Earth Day started in 1970 to recognize the need for and celebrate environmental protection. Now, it is a global event, celebrated annually on April 22nd. There are typically many different festivals or events that occur on Earth Day with lots of activities to educate people on how to “go green.” “Going green” means to act in a way that is environmentally friendly that will protect the environment and sustain natural resources. There are many different ways (some simple, others creative) to “go green” this Earth Day and help make a difference!
1. Save Energy At Home
This is at the top of my list because it is the most common (and a simple) way to try to live green. Try reducing your utility usage (water, electricity, and heat/air conditioning) and not only will the environment thank you, but so will your wallet! Reducing the amount of utilities you use will save you money and the earth’s resources. Turn off unused lights, upgrade to more efficient appliances, reduce water usage, and insulate your windows and walls to conserve heat/air conditioning. Instead of sitting at home and watching television or playing videogames, consider going on a walk, exercising, learning to play an instrument (that’s not electric), or planting a tree! Distract yourself from the use of utilities for a while to make a difference and when you eventually do return to watching Netflix, please do so responsibly.
2. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
This is a creative option that not many people consider. Using just vinegar, baking soda, lemons, and soap you can make your own cleaning supplies that are environmentally friendly. What most people don’t think about when using regular cleaning supplies is if the product label says it’s toxic to people, wouldn’t that imply that it is not so great for environment either? Pouring those cleaning supplies down the drain, or throwing away a Windex-soaked paper towel, exposes the environment to these toxins. Some products are labeled as eco-friendly, but be sure to read the label to be sure. Even still, you are better off creating your own cleaning products since you know the materials used first hand and will probably spend less money for them.
3. Buy Used And Donate Items
Buying and donating used items (that are still in good condition) are great ways to reuse and recycle items. Unfortunately, not a lot of people like to own previously used items because they want the newest stuff for themselves. This is the most common mentality since we have been taught how to be good consumers. However, this has led to overproduction of goods and an increase in waste. Not only is buying used a good way to “go green,” but it is also a great way to spend less money. Garage sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, and searching online are all great places to look for discounted used items. Also, buying used does not classify you as “lower class.” It classifies you as smart, responsible, and caring.
4. Buy Local Food
Do you know where your food comes from when you buy it from a store? It is likely that it traveled about 1,500 miles before ever reaching your dinner plate. Think about it. You are relying on the necessity of oil to have your food shipped to you. Oil debate aside, this takes a huge toll on the environment and disenfranchises local farmers trying to make a living with responsible farming practices such as intermittent grazing. If you buy from a local farmer’s market not only are you supporting that farmer, but you are also supporting your local economy and likely buying food that tastes much superior. You are also reducing the distance from the source, which reduces how many people handle your food, how much time your food is sitting on a shelf or in a truck, and you actually decrease the risk of your food expiring too soon or picking up a bacterium along the way. Fresh, local food tastes good, feels good, and does the body good.
These ideas are only a few ways you can “go green” for Earth Day, or any day for that matter. Sometimes small steps towards living an environmentally friendly life can make a big difference.