In honor of Earth Day 2009, I’m recycling last year’s Earth Day post, which was a post I recycled from my old blog! If ever there was good reason to post recycled content, today seems especially fitting!
These are just a few things those of us pursuing a healthier life can do along the way to make our world a little better.
1. Opt for filtered water over bottled water. In 2001, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reported that around 1.5 million tons of plastic are used each year to bottle 89 billion liters of water. Yes, we can recycle plastic containers, but do we really need to? How can we use our local water supply safely? Check out allaboutwater.org for all the info you can use about making your drinking water safe. (At minimum: why not commit to reusing half –or more—of the bottles you do consume?)
2. Eat less meat. Easy for a vegetarian, less so for those of us who like meat. But did you know that reducing our meat consumption (even by as little as 15%) would greatly reduce our risk of heart disease, diabetes, or stroke?
Why, yes, you say, I do know that, but what’s it got to do with the environment? Some sources report that livestock production is responsible for up to 18% of greenhouse gases created by humans. Factor in the amount of water required and the number of forests destroyed in favor of grazing land, and you have even more reasons to reduce your consumption of meat. You can find more info at eatlessmeat.org (At minimum: try going meatless one day per week by following some of these great tips.)
3. Buy fewer packaged products. We need more fresh foods anyway. By shopping the outer aisles of most grocery stores (bakery, fruits/vegetables, dairy, meat), we’ll cut down on sodium and other chemicals, for one thing, and for another, we eliminate a lot of packaging that will likely end up in a landfill.
4. Buy organic and buy local, when possible. We avoid those messy chemicals used in production and the noxious fuel consumed in transportation. Oh, and don’t forget to get yourself some re-usable canvas grocery bags. Opt out on paper AND plastic.
5. Walk your errands every chance you get. I’m fortunate in that my gym, a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a dry cleaner are close by, along with Subway, Starbucks, SmoothieKing and a couple of local restaurants.
6. Commit to carrying a sack and a pair of gloves on your walking route just one day per week. As you’re walking, pick up any trash you see and take it to your own garbage can/recycle bin. You’ll get extra exercise, your neighborhood will look better, and fewer items will be headed down the drain and into a local river or stream.
Those are just a handful of ways we can improve our environment as we improve ourselves. If you have more, I’d love to hear them.