There are many reasons you might consider going green. You might want to help lower carbon emissions in the atmosphere or reduce the amount of trash piling up in your local landfill. You might find that sustainability initiatives are a marketing gold mine for your business or maybe you simply enjoy organic products. But for many people, the benefit of going green revolves around one thing: Children.

Conserving resources, limiting emissions and saving the planet are necessary to make the planet livable for the future. And children are the future. What we do—or don’t do—today to protect the environment can impact what kind of atmosphere they will live in when they grow up.

Progress for the green movement

In recent years, there’s been a lot of progress toward improving the sustainability of our planet. For example, President Obama has called for the nation to produce 25 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2025. And federal and state grants have helped grow America’s clean energy generation capacity. Now renewable energy supplies 4 percent of the nation’s electricity.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced strict regulations on the carbon emissions released from new coal-fired power plants. The proposed restrictions would limit emissions to just 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of energy produced, a significant cut since most plants emit 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. Though the ruling only applies to any coal-fired power plant built in the future, the EPA plans to submit a proposal regulating existing power plants in the next year.

What is the importance of going green?

Even as the world makes significant progress to improve the outlook of the world for our children, it is still falling short. On its current trajectory global temperatures are expected to increase 3.6 degrees Celsius by 2035 according the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2013.

Such a large increase in global temperatures could have serious implications for the planet. According to the EPA, climate change could cause more severe weather, affect our water supplies, power and transportation systems, health and the natural environment.

In order to preserve the planet for future generations, it’s important to take a stand against climate change. Each and every person can play a small role in improving the condition of the environment through simple tasks such as recycling, limiting electricity use or drinking from a reusable water bottle. It may not seem like much, but collectively, all of these little changes can make a big impact on climate change.

Take LED light bulbs, for example. In 2012, Americans installed more than 49 million LED light bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The move to more efficient lighting saved these citizens more than $675 million in energy costs and kept 2 billion kilowatts of electricity off of the power grid.

As you begin your new year and look to the future, remember to consider our future. Commit to making a positive impact by practicing sustainability in 2014.