On April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 which began the movement of individuals and groups expressing their interest and concern for living in a healthy and sustainable environment. We now celebrate Earth Day around the world. It has made adults, teens and children more mindful of their habits and of how even the smallest things can make a difference.
Still unsure of how you can make simple changes that will make a impact? Here are some things that you can do alone or with your family to create a more sustainable life. Remember, even the simplest changes can make a huge difference.
10 ways we can help protect the earth
Planting trees — This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean pollution and secures soil in place to prevent erosion. The U.S. Forest Service has a great page about the benefits of trees. Plant native trees to your area. When doing so those trees use less water, support native wildlife, and are better adapted to your area. You can plant native trees in your yard or if you don’t have a yard, contribute to community tree planting efforts.
Recycling - Currently more than half of the states provide recycling programs and 12 states actually give you money back on beverage containers. The recycling movement now has moved towards rewarding people for living a more sustainable lifestyle. When you register with sites like Recyclebank, you can earn points that will save on your favorite eco-friendly and organic products.
Using Reusable Bags — Many stores have banned plastic bags altogether and more now offer reusable bags for you to purchase.
Community Educational Events — Communities are holding Earth Day events to educate people about the importance of sustainable living. Did you know that over 30,000 teachers nationwide provide innovative educational tools to help promote civic participation and to develop a sense of environmental awareness?
Taking Action — With just a simple click of your mouse you can help support important environmental causeswith thousands of others that are trying to make a difference. One app I love is called Charity Miles. As you walk, run or bike, the app will track your distance and you’ll raise awareness and earn money for your charity. Bikers earn 10 cents per mile, walkers and runners earn 25 cents per mile – up to 1 Million Dollars courtesy of corporate sponsors. Seriously….how easy is that?
Volunteer — Businesses and communities are coming together to clean up America. People are spending time cleaning up parks, roadsides, advocating for healthier lunches, in the hopes that their children can live in a safer environment. One of the many organizations I love is the Moms Clean Air Force. Moms are joining together to come out in strength for our kids right to clean air. Moms Clean Air Force has different chapters in cities around the country that do events to educate families of the importance of clean air for our children. You can volunteer, take action or just educate yourself through their blog on environmental concerns that we need to know about.
Purchase Reusable Containers – The next time you want to wrap up leftovers in plastic wrap think about this – Plastic wrap and other types of plastic contain PVC which raises concern that it could transfer toxins into our food. When using a reusable container, glass is the best but you can also make a greener choice with plastic too. When shopping around make sure the quality is good and that it’s the right type of plastic. Look for a triangle with a number inside. The two codes to look for are 1 – PETE (Poluethene Terephthalate or 2 – HDPE which states for high density Polyethlene.
Use LED lights – Did you know that lighting can make up to 25% of the average home’s electricity consumption? Now that fluorescent bulbs are going more mainstream they are easier to find and cheaper too. Before you would buy a LED bulb for around $11 and your savings would be around $20 over a 3 year period. Now you can easily find LED bulbs for around $2 so thinking of what you will be saving now.
Compost – Compost bins come in small and large sizes so when looking see what would best fit your lifestyle. You can even check out your municipality because some do work with manufactures to make composting bins available to the public for either free or low cost. Did you know that around 18 percent of the waste an average family in the U.S. produces comes from the yard and garden? If you recycle your yard and garden waste, you’ll reduce the amount of energy used to send this waste to the dump. Add your organic kitchen scraps to your yard waste and you’re significantly decreasing your waste.
Turn off lights and electronics – I am still working on this….just ask my husband. Turning off lights and electronics save energy, we just need to go a step further and unplug too. Many electrical devices still use a small amount of energy when turned off and that does add up. To save you time, connect several appliances to a surge protector outlet strip so when you unplug you are just unplugging one or more but not several throughout the house. Have you ever gone through your house to see just how many items you actually have plugged in? I bet it’s more than you ever thought.
I would love to hear from you — please share your Earth Day ideas with us, and how you are protecting our earth.