Reduce the use of gasoline-powered yard tools. Avoid using gasoline-powered tools like lawnmowers, weed eaters and leaf blowers. Instead, use electric-powered—or, better yet, human-powered—tools like push mowers, hand clippers and rakes. If this seems daunting, consider replacing part of your lawn with low-maintenance shrubs, bushes or a native wildflower patch. 

Improve your energy efficiency. One of the best ways to reduce your contribution to global-warming pollution is to use more energy-efficient products. In your backyard alone, you can take several steps, including replacing regular outdoor light bulbs with compact fluorescents, installing outdoor automatic light timers and purchasing solar-powered garden products. You can increase the availability of energy-efficient garden products and native plants by encouraging local home and garden retailers to carry these items. 

Contact your elected officials. Gardeners can voice their concerns about global warming to their local, state and federal government representatives, urging them to implement strong action plans. Suggested measures include: placing mandatory limits on global-warming pollution, raising fuel economy standards for cars and SUVs, investing in clean and efficient energy technologies, requiring utilities to generate a share of their electricity from renewable energy sources, developing programs to reel in suburban sprawl and expanding recycling programs. 

The bottom line: The more global-warming pollution we allow to build up in the atmosphere, the greater the risk we’ll disrupt the natural systems on which humans and wildlife rely. 

“Individual gardeners may think they can’t make a real difference,” says Suzanne DeJohn of the National Gardening Association. “But imagine if all—or even half—of the estimated 91 million gardeners nationwide took steps to reduce their energy consumption. Each of us can do our part in our own landscape.”