Earth Day is right around the corner. And while every day is a great day to make a positive contribution to our planet, the holiday still serves as a great way for our community to come together to make the world a better place. Here are 10 simple ways to show your mother Earth some love.
1. Reduce plastic consumption
Pack your lunch in a reusable container instead of plastic sandwich bags, bring your own cloth bag to the grocery store, and reuse/recycle the plastic bags you already have. You can also carry your own water bottle, rather than buying a new plastic bottle every time--a single plastic bottle can spend between 100-1000 years in a landfill.
2. Plant a tree
This may be the most obvious one, but it really does make a difference. Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion. It also provides shade that keeps homes and cities cooler!
3. Walk, hike, or ride a bike
If people in the U.S. would occasionally ride a bike for a short errand instead of driving a car, over 70 million gallons of fuel could be saved each year--not to mention the added benefit of enjoying the fresh air and exercise.
4. Recycle your paper
Only 27% of newspapers in the U.S. are recycled. If they were all recycled, it would save one quarter of a billion trees every year. Buy recycled printer paper and print on both sides instead of just one.
5. Switch out your cleaning products
Cleaning products that contain chlorine or petroleum distillates expose your family to toxins and then end up in the ecosystem. Choose nontoxic, naturally derived cleaning products, which are proven effective but won’t cause long term damage to the Earth.
6. Opt out of junk mail
Not only will you save paper, but you'll also save time by not having to fish through a sea of junk mail every day. Just pull out the pre-paid stamped envelope in your junk mail, write "please remove" on the envelope and send it back to them - on their dime. In the long run it helps everyone -- they don't have to pay for future mailings and you are no longer buried in piles of junk mail you don’t want.
7. Swap out your light bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use less energy than regular light bulbs and provide the same amount of light. They also last up to ten times longer, ultimately saving you money in energy costs - more than $30 in the lifetime of one bulb. And if you needed even more reason to switch out your bulbs, fluorescent lights generate less heat than other bulbs, making home cooling costs significantly less in the summer.
8. Turn off lights and unplug cell phone chargers
Did you know that your chargers are using electricity even though your electronic devices are not connected to them? Walk around your house and unplug any cell phone chargers, mp3 player chargers, etc. that you’re not currently using. While you’re at it, turn off any unnecessary lights.
9. Eat less meat
The UN has found that meat production is responsible for about 18% of global CO2 emissions. This doesn’t mean you have to go vegetarian, although it does help. But simply cutting down on meat consumption will make a big difference, even if your direct individual impacts aren’t apparent.
10. Shop local
Support your local economy. Buy from the farmers market, or even commit to the challenge of only eating food in a 100-mile radius. Visit neighborhood thrift stores. Keeping money and resources in the community significantly reduces the pollution caused by the production and transportation of things like food and clothing.
What are you doing for Earth Day? Comment on our Facebook page and let us know!