Happy Earth Day! This post is not going to be about making earth-shattering, extreme changes. I’m not going to ask you to sell everything you have and live off the grid, although I’d kind of like to do that myself.
This post is going to focus on the baby steps you can take to help the the environment on a daily basis. If every person just does a few small things here and there to recycle, reuse, and save energy it makes a big impact.
10 Easy Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Every Day
- Purchase reusable grocery bags and USE THEM! It doesn’t help if you leave them in your car when you shop! It makes me cringe to stand behind someone in line at the grocery store who loads their cart with 10 plastic bags, each filled with two or three items. On a financial note, don’t you realize that those bags cost your grocery store money? Guess who absorbs the cost? You, of course. Even faithful reusable bag carriers like me have to absorb the cost for the two-items-per-bag crowd. Some grocery stores are nice enough to acknowledge the money that reusable bag carrying customers save the company by giving them a few cents off per bag.
- Combine trips. This is another one that saves you money and the environment. It also saves you time. Plan your route efficiently. Think about what you can do on your way home from work or on you way back from picking up the kids. Try to carpool whenever possible.
- Turn off lights. This sounds too easy, but we are creatures of habit and we are wasteful. Do you really need to have the light on when we are watching TV in the evening? At risk of sounding like your mother, “Does every light in the house need to be on? You can only be in one room at once!”
- Recycle. This sounds easy and most of you (I hope) are already recycling in your home. But, are you recycling when you are outside the home? It’s not much of an inconvenience to carry an empty water bottle until you find a recycling receptacle. If you don’t have recycling at work, bring scrap paper and other recyclables home with you.
- Go to bed early. If you go to bed early, you are using less electricity. You will awake refreshed and will be more productive. Not much productive happens at night. It’s a lot of TV watching and playing around on the Internet. Getting good sleep is essential for optimum health. TV is not.
- Use native plants. I discussed this in my April Environmental Challenge. Native plants are just that – native to your region. They are supposed to be there. Native plants attract butterflies and honeybees. Their root systems prevent erosion. Landscaping with native plants is rewarding to the gardener and beneficial to the environment.
- Donate. Some people have time, but no money. Other people have money, but no time. Donate your resources to a favorite environmental organization. If all you can afford is $1 a month or 1 hour a month, that’s $12 or 12 hours of service toward that organization’s goals.
- Buy local. When you buy local, you support small business and reduce the need for shipping products long distances. In the case of produce, you will get fresh, just picked, ripe fruits and veggies. You will also be able to ask the farmer or shop owner questions about the produce, meat, eggs, etc. to find out their growing and grazing practices.
- Buy used. This will save money and the environment. I discussed buying used clothes earlier this month. There are some great, stylish consignment stores. Buying used furniture can save you tons of money and can add some character to your home. You don’t have to be a shabby-chic crafter, either. You can find antiques in great condition for less than new furniture. I don’t know about you, but I like owning furniture that was made over 100 years ago by hand versus something that was mass-produced a few months ago using particle board and toxic varnish.
- Don’t buy anything. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. When you buy things you don’t need, you are contributing to unnecessary production, pollution, and consumerism. Little plastic trinkets that look cute on the shelf took energy and resources to make, and they will eventually end up in a landfill.
None of these things are hard, but can go a long way toward changing the world.
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