Every year, Earth day falls on April 22nd. Throughout the world, we see people posting about the environment and lifestyle changes they vow to follow for a better ecological future. While it is great to see the participation, most people make these switches for the day (at most a week) and then forget about it.
When you think about Earth day, it is possible that the first thing that comes to mind is planting a tree and being done with it. While this is a viable solution, there are easier ways to go about “saving the planet”- simpler and more long term ideas that can be carried out daily. Planting a tree is a one time thing, and while it helps decrease a city’s temperature by up to 10 degrees and provides fresher air (among other things), there are other options. Here I will introduce a list of insanely simple ways you can make a difference.
- Ride your bike
According to the EPA, motor vehicles collectively cause 75 percent of carbon monoxide pollution in the U.S and while the U.S. has 30 percent of the world’s automobiles, it contributes about half of the world’s emissions from cars. A 2015 study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy concluded that a 20 percent increase in cycling worldwide could “cut carbon dioxide emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11 percent in 2050.” Biking will not only reduce carbon emissions, it also provides a great workout! For the occasions you can’t use a bike, try carpooling or public transportation!
- Buy reusable items
Replacing plastic items with reusable alternatives is a better option both financially and environmentally. With this, you don’t have to make the switch to organic shampoo bars and toothbrushes right away, you have the freedom to start small.
Bags -Every local grocery store has reusable tote bags, pick one up on your next shopping trip and then keep it in the trunk for future use. In California, shoppers are dimed for each plastic bag they walk out with, and other states are following their lead. They will be charged for each singular use of a plastic bag, a great way to prevent usage.
Water Bottles – Drinking from plastic water bottles is becoming an increasingly shameful practice. Water bottles come in more shapes and sizes than any other object, and with the limitless options, there is no reason to use plastic bottles. Despite the convenience of having pre-filled bottles, America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. That’s not including the oil used for transportation. With the 50 billion plastic bottles used annually in America, only 9 percent is recycled. The rest goes into landfills, water bodies and litter on the streets. Along with the environmental repercussions, the monetary spendings on plastic bottles is comparatively much higher. The recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water a day equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.
- Buy local produce
Through buying from farmers markets, you are not only helping support small businesses, it has a better environmental effect. The transportation emissions for the produce shipped to grocery stores and big name locations add up. It takes approximately 1,500 miles for the produce to reach the stores and the shipping causes pollution plus an increase of fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
- Take shorter showers
Shorter showers save water along with the energy used to heat the water. With a standard non-conserving showerhead spraying over five gallons per minute (GPM), reducing your shower time from eight to three minutes would save you 25 gallons of water. Over a lifetime of showers, that’s enough to fill an Olympic tub. You can also use low-flow showerhead to save even more water. (Get Out of the Shower.)
- Buy sustainable fashion
There are many ways to shop sustainably, from thrifting to simply choosing ethical materials.
Check out 5 Tips For a Sustainable Closet for more in-depth information and ideas!
On Earth day, I posted on Instagram, briefly describing 5 ways to limit your unsustainable choices.
Check it out, like and share with your friends and families to spread the word!