April 22, 2023 is officially Earth Day. However, during the month of April you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Earth Day is Every Day” throughout social media, news outlets, and so forth. Well, no truer words can be said than how we embrace Earth Day, or Earth Month. Each year we learn something new, something that enlightens us on how we can help this beautiful planet and all the living things on it. While there are still skepticism on whether climate change is real, the bold truth lies in what you see around you and the environment you live in. Why there are fluctuating climate changes year after year is an indication that Earth is shifting and changing from the actions of her inhabitants. But there is also good news! According to an United Nations report, Earth’s ozone layer is slowly healing itself, due to drastic climate actions taken all over the world. It is estimated to heal in about 43 years as long as we continue on the path of restoring our precious planet.
You might wonder…well, how can I save the planet? I’m here to tell you…no one person can do that job. And no one can do it perfectly either. All it really takes is one small action, which will eventually lead to many small actions. We don’t have to spend tons of money buying an eco-friendly product, or ditch our gas powered cars to buy electric. We don’t even have to spend any money to be more environmentally friendly. We just have to take ACTION!!!
For some, being environmentally aware is a journey. For others, it’s a fast action, momentary clarity. Where you might fall in between is probably the easiest and most accessible to everyone. We can start our journey with a couple of earth saving tasks, such as using reusable grocery bags instead of store plastic bags. Then, as we see the changes that could make, we can add a couple more tasks. Below, I’ve listed 10 ways one can begin their journey. We don’t have to do things perfectly. We just have to take action with one small step.
DITCH PERFECTION AND EMBRACE ACTION:
1 – Look around you as you begin your journey. Do you live in an area where litter is practically everywhere? Or are your city workers diligently and regularly cleaning up litter and debris? It doesn’t matter where you live – there will always be trash and litter left on the roads, in beaches, and business areas. Strive to pick up litter when you see it. You don’t have to tour the whole city to do so – you can start with your area and instantly see the changes.
2 – Start within your Community. The best place to start is where you live. Gather your friends, family, and co-workers and choose places where you can do cleanups. Make it a weekly activity and help your community be more aware of climate action.
3 – Start at home. Your home is probably where you have the most control…and the most challenges. Getting your whole family on board to be more environmentally aware can be a challenge if anyone has opposing views. But keep it simple – start by recycling your plastic and aluminums. Sort your food waste from your regular waste. Some cities throughout the US has strict rules on how to recycle and what to recycle, so check with your city’s municipal and/or trash services.
4 – Choose to buy responsibly. Where you put your money can determine how businesses will act. Don’t want to spend money on plastic waste? Support businesses that create products meant to help the environment. Not sure what to do with a closetful of clothes you’ll never wear again? Think about what to purchase the next time you want a new shirt or pants.
5 – Choose organic. The word “organic” has been around for many years and there were some ambiguity in the beginning. People thought they were being “green-washed” into buying organic while not really knowing where the products were made or how they were made. Companies were jumping on the bandwagon with easy terms such as “made with organic ingredients” or “all-natural”, and inevitably caused confusion for real brands who were producing responsibly. Always check the labels and ingredients and better yet – do some research on the brands you buy from.
6 – Grow your own food. You don’t need a green thumb to grow food at home. There are many easy to grow plants that can be grown in pots or the smallest of gardens. Growing your own food reduces the carbon footprint of food shipped to stores. Your food is right in your own home, so you can choose what you want to grow based on what your family eats. The easiest plants to grow for food are: radishes, snap peas, cucumbers, lettuce, beans, and carrots. Start off with seeds to sow in your garden or planter, or buy organic and locally grown seedlings at garden centers. Growing your own food is also healthier and create an eco-system that helps pollinators and biodiversity.
7 – Zero waste/Less Waste. You don’t have to go completely off grid to be more eco-conscious. Being zero waste isn’t achievable for everyone, but reducing waste can be achievable for almost everyone. Consider what you’re buying and why you’re buying it. If you have children then that can be difficult to do, but not unattainable. The next time you buy something, seriously think about the absolute need for it. Can it be recycled or reused? Can you keep it for many, many years?
8 – Contact your lawmakers. Government who makes laws to help or hinder the environment needs to hear your voice. After all, we elect these officials and help pay their paychecks, why not make them work for us? Contact your legislators, congress, and your governors. Write letters, make phone calls, and attend public hearings when possible.
9 – Reduce Waste at school and workplace. Besides being more eco conscious at home, take on climate action at your school and workplace too. Check to see if your school and workplace recycles bottles and cans, recycle paper, reuse paper, and have a trash sorting program.
10 – Teach your children. Kids are the future and their actions to help the planet can start as young as possible. Ideas to get your kids and whole family on board:
start a trash sorting system where you sort food for Compost, regular trash, and any recyclable bottles and cans. Then be sure to dump them correctly and/or take them to recycling centers.
pack school lunches in reusable containers and make a habit to do so each time.
teach your children that it isn’t necessary to have new toys all the time. Trade toys with their friends or family members, buy gently used toys, or buy from brands that use recycled materials.
When it comes down to reality – it truly isn’t difficult to help the planet. The 5 words you can remember when you’re stuck in a situation are:
REDUCE, REUSE, REFUSE, RECYCLE, REPURPOSE
Happy Earth Month and let us know how you’ve helped the planet!!!
The Top 10 Earth Day Events of 2023
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