This Earth Day tens of thousands of people will take part in environmental awareness activities big and small. But you don't have to join the crowd to do your part for the planet. Many positive changes and habits that are good for the world begin at home.
The 3 R's
Reduce, reuse and recycle are the three environmental habits that make a difference.
Start by reducing what you bring into your home in the first place. If something is on your shopping list, take a moment to decide if that means you absolutely have to purchase it brand new. Maybe you could find it at a garage sale or a secondhand store. Maybe the item could be rented or borrowed from a friend or neighbor.
If purchasing is the only option, make smart choices about what you bring home from the store. Opt for items in the least amount of packaging to reduce the trash you're generating. Anyone who has ever purchased a child's toy that comes in a cardboard box, with a plastic clamshell inside and dozens of plastic ties anchoring the item onto another piece of cardboard has experienced over-packaging firsthand!
Of course you brought the new things home in reusable bags, didn't you? If not, you should have. It's a simple move that makes a big difference. Just make sure to put your totes away somewhere where you won't forget them for next time (in the car? In the foyer?).
Before you throw an item away, think about ways to keep it from taking up space in a landfill. Is the item in good enough shape to sell secondhand at a garage sale or through an online posting? Is it an item that could be useful if donated to the right person or charity? Or how about re-purposing the item? Junior might have outgrown that changing table but maybe it could become a toy organizer inside his closet. At the very least donate it to the next new parent.
Around the House
Take a tour of your home and look for places where you can make earth-friendly choices.
Replace incandescent light bulbs around the house with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs.
Take shorter showers and install low-flow showerheads that use less water.
Be mindful not to send kitchen grease or toxic substances down the drain.
Turn off the taps while brushing teeth or shaving so that water isn't wasted.
Wash clothes in cold water and hang them to dry whenever possible, instead of using a clothes dryer.
Program the thermostat for efficiency. In summer keep it set between 24C and 26C degrees and in winter opt for 19C to 20C.
Around the Yard
Keep your conservation efforts going outside in the yard.
A healthy lawn gives birds a place to feed and find insects and worms. Thick grass can also prevent soil erosion.
Grass does a great job converting carbon dioxide to oxygen and that helps keep the air clear.
Make non-toxic choices when caring for the lawn and garden to keep pesticides and weed killers from seeping into the water supply.
If you have room, plant a tree! They improve air quality and are a safe haven for wildlife.
Earth Day is a time to closely examine the choices you make and how they impact the environment. But don't just change things up one day out of the year. This Earth Day, establish new habits and practices that help save the Earth every day.
Earth Day Canada
By Carla Turchetti