Living Greener — One Decision at a Time

In honor of Earth Day, we explore everyday choices that can impact the environment in big ways.

Listen 56:22
Photo by Maiken Scott

Photo by Maiken Scott

Every day, we hear about countless environmental threats — from air pollution and microplastics, to deforestation and global warming. And a lot of us feel overwhelmed by the scale of these problems, and helpless to enact global big-picture solutions.

But small, everyday decisions matter too — and they add up. How you do your laundry, how warm or cool you keep your home, what you eat for lunch, what kinds of products you buy and how you sort your trash — all of them have the potential to make a big difference.

On this special Earth Day episode, we look at everyday choices that can lead to greener living. We hear stories about laundry detergents, and how we can clean our clothes without hurting the planet, what it’ll take for plant-based meat to make it to the big leagues, and an innovation that could revolutionize recycling as we know it.


  • Sorting has long been the Achilles heel of recycling plastic. There are so many different kinds of plastic, and when you lump them all together, you end up with an inferior material. But a process called digital watermarking could change how we sort our trash. We’ll hear about a company called Digimarc, and their quest to imprint tracking technology onto packages and products to sort recycling in a much more granular fashion.
  • Homes are responsible for almost a fifth of the United States’ total energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.Reducing your energy use at home isn’t just good for the planet, it can help you save lots of money. But it’s often a big investment up front. Reporter Sophia Schmidt visited one homeowner who’s spent years making his place more energy-efficient, and shares what he’s learned along the way.
  • We’ve known for a while that human activities, from pesticides to habitat destruction, have spelled trouble for honeybees. But now, scientists have discovered a solution — a vaccine for one of the diseases threatening hives. Reporter Buffy Gorrilla talks to researchers and beekeepers about the potential.

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