*in the key of Cammy*
Happy Earth Day to you,
Happy Earth Day to you,
Happy Earth Day, dear…Earth People,
Happy Earth Day to YOU!
Wasn’t that fun?
Yep, it’s Earth Day again. Time for me to recycle the same Earth-friendly tips I’ve used for the past three years, with a few updates for 2010. As we work toward making ourselves healthier, there are a few things we can do to make our planet a little healthier, too!
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 whose bodies 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. Oh and speaking of landfills, I’ve noticed that since I’ve started eating heatlhier and have fewer packaged foods, I don’t need to put my recycle bin out every week (unless there be stinky stuff in there). This means that the trash pick-up truck doesn’t need to stop and idle in front of my house. \O/ Score!
3.1. Buy fewer products. Period. The economy is taking care of this one for many of us, but beyond that, now is a really good idea to ask ourselves if we really need everything we buy.
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.
4.1 Grow your own. Vegetables, that is. After last year’s experimental tomato plant, I’ve taken the big jump to FOUR plants this year. Within a couple months, I’ll be here complaining about the abundance of tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers I have, but for now, I’m excited!
5. Walk your errands (riding a bicycle is good, too!) every chance you get. I’m fortunate in that I have a grocery, drug store, and a few healthy-ish restaurants really close to home, and even more within a couple miles.
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. We just had “Neighborhood Clean-up Day” day last weekend (as usual, I missed it), but I’m going to carry a small bag on my walk today, just in case they missed some stuff. Or maybe I’ll venture into another neighborhood entirely.
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.