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The Globe and Mail

Make small changes that do a world of good

Excerpts from Living Me to We, published by Graystone Books and Me to We Books.

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THE TIP: Have a litter-less lunch Switch to Tupperware or metal containers in a cloth bag for your and your kids' lunches.

Patti Gower/patti gower The Globe and Mail

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TIP: IT'S A WRAP Save a few trees this Christmas by wrapping presents in old newspaper, glossy ad flyers, shoe boxes or reusable gift bags. Check back each week for another tip on how to live better.

Yury Minaev/Thinkstock

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THE TIP: GIVE THANKS Send appreciation cards to co-workers or associates who have gone the extra mile to make your job easier this year. They’ll likely repeat the effort next time you’re in need.

Dylan Ellis/(c) Dylan Ellis

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TIP: SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS GIVING Start your holiday shopping with fair-trade chocolate bars and second-hand-store gems to stuff every stocking. Fair-trade sport balls are great for the young athletes in your life.

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TIP: GREENING YOUR DIET Eating meat packs a powerful punch to the environment and our health. You can become a part-time vegetarian or follow the Meatless Monday trend or the “vegan before six” approach. To get started, host a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly potluck and see what your friends cook up. Check back each week for another tip on how to live better.

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TIP: SAVE ON ENERGY BILLS Using stand-by mode on electrical devices still uses energy. Instead, buy a power bar with an on-off switch to kill the power on multiple appliances with one switch. Check back each week for another tip on how to live better.

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THE TIP: ETHICAL INVESTING Put your money where your heart is by investing in socially responsible companies. Ask your adviser which companies are leaders when it comes to instituting changes. Check back each week for another tip on how to live better.

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THE TIP: QUICK HOME FIXES Do a makeshift energy audit on your home by holding a stick of incense to windows, doors. Check back each week for another tip on how to live better.

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THE TIP: STRETCH YOUR DOLLAR Look for charities that avoid spending your donations on ad space, TV commercials, street canvassers or telemarketers. Raise your donation over $200 and your tax credit will get an automatic boost of up to 20 per cent. Check back each week for another tip on how to live better.

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THE TIP: MAKE YOUR CUP COUNT Coffee beans are the second most traded product in the world after oil. It’s impossible to ask for fair trade at the gas station, but we can take advantage of what’s available at local cafés and grocery stores. Bring a bag of organic fair trade beans to work to store at your desk, and keep a reusable mug there as well – a good brew can always be close at hand. Check back each week for another tip on how to live better.

Rasmus Rasmussen/Rasmus Rasmussen 2005

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THE TIP: SHARE YOUR HEALTH Donate blood, but if you can’t, consider: signing up to One-Match’s stem cell and bone marrow registry. Donate old medical supplies, such as wheelchairs, crutches, diapers, to organizations like StarFish Project that ship to HIV clinics in Nigeria. Make sure to fill out your organ-donation cards. Check back each week for another tip on how to live better.

Zeljko Bozic/iStockphoto

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