It's easy to get disillusioned with the world. Our environment has been in increasingly dire straits since the end of the twentieth century. Often it seems as though we as individuals are too small to make much of a difference.

While this is true in a way (after all, those with the largest carbon footprints and impact are large corporate entities), there are small things we can all do to lighten the load on Mother Nature. Here are twenty simple changes you can make to help the planet:

20. Trade Out Your Air Filter

This doesn't necessarily sound particularly environmental. Wouldn't it be better to not throw something away and just stick with the original air filter? This misconception ignores the fact that when dust particles get caught in the air filter, the filtration system uses more energy to filter it out. This increased energy requires increased electricity, which results in increased energy waste.

If you have no furry pets, it is generally recommended to change your air filter every three months. If you do have cats, dogs, or another animal companion that sheds, you should aim for every two months.

19. Watch Your Water

Clean water and indoor plumbing are two things that those in homes in developed countries tend to take for granted.  We consider it a given. Of course water will be clean and plentiful.

Yet not only is clean water actually extremely rare to come by, it also takes a great deal of energy to make it safe for use. In California, for example, 1,000 kWh of energy is needed to make 300,00 gallons safe for use. So leaving the water running while you brush your teeth or wash the dishes not only wastes the water (a valuable resource in and of itself), but the energy that was used to clean that was used to make that water usable.