Read the news on any given day, and you’d think we were all soon-to-be goners from climate change. New stories and reports regularly reveal all the ways humans are trashing the planet at an unprecedented rate.Given the seemingly dismal reality, we might be tempted to throw up our hands and say there’s nothing we can do to fix the problem. But defeatism won’t get us anywhere.Governments and corporations need to step in, but they shouldn’t bear all the responsibility for making a positive environmental impact. People from all walks of life can do things each day to reduce their carbon footprint and make their routine more eco-friendly.Becoming an environmental warrior doesn’t require a superhero-like effort. Something as simple as creating a grocery shopping list or using ceramic baking pans can make a big difference.Inact, a healthy lifestyle and an eco-conscious oneoften go hand in hand. Extra bonus: Being eco-friendly is often easier on the wallet.The most obvious ways to help the environment are to conserve energy and use less water. But if you put on your green thinking cap, you can come up with lots of less obvious, but no less important, earth-friendly habits.Need jump start? Read on to learn a few simple day-to-day strategies to help the environment. You might be surprised at how much they help you in the process.How to help the environment: Keep the car at home ;Some Americans have swapped out their cars for eco-friendly modes of transport like walking, biking, and public transportation for good reason.Along with helping to save money and improve fitness, leaving the car in the garage also reduces the amount of dangerous greenhouse gases (which are responsible for a large chunk of climate change) we release into the environment.One powerful way to minimize the environmental impact of driving is to trade in your clunker for a more eco-friendly vehicle. For other (less costly) options, try these tips to get you where you need to go.Bike to workDespite snazzy cycling accessories like the invisible bike helmet and gloves with light-up turn signals, fewer Americans are riding their bikes to work.Trusted Source . If more people commuted on two wheels instead of four, experts estimate we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent by 2050.Trusted Source One study found that half of all car trips were less than 3 miles. Given the short distance, cycling or walking could easily substitute for 41 percent of these trips, saving nearly 5 percent in carbon emissions.Walk it offMotoring on two feet is a lot more energy-efficient than cruising on four wheels. Walking obviously isn’t a viable choice if you’re headed to see family across the country, but as long as you stay local, you can sneak more foot action into your daily routine and cut down on carbon emissions in the process.Go publicThe thought of squishing into a crowded train car might be a big turnoff to some would-be commuters, but think of all the upsides. Riding the rails creates extra time to catch up on emails, read a juicy novel, or get just a little more shut-eye. Plus it does wonders for the health of our planet. Switching to the subway or metro cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 76 percent per passenger mile compared to driving your own car. Taking the bus drops emissions by 33 percent per passenger mile over commuting solo.Trusted SourceMore ways to help the environment: Reduce food wasteEveryone talks about how much food we eat, but what about the food we don’t eat? Americans toss out 133 billion pounds of food each year. That means about 40 percent of our food supply goes straight into the trash. Trusted Source If people around the world saved just one quarter of the food they now waste, we could end global hunger. Trusted Source But instead of filling empty plates, that wasted food usually ends up in landfills, where it eventually turns into a destructive greenhouse gas called methane.Wasting food also squanders the resources (like water and energy) that went into the production of that food. Here are some easy ways to shop and eat more efficiently to waste less food.Save the environment by using less packagingDisposable plates, plastic forks, and ketchup packets are small, but they add up. Food packaging and containers create 39 million tons of waste annually — nearly one quarter of solid waste produced in the United States. Trusted Source .A whole lot of those containers end up in landfills, where they release more methane into the air.The good news is that many companies are becoming more aware of how much food packaging they use and taking steps to reduce it (edible wrappers, anyone?).