To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and in light of recent climate strikes, events, marches, and other awareness efforts, we present to you a guide to live every day like it's Earth Day!
Earth Day falls on April 22nd every year. On this day, people around the world celebrate by supporting local and global environmental movements that raise awareness about environmental issues such as pollution, conservation, and climate change.
But since these environmental issues are complex and seem almost impossible to solve, many people feel overwhelmed and unsure of how they can do their part to support the environment. But there are many simple things you can do in your everyday life that will help, even if they seem small.
And when everyone chips in and does their part to make the world a bit cleaner, Earth has a chance to stay a bit greener for more generations to come.
Climate change is a threat to our world, the ecosystems that make our world habitable, and the future of humanity. Changing weather patterns are threatening food production and all life on Earth. And pollution is contributing to both climate change and unhealthy environments for Earth’s inhabitants.
While more sustainability initiatives are popping up globally, sustainability starts at the local level. In other words, when more people choose to live a sustainable lifestyle, the accumulation of individual efforts adds up to make a change for the better.
When you promote sustainability with your lifestyle choices, you are helping the greater good. We absolutely must make changes both large scale and at a local level to avoid causing further damage to our planet.
Here are easy green choices you can incorporate into your day-to-day life to live a more sustainable lifestyle and reduce your environmental footprint.
Though this is an obvious one, many people still don’t recycle all of the time. Often, people will throw food and beverage containers in the trash out of convenience instead of waiting to find a recycling bin. But almost everything is recyclable nowadays, so undoubtedly, there’s a better alternative to sending much of your waste to the landfill.
And if that’s not enough to convince you to recycle more, consider this: Recycling one tonne of paper can save 17 trees and nearly 26,500 litres of water!
Like with recycling, there is really no reason to not compost, especially if you have weekly curb compost pickup in your city. Composting keeps organic food by-products out of landfills, reducing the creation of greenhouse gases, like methane. And composting also replenishes farm soils, replaces trace minerals and organic material, reduces soil erosion, and prevents stormwater runoff.
Plastic is polluting the planet on a massive scale. While not typically an issue in North America, an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic are floating in every 2.589 square kilometers of ocean.
So, you can do your part by reducing plastic consumption and waste by using reusable bags whenever you go shopping, declining plastic bags at checkout, and avoiding the plastic produce bags.
Get some reusable bags and keep them in your car, so you never forget them when you go grocery shopping. Or find reusable bags that fold into a little ball and fit in your purse or briefcase.
And if you do require plastic bags at the grocery store, try finding a way to re-use them afterwards, such as lining your kitchen garbage can.
If you can bike, bus, or carpool to work, why not save yourself the extra gas money and reduce your CO2 emissions? Biking saves around .45 of a kilogram of CO2 per 1.6 kilometers. So, try to replace at least one car commute per week with a greener alternative. And set a goal to go carless for two days a week, then three, then four, then five!
When you buy local food products, you are supporting a local agriculture system and your local economy, which also helps to reduce the amount of emissions used to transport the food to your table. So, flex your purchasing power and opt for products that won’t harm the environment.
Plastics leech chemicals that are terrible for your health. They are also polluting the environment with both the production of plastics and plastic waste overrunning the planet.
So, opt for healthier alternatives to plastic bottles and dishes, such as glass or stainless steel. Using a reusable stainless-steel water bottle is an easy way to avoid single-use plastic water bottles.
Many household cleaners are toxic, polluting tap water supplies and contributing to smog pollution. So, opt for greener cleaners, such as biodegradable products or homemade cleaners—e.g. with vinegar and baking soda.
Conserving water and energy on a daily basis is an excellent way to help out the planet.
Leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth, or spending extra time in the shower spacing out, can use up several litres of water each day. If you turn off the tap while brushing, you could save nearly 19 litres of water daily!
To save money on your water and energy bills and help save the planet, follow these tips:
Most, if not all, financial institutions and service providers offer online billing these days. This means they’ll send your bills via email instead of paper snail mail.
Not only will you get your bills faster and be able to pay them on time with your online bank account, but you’ll also be saving plenty of paper and trees! For every household that opts for online billing, 10.43 kilograms of wood is saved, and over 13 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions are avoided each year.
Humans are part of nature. And if we have a close relationship with nature, we’re more likely to respect it, feel connected to it, and want to protect it.
So, try to go outside every day and spend some time admiring the trees, flowers, waterways, wildlife, and fresh air.
Get involved with your local community or global efforts such as cleanup and recycling programs. For example, you could volunteer to plant trees or clean up a local park. Or if your work doesn’t have reusable dishes or recycling and compost bins, speak to management about adding these to your staff room or kitchen.
The Earth is our home, providing us with clean air, water, food, and all the wonders of the world. But if we don’t take care of our environment, it will no longer be a hospitable place for us to live.
So instead of celebrating Earth Day just once a year, celebrate every day like it’s Earth Day. We only have one Earth, and it’s time we all did our part to keep it healthy for many generations to come.