9 Ways to Save the Planet with the Click of a Mouse

Bring out your inner treehugger

(Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com)

Planetsavers and treehuggers - and everyone else who cares about the environment - this is the list for you. A collection of nine super-green sites, initiatives and ideas that will help you show some love to the planet - without getting out of your seat or spending a cent.


THE LOW-DOWN: Green search engine Ecosia donates 80% of its income to a tree-planting program in Brazil. The search engine can be added to your Chrome browser, so every web search you perform will help the environment for free. So far, the site has 197,262 active users, who've helped to plant 155,362 trees.
THE EXTRA MILE: Each time you search, a cute little graphic at the bottom of the page will update - keeping you posted on how many trees you've planted.


THE LOW-DOWN: Relative new-comer Greenvolved serves as a conduit between public opinion and companies looking to fund green projects. The funky site invites environmental non profits and NGOs to post projects, which users can then vote for and promote online. Causes which receive a critical number of votes are then presented to sponsors for funding.
THE EXTRA MILE: Get behind one of the latest trending projects – either shark conservation in Australia or saving sea turtles in Costa Rica.


THE LOW-DOWN: Print it Green is an innovative web app which uses its advertising funds to plant trees. The platform aims to offset the environmental damage caused by printing web pages, and works on all internet browsers.  
THE EXTRA MILE: If you have your own website, install the app to add environmental awareness to your product or brand.


THE LOW-DOWN: On the Care to Click website, every move you make helps the planet and the people that inhabit it. The platform works by bringing useful ads to people who want to help, but don't necessarily have time to spend or money to donate. By clicking, sharing and tweeting you raise revenue for causes of your choice – including environment, rainforest water and wildlife.
THE EXTRA MILE: Keep track of your good doing by signing up and getting your own personalized dashboard.


THE LOW-DOWN: We all contribute inadvertently to greenhouse gas emissions – just by going about our daily lives. This handy calculator from The Nature Conservancy goes through the choices you make at home - when you travel, eat, buy and get rid of waste -  to help you minimize your carbon footprint.
THE EXTRA MILE: On top of the option of donating to offset your carbon footprint, the calculator gives you a detailed breakdown of how your behavior compares to the US average, along with climate saving tips and actions.

Paying your bills online has many benefits – you can save time and money, lower companies' administrative costs, and reduce global warming by helping to limit deforestation. Signing up is easy and doesn't take long – why not start with your bank, along with your utility bills?
THE EXTRA MILE: While you're at it, find out which companies you deal with send bills electronically. This way you can reduce clutter around the house and keep things organized in your inbox rather than bulky folders – and of course save a few trees while you're at it. 


THE LOW-DOWN: Crowdfunding platform Mosaic allows individuals to invest in solar energy projects, and get repayments with interest. By vetting high quality initiatives, Mosaic minimizes the financial risk to investors and maximizes the positive impact on the planet.
THE EXTRA MILE: As well as investing, you can make a pledge to put solar on something – a house, school or business for example – in 2014.


THE LOW-DOWN: Reforest Patagonia is a non-profit that aims to plant more than one million native trees in an effort to return the natural wonder of the Chilean Patagonia to its former glory. The beautifully-designed online drive encourages users to sponsor a tree for $4 a pop. The organization sends out an email to each donor with the exact GPS coordinates of their new tree.
THE EXTRA MILE: You can click and sponsor as many trees as you like – hey, what about your own Chilean garden or forest?


THE LOW-DOWN: Environmentally-friendly mobile app PaperKarma is the latest tool in the battle against junk mail. Available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone the app lets users take a picture of actual junk mail received, press send, and the PaperKarma folks will make the necessary calls and take all steps required to stop this environmentally hazardous stream.
THE EXTRA MILE: Each US household receives about 850 pieces of junk mail per year, which adds up to more than 100 billion pieces of mail a year – downloading this app can save the environment along with the state of your kitchen counter.