Honor Earth Day with 10 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Planet
With Earth Day arriving this weekend, the focus is on the environment and how we can save it.
While politicians and community leaders are leading an ongoing charge to make large changes to how to get and use energy, everyone can do his or her part with some small steps around the house or in your daily routine.
Here's a look at 10 things you can do right now that will have you doing your part:
RIDE A BIKE
Even a child could tell you that cars are bad for the environment, yet we are so reliant on them to get around that we ignore the environmental concerns at play. Well, let's change that. Fetch that old bike from your garage and give it the old spin. Choose it as a form of transportation to shuttle you locally, or even to work. You'll feel better, too, since it's a great form of exercise. You'll feel good about yourself and, with the rising gas costs, save yourself some significant money, too.
USE RESEALABLE CONTAINERS
It's a small cost, but well worth it to invest in some strong containers that will last you for years. And cut down your costs on items like plastic bags or other non-green containers. If you have a durable container, you might even find yourself trying out new dishes or soups that you wouldn't have considered making before. Worrying about how we store and keep our food is the first step toward advancing past it.
SHUT THE FAUCET
It's not something we stop to think about too often, but how much water do you waste every day? Well, cut it out. It's easy, and it'll save you money in the long run. When you are brushing your teeth, do you turn off the faucet? Do you run the shower for a while before stepping in? Are you doing unnecessary loads of laundry? Get serious about water and only use what you need. You'll be thankful you did when the water bill arrives.
Wasting food is so common that we don't really factor in the costs -- monetary or environmental -- when we shop. But we should. If you make a list and don't purchase unnecessary items, you'll be more likely to stick with a diet and game plan for meals. Buy enough for yourself and your family, but cut down on the rest. And for heaven's sake, if you do have leftovers that you won't get to, share it with someone who needs it. Don't throw anything out unless it's spoiled; someone could benefit from it.
CANCEL JUNK MAIL
It comes without warning. However, all that unwanted junk mail takes its toll on more than just your sanity. The paper it's printed on is worth something, even if it only amounts to pennies. For the sake of the environment, get yourself removed from mailing lists that you don't wish to send you materials. And you might find your peeks into your mailbox a bit more pleasant for it.
LET IN THE BREEZE
As temperatures rise and spring sets in, houses can get super hot. Fight your instinct to turn on the AC. Instead, open windows and let in the cool breeze. Americans spend far too much on heat and air conditioning every year, and it takes its toll. Next time trust the air to cool you down. It may even calm you, as well.
PICK UP LITTER
There's so much litter around that you hardly even notice it when you pass by. Let's change that right away. When you pass a stray wrapper on the ground, stop to pick it up. Once you start looking for litter, you'll find it practically everywhere. If everyone paid more attention, the world would look cleaner and stave off unnecessary deterioration. And doing your part here comes with an additional benefit: personal pride of knowing you've performed a civic good.
WATCH WHAT YOU USE TO CLEAN
What you use to clean could actually be hurting the earth. Many cleaning supplies are hazardous to your health and should be avoided if possible. Using homemade solutions like salt, water and baking soda go a long way to solve many spills and spots.
EAT LESS MEAT
Yes, what you eat matters. Why? Well, meat doesn't come easy, and there is pollution involved in getting it from the fields to your dining room table. Challenge yourself to at least cut back on the amount of meat you're eating, and try to gravitate more toward healthier options. Meat can be good for you, too, but in moderation. And we'll all benefit from this small personal sacrifice.
Where you shop matters. All those vegetables, cereals and meats start somewhere far away from your home, and they travel via truck to get to stores. By shopping local, though, you can cut the costs involved. Find out where the food you enjoy is grown and prepared. By keeping it local, even if it's the same product you always have, you will be doing your part.