Earth Day 2017: How will you participate?

Hey you! Did you know Earth Day is on Saturday? 

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. What started out in 1970 as a U.S. holiday is now recognized globally and celebrated in countries around the world. This year’s campaign is all about environmental and climate literacy. You can learn more on the Earth Day website.

How will you participate?

Perhaps you’re participating in the March for Science. Maybe you’re heading up an Earth Day initiative for your office using materials from the Earth Day website. Maybe you have plans to watch Bill Nye The Science Guy’s new Netflix show Bill Nye Saves The World. Maybe you had absolutely no idea Earth Day was coming up, but you still want to do something. Fear not! Because I’m passionate about preserving our beautiful earth for generations to come, I want to share with you some simple, easy ways you can make immediate changes in your every day life that will have a big impact on our Earth.

Spread Climate Change Awareness

For those of you that have a “climate change denier” in your life, take Do Something’s Climate Change Scavenger Hunt Challenge to influence the person in your life who isn’t concerned about how their actions might be affecting climate change. Though this challenge is intended for teenagers to influence their parents, I encourage you to use this tactic for anyone who is being ignorant about climate change. Sadly, about half of Americans aren’t worried about climate change despite the scientific community’s warnings, simply because they don’t feel a personal connection to it. While many people living today won’t live long enough to see the deadly effects caused by climate change, we are already seeing drastic changes in ecosystems that will, eventually, spiral out of control and leave their grandchildren, great grandchildren and future generations without an inhabitable planet.

Pledge To Reduce Your Water Usage

Reduce Water Usage

Are you under the impression that water shortages and access to clean drinking water is an issue only affecting the developing world? Think again.  Millions of people in the US don’t have clean drinking water. Water shortage is a very real, very serious issue that is affecting our world TODAY. Examining my own water usage in a day, I’ve noticed some ways that I’m wasting perfectly good water. Changing your habits won’t change the world in a day, but if we all make a lot of minor changes, they will add up to a significant movement.

  • Turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth.
  • Turn the water off while you wash your hands.
  • Use the water you cooked your pasta with to water your houseplants (let it cool first, obviously).
  • Make sure your dishwasher is full before you run it; it’s so wasteful to run a cycle when it’s only half-full.
  • Make sure the car wash you use recycles their water.
  • Does your faucet leak? Getting it repaired can save so much water! Or, even better, opt to replace it all together with a high-efficiency faucet.
  • While you’re at it, maybe you can replace all your fixtures with more efficient models. You can easily find WaterSense products using the EPA’s WaterSense website.
  • Do you let the water run for a while to heat up before jumping in the shower? Do you really need to let it heat up? If so, try saving the water that’s being wasted in a bucket and use it water plants later. You can also try taking shorter or more infrequent showers (shout out to the best invention of our generation: Dry Shampoo).
  • Are you using high efficiency bulbs wherever you can? If not, you have no excuse! They even make a high-efficiency version of the Edison bulbs that are so “in” right now. Most power companies use water to generate power. Reducing your electricity consumption can also reduce your water usage. And you can save some money on your energy bill.
  • If you have an outdoor garden, try collecting rainwater to water it instead of using a hose.

Recycle

Please, please, please, for the love of the earth, recycle whenever possible! If you’re not recycling in your home already, go out TODAY and buy a separate trash receptacle (or two!) for your in-home recycling. It’s very easy to learn about the recycling programs provided by your municipality. Take a half-hour out of your day to spend researching said programs on the internet.

Compost

Sadly, urban living doesn’t allow me to compost my organic waste. But, if you have a yard, you totally should! And if you don’t have a yard, there might be a compost pick-up service in your city. You can check now at https://compostnow.org/compost-services/ . If compost pick-up isn’t currently offered in your city, you can add your name to the waitlist using this site.

Actually Reuse Your Reusable Grocery Bags

This one is SO easy. If you don’t have a handful of tote bags laying around somewhere already, most grocery stores sell them for as little as $1 each. Since I get around primarily by walking, I always keep at least 2 bags in my backpack for picking up groceries, library books, etc so I always have them with me. One is a small fold-up bag that takes up a minuscule amount of space. The other is a more “heavy duty” bag that folds up flat and lays alongside my computer. In my days of driving, I always kept 6 – 7 empty tote bags in the trunk of my car. And you know what? Tote bags make it easier to carry your grocery items from the store to the car and from the car to the house. Once you put the groceries away, put the empty bags by your coat, keys, or purse, as a visual indicator that they need to go back out the car the next time you do.

Stop Wasting Paper

Save the Trees

How often do you print things at work? How often do you NEED to print something at work? And when you do, do you print double-sided? You might think “It’s just a few extra pages of paper”. But if you unnecessarily print even just 2 pages a day, that would add up to more than an entire ream of paper in a year. Let’s say there are 10 people in your office. If each of the 10 people unnecessarily print 2 pages of paper a day, that equals an entire case of paper, which is more than a half a tree. If you’re not worried about wasting half a tree, the amount of water used to turn that half a tree into paper is about 500 gallons. We haven’t even considered the amount of water used to grow the tree in the first place or the amount of energy used to produce that paper.

Get To It!

Even the smallest action is better than doing nothing at all.

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” —John James Audubon

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