Here’s what you can do to have a positive impact.
Be a bag lady (or man). Keep a
supply of old-fashioned totes with you
on your shopping trips. Such bags are
reusable, washable, easy to carry, fold
and store, and they serve a multitude of
purposes. Unlike supermarket plastic
bags, they don’t break, tear or pollute
the world’s water systems. Reuse those
plastic newspaper sleeves to collect
your doggie’s doo on walks. It keeps it
from washing into bays, rivers and lakes
– and makes for happier neighbors too.
Clean with green.
Eco-friendly cleaning products
work naturally and without unpleasant (and potentially dangerous) chemical residue.
They are safe, non-toxic, bio –
degradable and don’t harm the environment. Research cleaning products by
going to the nonprofit Environmental
Working Group (EWG) site at ewg.org.
Cool it with the cooling (and the
heating). Air conditioners, furnaces and
heat pumps account for a whopping
46 percent of the average American
electric bill. Consider programmable
digital thermostats and other smart
devices, which can help you regulate
temperatures and save you money.
Screen your sunscreen. Key West and
Hawaii have approved a ban on sunscreen
products containing oxybenzone
and octinoxate, both of which can harm
or kill developing coral, as well
as wreak genetic havoc on other marine organisms. Some experts are
cautioning these ingredients may also
have negative consequences on human
health. Read your labels.
Composting is cool. About half of
all food produced and consumed in
America is discarded. A typical U.S.
household tosses nearly 500 pounds of
food waste annually. Home composting
can enrich the soil, eliminate the need
for chemical fertilizers, help to reduce
landfill methane emissions and lower
one’s carbon footprint.
Choose organic. There’s no question that fresh, local organic food tastes better than just about anything from your supermarket’s produce section. But the benefits of going organic extend far beyond the palette. Local food doesn’t require long-distance trucking, organic foods often have more nutrients, and organic gardeners shun harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Start your own organic garden today.
Energy takes a massive chomp out of today’s
household budgets, as utility bills average about
$2,200 per year. Save your hard-earned money by using
LED-model light bulbs rather than incandescent. Unplug unused electronics. Switch off your dishwasher’s heat-dry setting. Wash clothes in cold water rather than hot.
Go low-flow. Cutting back on water usage at home means a lower monthly bill and conserving a precious
resource. Low- or dual flush toilets and low-flow shower heads cut water use dramatically. For extra savings, turn off your shower water while soaping up, then turn it back on when you’re ready to rinse.
Be a good recycler. Flatten cardboard
boxes, recycle newspapers, paper bags,
envelopes, greeting cards, wrapping paper,
junk mail and phone books. Learn
and follow your community’s recycling
rules and remember to wash off food
containers headed for the recycling bin.
Be car-free. Automobiles account for
around 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in America. By leaving your car at home, you can help to reduce air pollution, improve your health and save money. This Earth Day, go car-free, walking for short trips or using public transportation for longer ones. Then make it a habit. A four-mile round-trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of our air. Consider a hybrid auto for your next purchase.
Earth Day is April 22.
Earth Day History
There was a day when Americans nonchalantly fed leaded gasoline into their powerful V8s, and factories spewed out smoke and other pollutants with little fear of consequences—or even bad press. To many, it was just the price of prosperity.
Then Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring came along to awaken the world to the dangers of pollution and its impact on public health. And environmental
disasters like the time(s) the Cuyahoga River in Northeast Ohio ignited into flames due to sludge and industrial pollutants helped pave the way for environmental protection laws.
On April 22, 1970, U. S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded the first Earth Day and
20 million Americans packed streets, parks and auditoriums that day to learn about
the dangers of oil spills, polluting factories, raw-sewage dumping, toxic pesticides
and chemicals, and concerns about threatened or endangered wildlife. It launched
a new wave of environmental activism and now is observed each year around the
globe by over 1 billion environmentally conscious people.