Are you celebrating Earth Day today? It's actually the 40th Anniversary, and while some say that our planet is in greater peril today, I strongly believe that we can begin to turn this ship around. If we all do our part, we can create a brighter future, a greener earth and a better place to live.
Last year I picked up and planted 3 baby trees from a local neighborhood earth festival in Winter Park, they were giving away trees to anyone willing to plant them. I picked up two maple trees and an oak. I thought the maple trees would help remind me of my home Country and they would be great at providing shade, cleaning the air and also providing a little more privacy from the neighbors. I love oak trees and we have a beautiful 50-yr old oak tree on our front property.
I regularly take part in neighborhood and local lake and river clean ups, where we remove trash and undesireable items from waterways so that unsuspecting wildlife don't become entangled in them. It really is such a great feeling to give back knowing that collectively our overall effort makes such a huge difference.
This year however, I have been so busy that I haven't researched what I wanted to do. It will be a litte more low key for me. We started a compost pile a couple years ago and I'm going to work on making it more efficient so the plant matter breaks down quicker. Exciting stuff, I know. LOL. I'm going to be incorporating some shredded newspaper as I realized this was a missing component, and I am going to start writing down the days when I need to turn everything in my calendar, which is once per week. :)
If you haven't thought too much about Earth Day, here are some events you can take part in within your own home town. Just type your zip code in to get the details. Also, you might be thinking about making a greater commitment going forward. Here are some great ideas, many that you can also involve your children in so that they may learn to make the best choices for their generation.
12 Steps to Becoming Greener
1. Use Less Packaging- Buy products with no or very little packaging and those make from recycled materials.
2. Recycle- Be sure to recycle all newspaper, cardboard and paper (includes paper towel and toilet paper rolls, envelopes, cereal boxes), glass, appropriate numbered plastics (without the lids/tops), metal cans and foil.
3. Commit to creating a Compost pile- Start a compost bin to break down all of your fruit and veggie scraps.
4. Receive Automated bills online- Unsubscribe from all of your current service providers' paper invoices.
5. Bike or Walk vs. Drive-Now that spring is here, vow to walk or bike for small errands vs. drive. It'll keep toxic chemicals out of the air and will require less oil resources so it you money and may even help you stay in shape.
6. Get on the Reusable Bag Bandwagon- Not only are they far more durable, they keep millions of plastic bags out of our landfills, waterways, trees and help keep our planet beautiful and green. Many stores now offer 5-10 cent bag credits per bag each time you shop, like Whole Foods and Target.
7. Banish Chemicals! Start using eco-friendly cleaners that are safe for your skin, your home, the air you breathe as well as our precious fish. Try Method, Seventh Generation, Ecover, Mrs. Meyer's clean day, etc. Here are some of my natural ingredients and tips so you can spring clean the natural way. BTW, did you know that vinegar has over 1001 uses? Check it out HERE.
8. Say No to Receipts when offered-this will not only save paper but it will eliminate the amount of BPA you come in contact with. Receipts are loaded with them!
9. Don't Toss, Post on Craigslist-if you have unwanted, unused items you can keep them out of our landfills by posting them for sale or free on craigslist. Let someone else enjoy them. You can also donate to goodwill and salvation arymy.
10. Keep Electronics out of the Trash-Target as well as several other retailers have recycle bins suitable for not only their plastic bags but also for mercury- filled electronics such as cell phones, PDA's and MP3 players. Mercury is a growing problem, help stop this cycle today.
11. Skip Bottled Water- Eliminate your intake of BPA and your carbon footprint by avoiding bottled water. Instead buy a stainless steel (not Aluminum) bottle and continue to fill it up with filtered water. We use a Brita filter and it is so much cheaper than buying bottled. Brita offers a lot of $5 coupons online too.
12. Save Energy-If you leave a room, flip off the switch or turn off the fan and don't let water run. It's easy to get distracted and leave a room to realize the light has been on for hours. If YOU are not using it, turn it off. It will save you money and the constant drain on our power grid.
One final tip would be to incorporate more natural, organic design into your home too such as organic hemp or cotton fabrics that contain vegetable or soy-based dyes. Don't forget to use low-VOC paint, there are so many brands to choose from. One of the best things you can do is reuse something you already own in another way or find some great pre-owned treasures from a thrift store.
For those of you that live in the Orlando area, there will be a Central Florida Earth Day festival this coming Saturday from 10-6pm at Lake Eola. I will be attending again this year, so maybe I'll even see you there!
With so many great ways to contribute, what will you be doing to celebrate our earth today?