Earth Day 2014 is upon us and since 1970 the Earth Day Network has shed light on the environmental movement. There have been many successful campaigns that benefit us all and our future.
I know we are all crazy busy, so here are just a few very doable ideas we can add into our everyday lives.
Ten things to do on Earth Day:
1) Take action: It’s as easy as clicking this link and heading over to EDN to send letters (pre-written, if you’d like) to heads of state on issues such as green schools, renewable energy and more.
2) Shop your local Farmers Market or join a CSA: One of my favorite ways to feel connected to Mother Earth and the hard working farmers in my community is to shop local whenever possible. The benefits (both health and social) are enormous! Local harvest is an amazing resource for finding local Farmers Markets, CSA’s, Earth Day events, etc… in your area.
3) Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Ok, I know we’ve all heard that one before but it continues to be of utmost importance. Did you know the average person generates four pounds of trash…. everyday??? And don’t throw those e-waste products in the regular recycle bin ( or *gasp* in the regular trash). These need to get recycled by a special facility. Each state should have an online listing for an e-waste plant in your neighborhood or head over to the EPA web site for more info.
4) Meatless Mondays… and Tuesdays: And Wednesday’s? It’s not just about going vegetarian. The resources it takes to create meat products for our dinners takes a toll on the environment. Skipping meat at least once a week (and more if you can) will help reduce our carbon footprint. Did you know the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of man-made greenhouse emissions? And water usage for livestock far outweighs that for vegetables and grains. An average of 2,000 gallons for one pound of meat! Oh, and the fossil fuel to truck it around the country… you get the point.
5) Conserve water: I will be the first to admit I love long, hot showers so join in with me to make the effort to be more efficient when showering and also when washing dishes, brushing teeth, etc… You’ll appreciate your new DWP bill too!
6) Bulk shopping: Many markets have bulk bin isles now. Cut down on unnecessary packaging by getting some of your favorite grains and dried fruits here. You are also more likely to buy just what you need, lessening the chance for food waste.
7) Reduce paper waste: Although there’s nothing like getting an old fashion letter/card in the mail, other correspondence can most likely be paperless in this day and age. Keep soft copies of important documents instead of printing them out. (Create a back up on an external drive of important papers if you’re worried about computers crashing). Other tips… if you need to print, set your printer to double-sided printing, use paper with 100% recycled material and keep a bin of reusable paper. I have a draw in my desk of paper that has something on just one side. Maybe it is something I printed and no longer need or some papers I got from my kids school. We reuse the other side in the printer all the time or my family uses it as scrappaper for homework, crafts, etc… It’s been an easy change to our home habits.
8) Use ‘Green’ cleaning products: They are everywhere now so there are no excuses to still be buying harsh chemicals that impact not only our health, but the environment as well when washed down the drains.
9) Reusable Bags: Many cities are banning plastic bags and although some have not taken kindly to such laws, maybe it’s the kick in the butt that many have needed. Reusable, canvas bags can be a no-brainer, easy step in helping the environment. Keep a few in your car and you’ll always have them with you! See, wasn’t that easy?
10) Public Transportation: Getting out of your car and onto public transportation (or on your bike, or your feet) would greatly reduce greenhouse emissions. My husband loves riding his bike to work! Big cities like Los Angeles can be overwhelming for cyclists though, so if you are in LA, check out LA Bike Trains and commute via bike with other like minded cyclists. Perhaps there is a bike train in your city. If biking or walking don’t work for you, look into car pools and public transportation. Many companies reward their employees with bonuses for this!
I’d love to hear what your environmental tips are. Leave your favorites in the comments below and Happy Earth Day!