One of my many magazines came in the mail the other day, and as I flipped through, I stopped on a small report on how airlines are trying to do small things to lessen their impact.American Airlines added some kind of wingtip extensions to its 737s that should save a lot of fuel–up to 290,000 gallons per plane annually, according to this little article (from Body+Soul magazine). That sounds like an interesting engineering and design innovation–somebody started thinking outside the box.Delta Airlines started an onboard recycling program on domestic flights to all hubs, and in the first four months, collected 4.1 million aluminum cans, 8.2 tons of newspapers, and 12.9 tons of plastics. My only thought on that was, “You’re kidding me…you mean to tell me they only just started doing this?”Please, airlines, think of how huge of an impact you can make! Could you all please follow Delta’s lead and start recycling? Maybe all of that aluminum from Delta’s recycling program can be reformed to make more winglets for American Airlines’ 747s?Finally, I had seen this elsewhere, but the article also reported that Virgin Atlantic will test sustainable fuel sources on one of its Boeing jets. That’s great, because we’ve all heard that airlines are consuming startling amounts of fuel to zip us all around the globe.But get this little gem: Virgin also came up with an immediate way to reduce fuel consumption and cut aircraft emissions on the ground by more than 50 percent. Want to know how? By towing planes closer to the runway.I love this.It’s so simple. So obvious. No winglets to design, fabricate and attach to the 737s. No new fuels to invent, test and process.Just tow the whole plane on over to the runway, Joe. Brilliant.Sometimes small changes really do make a huge difference. Sometimes they barely affect the way we operate.And sometimes, effective solutions to big problems are right in front of us the whole time.You’ve probably seen the lists of small changes we can all make that will have a big impact. I think we’re closer to the tipping point than anybody imagined we’d be a few years ago in terms of making a difference in the environment. So go get another compact fluorescent bulb or something.The statistics are really amazing for those bulbs. They say that if every American home replaced just one light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than three million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.Just screw in the lightbulb, Joe.Brilliant. It’s so simple.