Make Every Day Earth Day
Today is Earth Day, an internationally recognized day were citizens of the world are encouraged to think about our impact on the environment, climate change and conservation. Though it is great that we have a designated day to devote to these issues, we believe that little things you do in your everyday life to take better care of our planet is what is important. Earth Day shouldn’t just be a day, it should be a lifestyle. Here are some easy, but impactful, things you can start doing today and continue doing to keep our beautiful planet healthy.
Ditch Plastic Bottles Once and For All
Disposable plastic bottles are truly horrible for our planet. Even though we are encouraged to recycle them, millions still end up in landfills. Because it can take up to 700 years for a single plastic bottle to decompose, many of them end up floating around in our oceans and rivers. According to the Ocean Conservatory, approximately 10% of plastic bottles end up settling on ocean floors and, because of the salt water, never decompose at all. They then go on to be a nuisance and health risk to wildlife. Here in the National Capital Region, we are very fortunate to have access to safe and clean tap water, so eliminating bottled water and other bottled beverages from your lifestyle is not that difficult. Invest in a high quality reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day at taps and fountains. If you are eating out, always opt for water, juice or soda on tap as opposed to bottled if that is an option. You’ll also save money as water on tap is free while bottled water can cost up to $4 at some places.
Composting is a great way to stay green as it eliminates food waste from landfills and instead puts it back into the Earth to help new plants flourish! If you are a big gardener, this is especially worthwhile for you to do. There are tons of articles and Youtube videos out there that provide great step-by-step guidance of how to set up a compost system at your home and how to properly maintain it. If you don’t personally need compost, here in the National Capital Region compostable waste is picked up weekly along with recycling, so make sure to put food scraps such as bones, eggshells, fruit and veggie peels in your brown bin!
Upgrade Home Thermostats and Windows
Home heating sucks up so much energy and there are easy ways to cut back. Firstly, if your home as older style, manual thermostats, consider upgrading to digital ones. There are many different ones on the market and they are great because they have auto-functions that will turn off your heaters once the desired temperature is reached, can lower or turn off temperatures when no one is home, can be scheduled to turn on or off, etc. Many can now even be synced with smartphone apps so you can control your heating remotely. If you have drafty, old windows, which in turn makes you crank up your thermostat, consider getting them repaired or replaced. This can save you money and cut back energy use significantly. For additional information about window replacement and energy efficiency, check out our tips here.
Cut Back Car Use
While this maybe isn’t realistic in the frigid winter months, during the warmer months, consider alternate methods of transportation besides your car. This includes public transportation like the bus or train, walking or cycling. All these alternative methods help cut back on vehicle emissions which are harmful to both human health and the health of our natural environment. If everyone went car-less for even just one or two days a week, it would make a significant difference.