Simple-Living Tips to Reduce Fossil Fuel Use

Strong Ideas from Iona

  • Slow down.
  • Stop shopping (except, of course, for food and essentials).
  • Turn off the lights.
  • Stay home.
  • Appreciate the things you have.
  • Remember our motto: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
  • Grow as much of your own organic food as you can.
  • Mend old clothes and keep wearing them.
  • Prioritize the activities in your life and skip those that are not important.
  • Work on your dream.
  • Speak your mind in a loving way.
  • When you do shop, go to thrift stores and buy something that has already gone through the manufacturing process instead of buying new items.
  • Think of everything you buy from the “cradle to grave” so you understand that energy was used to dig up the raw materials, transport them, refine them, create something, transport it to a packaging plant and then to the store and then decide how it will end up, hopefully in recycling or the compost pile, not in the trash.
  • Give yourself electronic holidays and unplug everything you can.
  • Bring cloth bags to the store with you and remember to bring them into the store.
  • Boycott ads that try to convince you to buy things you don’t really need.

Little things you can do:

In the kitchen

  • Filter your water at home and carry it with you in a Thermos or other non-plastic container.
  • Buy plastic “shower hats” for leftovers so you don’t need to buy plastic wrap or other disposable covers; these tops are washable but rarely get dirty if they don’t touch the food.
  • Use intermittent cooking; that means bring something to a boil or simmer, shut off the burner for about 10 minutes and it will keep cooking. Turn the burner back on for a few more minutes and shut it off again.
  • Use the appropriate size pan on each burner.
  • Use lids to reduce cooking times and temperatures.
  • Buy items in recyclable containers and be sure to recycle them.
  • Compost in any way possible.
  • Use cloth napkins.
  • Use rags and dish cloths instead of paper towels.
  • Pack plates, cups, utensils, washed-out containers and napkins for leftovers or restaurants where they use disposables. Bring a plastic bag to bring your dirty dishes home for washing.
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils to improve efficiency.
  • Close the refrigerator and freezer doors as quickly as you can.
  • Pack the freezer with containers filled with water in empty spaces; this helps the freezer stay cold and use less energy.
  • For scouring powder, use baking soda and salt with a non-abrasive scrubby.
  • Buy eco-friendly cleaning and personal-care products and use them up.
  • Cut the tubes in half for products like toothpaste so you can reach inside them and scrape out the last bits.


  • Avoid them as much as possible.
  • Turn them off when not in use
  • Charge mobile devices in the car instead of a power outlet.
  • Don’t buy every single new gadget that comes along.
  • Dust or vacuum computer equipment to maximize it’s effectiveness.


  • Hang your clothes outside while you enjoy the morning fresh air and feel as if you’re in the country.
  • In wet weather, hang your clean clothes on a wooden rack indoors.
  • Iron as little as possible.
  • Use 1/4 cup baking soda as fabric softener.


  • Drive as little as possible and combine trips when you are out.

Home heating and cooling

  • Lower your thermostat as low as you can tolerate it; wear sweaters and long johns to keep warmer in winter. Every degree that you can lower the thermostat will save lots of electricity.
  • Use curtains or blinds to keep out the hot summer sun.
  • Use an attic fan on cool summer nights to bring cool air into your home; then shut all the windows during the heat of the day and go in and out quickly, without leaving the doors open any longer than absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t use an air conditioner if you can avoid it. It’s OK to sweat and drink lemonade under a tree on a hot summer day.


  • Buy compact fluorescents or LED light bulbs; the extra initial cost will be made up in electricity bill savings over the years.
  • Dust light bulbs periodically to improve their efficiency.

Published by ionaconner

I have been in the environmental movement for more than 50 years. My husband, John Bruce Conner, and I started the Grassroots Coalition for Environmental and Economic Justice in 1990. For the past 12 years I've been publishing global warming/climate change newspapers in various forms. The current form is Groundswell News Journal and I have readers around the globe with a high concentration of wonderful people in Africa. John died in my arms August 18, 2020 and I moved back to my family in New Jersey from rural Pennsylvania. I'm on sabbatical and will be publishing again in October 2020. Please enjoy this website in the meantime and don't hesitate to contact me at I love hearing from people. Thank you.

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