler, more self-sufficient way of living.
Gates Notes: What You Can Do to Fight Climate ChangeThis excerpt, from Bill Gates’ book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, includes several ideas on how society can move closer to a zero-carbon future.
Get Involved – 11 Actions You Can Take to Fight Climate ChangeEnvironmental Defense, a leading Canadian advocacy organization, provides a list containing 11 actions that one can take to make a difference in the fight against climate change.
Giving GreenA team of economists, data scientists, and climate experts with decades of experience working at the intersection of evidence-based policy and the environment, with the objective of directing dollars and volunteers towards evidence-backed projects that combat the climate crisis.
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - A Year of Living Better GuidesWritten by Livia Albeck-Ripka, a reporting fellow with The New York Times's climate and environment desk, this guide details choices one can make in day-to-day life to lessen their personal impact on the environment. Divided into five sections: On the Road, in the Sky; On Your Plate; In Your Home; What You Buy; What You Do.
Oceanic Society: What Can I Do About Climate Change? Your Questions AnsweredThe Oceanic Society, America’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation answers questions on: What can I do about climate change? Can I make a difference on my own? And what are the most impactful actions I can take to reduce my carbon footprint?
Thoroughly Modern GrandmaFrom a retired UK civil servant, website includes lots of tips on zero-waste living. “It starts by refusing things. Whatever you still have and use you should reduce to save resources. Substitute disposables for reusable options, and recycle things. Separate what little rubbish you have left and make sure to recycle. Compost what’s left and let it rot.”
TreehuggerNew York-based website was founded by entrepreneur and eco-advocate Graham Hill in 2004. With a background in architecture and design, Hill’s vision was for the site to serve as a vehicle for driving sustainability mainstream – and to do so with a modern twist. Site offers advice, clarity, and inspiration for green consumers.
What Does "Net-Zero Emissions" Mean? 8 Common Questions, AnsweredFrom World Resources Institute (WRI), detailed article on what a net zero target means, the science behind net zero and which countries have already made net zero commitments. Includes helpful infographics and videos such as ‘10 key solutions needed to reduce GHG emissions’, a video: ‘The Path to Zero Emissions: What is Net Zero?’ and “Sources Where Countries' Net Zero Targets are Communicated”.
Zero Waste HomeAuthor Bea Johnson writes “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (and only in that order) is my method to reducing my family’s annual trash to a jar since 2008” Her website provides a resource for locating bulk food products in your area (US). There is also a link to her book focusing on the elements of a zero waste home.


2030 CalculatorThe 2030 Calculator can be used by any product brand or manufacturer to quickly calculate the carbon footprint of products based on emissions created from manufacturing and transport up until the point of sale. The Calculator uses unique emissions factors for each of the product parts, materials, packaging, transportation, as well as the energy consumed in the manufacturing process to determine its calculations. All calculations are cradle-to-gate and self-declared.
Climate Change Food CalculatorFrom the BBC - an interactive tool to learn the carbon footprint of different foods.
Greenhouse Gas ProtocolGHG Protocol establishes comprehensive global standardized frameworks to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions.
GHG Protocol offers online training on their standards and tools, as well as the “Built on GHG Protocol” review service, which recognizes sector guidance, product rules and tools that are in conformance with GHG Protocol standards.


Good TogetherBrightly co-founders Laura and Liza, host a podcast for those “curious about a zero waste lifestyle…(wanting) to know what the circular economy really means.” Each 30 minute episode features daily, actionable tips to help listeners live their lives more sustainably.
Green LivingThis lifestyle podcast explores sustainable low waste and slow living. Host Claire Hamilton converses with guests who own small sustainable businesses or are especially knowledgeable in related areas. Provides information  on how to be a more conscious consumer, and tips on how to start right away no matter where you are in your sustainable journey.
Sustainababble Oi and Dave offer “a weekly dose of chat about topics spanning environmental news and politics, wildlife, health and everyday sustainable living.” Humorous hosts who openly admit their own confusion within the subject aim for both fun and educational listening.
Sustainable MinimalistHosted by “Mama Minimalist”, Stephanie Seferian, whose motto for the podcast and her related website is “Let’s simplify sustainability.”
The Cost of Goods SoldJennifer Myers Chua hosts this podcast about the environmental and social costs of the things we buy. A look into conscious consumerism, and the stories behind businesses with sustainable or social focus. Approachable, actionable tips on how to take small steps towards meaningful change.
The MinimalistsPractical advice and how-to’s from Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus on implementing a conscious lifestyle to avoid hoarding and irresponsible trashing. Team also produces blogs, Tedx Talks, Netflix movies and more.


Aspen Institute: How Can Schools Mitigate Their Climate ImpactThis YouTube video focuses on how K-12 education systems can reduce their carbon footprints generated through use of energy, transportation, and food. Panelists share their experiences advocating for and implementing sustainable strategies in their schools.
Climate ChangeA selection of videos by the United Nations on climate change & climate action.
Climate Change: How Consumers And Businesses Can Make A DifferenceThe National Science and Media Museum in the UK brought together a panel of experts to address questions on how consumer behavior can make a difference to climate change, and how businesses can make it easier for us to live sustainably.
#CO2FFEE with ICOS: Consumer choicesThe Integrated Carbon Observation System, ICOS provides standardized and open data from more than 140 measurement stations across 13 European countries. In this episode of #CO2FFEE with ICOS, a panel speaks about individual and communal power to reduce carbon footprint. Alsot the importance of pressuring national governments to drastically reduce carbon emissions by replacing conventional energy sources with renewables.
Future Makers - Climate Change: Do individual actions matter?Part of a series from the University of Oxford. This episode addresses the question: With a lot of Government work relying on geopolitical understanding between nation states and large multinational corporations, is there still potential for actions on an individual level to shape the future of the planet?
Psychology for better climate communicationsEach month, Citizens’ Climate Lobby hosts an online meeting featuring a guest speaker to educate listeners on topics related to climate change, carbon fee and dividend, and the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. How do we use what we know about the human psyche to encourage action on climate change? Per Espen Stoknes examines this challenge as a psychologist and Norwegian Green Party Politician.