Every morning, Wasi Ahmed Yousaf, 37, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., puts on his sneakers and helmet and commutes to work on his bicycle.

Yousaf ditched his car two months ago in favor of a more eco-friendly mode of transportation.

Across the nation, Americans are replacing their gas-guzzling SUVs for fuel-efficient hybrids, recycling, conserving water, saving energy and making other lifestyle changes to help the environment.

Going green can improve your health and standard of living, save you money and ensure that you are helping reverse rather than contribute to environmental decline,” said Zoë Chafe of the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research organization that provides information on how to build a sustainable society..

Environmentally-sustainable living, more popularly known as “going green,” means being a conscious consumer in all aspects of daily life, including transportation, energy, food and shelter.

Yousaf, a practicing Muslim, embraced the green lifestyle after watching several solutions-focused messages during the Live Earth series of worldwide concerts on July 7. Live Earth started a multi-year campaign to fight climate change and promote environmentally-sustainable living.

“I realized that global warming, pollution and other environmental issues are something that everyone has to pitch in [and do something about], and it’s a serious issue, but we can still resolve it,” Yousaf said.

His choice to ride a bike to work not only serves as his daily exercise, but also cuts gasoline and potential parking bills, and contributes to reducing smog and exhaust fumes in his city.

He now only fills up gas once a month and, as a result, saves $50-60 a month.

Yousaf has also made many other changes in his life.

This includes no longer using those little, white, seemingly harmless Styrofoam cups to drink coffee or water at work.

“Styrofoam is one of those materials that doesn’t get decomposed even if you leave it in the ground for 50 years,” Yousaf said. “It is a non-biodegradable product.

So, why are we simply wasting it? I stopped wasting it and took a ceramic cup from home.”

He’s also stopped drinking bottled water. Bottled water wastes fossil fuels and water in production and transport, and when bottled water is used, its disposal becomes a major source of waste, according to Food and Water Watch.

The group said it requires more than 47 million gallons of oil to produce plastic water bottles for Americans each year.

Instead, Yousaf has switched to Nalgene bottles, and even his kids are using them. Nalgene bottles are inexpensive and can be used over and over, and are recyclable. Yousaf has also switched to energy-efficient light bulbs and is more energy conscious in general. For example, he won’t do half loads of laundry or run a half-filled dishwasher. And standing by the faucet as the water runs in the sink or taking long showers is a no-no in the Yousaf household. (MORE)


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