Is being eco-friendly on April 22 enough to maintain a healthy planet? Do you wonder how to make every day Earth Day? Well, WONDER no more. Yes, friends, I’ve made an acrostic from my article subheads 🙂 Remember these six basic areas in which you can ramp up your greenness 365 days per year.
Watch Your Water
Water conservation and sanitation is a huge issue worldwide. Here in the U.S., we can do our part in a variety of ways: Drink from cups and reusable water bottles; reuse cooking water on plants; keep water off while brushing your teeth; install water-efficient showerheads, faucets and toilets; divert rainwater to your lawn or garden with a rain barrel. Here are 100+ ways to conserve water.
Opt for Less Stuff
Poet, designer and social activist William Morris once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This is a good mantra to follow to keep us from shopping casually and impulsively. Less stuff = less packaging and waste = happier planet. Learn how less stuff can also mean a happier you.
Nestle in Nature Every Day
Being outdoors—whether in the woods, a playground or by the ocean—reminds us how we are a small piece of the larger picture. It’s definitely much harder to care about the earth when we’re glued to a computer screen or tuned in to our headphones rather than the world around us. A daily dose of fresh air can improve immunity, decrease stress, energize and inspire us. Try it!
Ditch Red Meat
Studies show that beef has the biggest food-related carbon footprint on the planet, requiring more land, water, feed and fertilizer—not to mention the inefficient eating process of cows. Red meat requires 28 times more land than white meat, 160 times more land than wheat or rice, and produces 5 to 11 times more greenhouse gases. Yikes! Save that burger for special occasions, and focus most of your meals on small footprint foods like chicken, fish, pork, beans and veggies.
Exercise Transportation Alternatives
In 2013, cars accounted for 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, second only to electricity. Plus cars lead to road rage, accidents, and parking tickets. You can get your exercise by exercising transportation alternatives. Choose a day or two each week where you carpool, take the bus, or bike to work. Walk more, drive less, combine errands, or as the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Council so cleverly put it, “Burn carbohydrates instead of hydrocarbons.” (source)
Go beyond what your city accepts in the weekly recycling bins. You can find a new life for almost anything these days. Recycle your old clothes, shoes and books through donations; yard and food waste (including tea leaves, coffee grinds and paper scraps) by composting; old cell phones, electronics and appliances at Best Buy (and other locations). You can even recycle used motor oil, breast pumps, Ziploc bags and dog poop. And don’t forget to recycle your organs after you’re dead.