Tomorrow, April 22nd, Earth Day celebrates its 45th birthday. Since 1970, this day in April has brought communities together to work towards a more sustainable future for our planet. Global sustainability can feel like a daunting issue, but many organizations overwhelming recommend making just a few small changes in your everyday life; ones that can add up to a big impact over time.
Energy and water consumption
Probably the first things you think about when you read the words “energy and water consumption” are light bulbs and shorter showers. Yes, turning off lights, changing to energy efficient bulbs and taking shorter showers will help lessen consumption and save you money on bills, but here are a few more ideas for making a dent in the amount of energy we use:
- Commit to using public transportation or riding your bike to work one day a week or every other week.
- Go vegetarian at least one night a week. Meat production is one of the largest energy and water users in the country. Consider that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1lb of beef.
- Dry your clothes on a clothesline in the summer.
- Buy local goods and foods as often as you can.
Reusing and recycling
By now you probably have a few reusable bags in your car for trips to the grocery store, and hopefully your city or town has a curbside recycling program, but you can still get creative when it comes to recycling:
- Print double-sided or use the back of a printed piece of paper as scratch paper for notes.
- Shop at second hand stores for clothes, furniture or just about anything else.
- Keep up the glass and can recycling. Some cities even pay for glass and aluminum can recycling.
- Reuse plastic bags from the produce section at the grocery store.
- Wrap presents with used newspaper or kids’ painting projects.
Make changes from your laptop
Nearly all of us spend large amounts of time at our home computer or laptop. After you’ve perused your news websites and checked social media pages, take a few moments to:
- Visit earthday.org to sign petitions and share stories on Facebook and Twitter.
- Pick a phone, water, or energy bill or bank statement and follow the instructions for paperless statements and online bill pay.
- Research how to reduce the junk mail being delivered to your house.
- Turn off your computers at night, rather than putting them in sleep mode.
Yard care and car maintenance
Keeping your car properly maintained and switching to organic gardening and pesticide and herbicide-free yard care helps decrease pollution and dangerous chemicals in our ground water and soil.