Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day, ya’ll!
The one day of the year that is all about the mother we all share, Mother Earth! I’ll be honest, I haven’t always cared a whole ton about our planet (let’s be real, there was a time when I didn’t care a whole ton about anything but myself). I am glad to say those days are gone!
Every time I travel to another part of our country or another part of the world, I am blown away by how beautiful and remarkable our planet really is. The Earth has blown my mind and left me speechless many times, the least I can do is respect and care for her while I’m here. Today I’m sharing some super easy ways we can love and respect out planet each day of the year!
12 Simple Ways to Make Everyday Earth Day
Ditch the car or choose to carpool
Cars and trucks emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which contribute to pollution in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil our food is grown in. When possible, ditch your car in favor of walking or riding your bike. When that’s not an option, get together with friends and co-workers and start a carpool. It’ll also cut down on the amount of money you’re spending on gas!
Opt to pay bills electronically
Who wants all those bills stuffed in their mailbox anyways?! Not me, that’s for sure! My husband and I do all of our bill paying electronically and it is incredible how easy and organized it is. Plus the paper clutter in our house is minimal – which I know Marie Kondo would surely approve of.
Go Meat Free
The livestock sector, including feed production and transport, is responsible for about 18% of ALL greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
This is more then all emissions from ships, planes, trucks, cars, and other transport COMBINED.
The production, processing and distribution of meat requires huge amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water all while releasing greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our air and water.
Becoming an all out vegetarian isn’t in the cards for everyone, but you can make a huge difference just by deciding to go meat free one or two days per week. I am very passionate about this topic for two reasons:
- I believe the meat industry is incredibly cruel to both animals and people
- I believe as a whole, American culture eats way way waaaaay to much meat (particularly red meat).
It’s not healthy for our bodies and it is certainly not healthy for our planet. You can read about my journey to a meat free lifestyle here!
Plant a tree
A world without trees is no world at all, literally. Trees are essential to life. They create habitats and homes for thousands of plants, insects, and animals that are an important part of our ecosystem and the natural food chain. Most importantly, trees release oxygen that we need to breathe, and help remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the air.
Choose energy efficient products
We have come such a long way in terms of the energy efficient products out on the market now. Everything from household appliances to light bulbs are now – more than ever – being made with the environment in mind. This is great progress! Energy efficient products not only help the Earth, but save you money on that ever pesky gas and electric bill. Next time when picking out these products, look for the light blue Energy Star logo on the packaging.
Basic recycling is so easy these days it should be a crime not to partake! Things like plastic bottles, glass, cardboard, and paper products are easily recycled and given new life often in a different form.
But I want to challenge you do even more when it comes to recycling! Next time, before you throw something into the garbage, pause for a second and think if there is a way it can possibly be recycled. You’d be surprised at how many things are recyclable.
Last year we were able to recycle all of our old, non-working Christmas lights at our local Lowe’s. Our local grocery store collects plastic bags and recycles them to be made into park benches. Ikea will take and recycle your florescent light bulbs. One of my favorite stores, Madewell, collects old pairs of jeans (any brand), recycles them to be made into insulation for housing and gives you a coupon for percentage off of your next purchase at their store! How awesome is that?
Reuse, Repurpose, & Donate
If something still works, I just no longer want it or have a need for it I always always always donate it. Places like Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul take sooooo many types of donations. I send them clothes, jewelry, books, shoes, anything and everything so that someone else can possibly get some use out of it.
For a number of years I’ve been donating my old prescription glasses to my local Lion’s club. They collect them and redistribute them to poor communities around the world where it’s not possible for people to afford eye care and glasses.
Ditch one time use plastic bottles in favor of a refillable bottle
Plastic water bottles are made from a petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate (known as PET). PET is recyclable, but requires massive amounts of fossil fuels to make and transport the product. The truth is about 80% of the plastic bottles we buy ended up in a landfill and take thousands (yes, thousands!) of years to decompose.
I have a BPA-free Bender Bottle that I refill 4-5 time throughout the day.
Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store
Swap out paper and plastic by bringing your own reusable canvas bags to the grocery store. Some bigger cities – like Chicago – have even started implementing a bag tax. Meaning you get charged a certain amount based on the number of bags you use during your purchase. This has encouraged more and more people are starting bringing their own bags to the store.
Buy eco-friendly cleaning and household products
We all want a clean home, but a lot of the most common products we use are horrible for the environment. Eco-friendly household product have positive environmental attributes – such as, biodegradability, low toxicity, low VOC content, reduced packaging, etc,.
There are some really great (and affordable) eco-friendly companies out there that are making quality cruelty-free products with renewable energy sources.
Check out THIS article for some great eco-friendly cleaning products!
Shop Local or grow your own
Fish, vegetables, and fruits at your large chain grocery store are often flown in from all over the world. It’s nothing against these countries or their products, but it takes a lot of resources to get them from their country to ours. Foods that are grown locally haven’t spent days (or even weeks) on a truck being transported. I love getting produce at my local farmers market. The prices are often way better then the grocery store’s and the products are so fresh.
If you have space in your yard try starting your own little garden. When I was a child my family had a huge garden. We grew everything from strawberries, to tomatoes, to corn, to squash. It doesn’t get much more organic than that!