As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the global event has taken on a new platform for change. Gone are the rallies in the park and community trash pick ups as we shift to accommodate social distancing in light of our current pandemic. Nonetheless, activists and participants still band together from afar for the first ever digital Earth Day.
Do you admire Earth activists for their dedication to saving the planet, but aren’t sure how to do your part? To help you out, we’ve broken down a list of our favourite and convenient ways to make our stay on this planet as eco-friendly as possible. We encourage everyone to consider going green now, and plan for the future as well. Having a positive impact on our environment starts with small, everyday actions from the home and community. For now, let’s focus on making our home eco-friendly as we stay safe indoors.
In the Kitchen:
There are plenty of ways to make yourself, your home, and your environment healthier by being more careful about what you put into your body. Here’s 5 ways to change things up without uprooting your entire routine.
- Go organic. This is a far more sustainable alternative for produce. Avoiding synthetic pesticides and fertilizers results in better soil quality, reduced pollution, and healthier food!
- Try local (and in season). Fresher and tastier food comes with some positive environmental effects. Shopping local means less processing and transportation, so the environment and your farmers will thank you!
- Reduce meat intake. Livestock farming results in the over-consumption of water, soil impoverishment, greenhouse gases and potential animal suffering. Even deciding to just go meatless once a week will help the environment!
- Meal plan. Wasted food is a large contributor to landfills, where it produces methane. Avoid wasting food and money by planning ahead to ensure that the food in your fridge is eaten before it goes bad.
- Use scraps. If you can’t eliminate all your food waste by meal planning, use your scraps! Make soup, fertilize your garden, or share (appropriate food) with your pet to get the most out of your wallet and save the planet.
Lower the bills:
Seeing that the energy bill goes down is a great incentive to keep supporting the earth! How will you conserve?
- Lights out. Make sure that you aren’t using lights or electronics when necessary by turning them off. Switch to low-energy lightbulbs to make a bigger difference.
- Cool down. For each additional degree above 20°C that you heat your home, the heating bill increases by 7%. Try to stick as close to 19°C as possible as this is our thermoneutrality temperature.
- Think small. Bigger isn’t always better. Toaster ovens are a great alternative to conventional ovens because they are smaller and more energy efficient. Toaster ovens also add less heat to your home, lowering AC needs.
- Laundry. Heating water can account for up to 90% of your washing machine’s energy consumption. Save some green by machine washing cold and opting to hang your laundry to dry.
Into DIYs? Creating your own products for cleaning or starting your own garden can help to eliminate costs and save you and your planet from harsh chemicals.
- Cleaners. Reuse bottles to save plastic, and create your own cleaning solvents to avoid chemical components that could be dangerous to your health and the Earth’s. Good Housekeeping offers 8 great pantry recipes.
- Garden. Minimize your carbon footprint by eating as local as your own backyard, and eat with confidence that your food has no added chemicals. Add lots of leafy plants to absorb carbon dioxide too!
- Check plumbing. A faucet that drips every five seconds will waste 1 gallon of water each day. Use your time at home to complete some home renos, but save the bigger projects such as replacing appliances for after social distancing.
- Create cloths. If you have an old shirt that isn’t nice enough to donate, cut it into reusable clothes for cleaning and ditch the wasteful paper towels.
- Use a bucket. Even a low-flow shower head uses roughly 2 gallons per minute, meaning that plenty of water goes to waste while waiting for the water to heat up. Place a bucket in the shower to catch the cold water and use it to flush toilets, water plants and more.
- Change up the beauty routine. Look good, feel good, and do good by making your own cosmetics, using bamboo toothbrushes, purchasing or making shampoo and soap bars, and using eco-friendly razor solutions.
Back to Normal:
We are giving the earth a well deserved break right now, and we should be careful to be kind to it once we return to life as usual. Once the pandemic subsides, eliminate waste by trying second hand fashion, avoiding take out with extra packaging, and using cloth produce and shopping bags. When we are able to travel again, opt for eco-friendly modes of transportation and avoid planes and cars when possible!
As we stay home this Earth Day, this is the time to reevaluate our impact and make changes to our routines. Our planet needs our help, and we can make a difference. The Earth is astounding, mysterious and beautiful – something that we all love to explore! Help to ensure that there will always be something beautiful to explore by being kind to our ecosystems, wildlife and ourselves.
To join in and learn more about Earth Day visit earthday.com.
Comment below to tell us how you are making a difference today.