13 Ideas for Changes to Make for Earth Day

by - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Good stewardship and taking care of the Earth we live on is more and more a priority for me, so I have been trying to set more goals for our house to be kinder to the Earth. Right now, a lot of my ideas are about how to stop buying so many things that aren't in recyclable packaging.

It's amazing how many of the things also make us be a little kinder to ourselves too (walking instead of driving is great for the Earth, but it certainly doesn't hurt us either!) These choices can cost time or money, but if you can do better, shouldn't you try? So we keep making these lists (many of which we haven't done yet- we aren't saints or anything) and trying new things to do better, though I know we still have a long way to go

1. Quit using plastic straws! I have written a bunch about this, but if you aren't a toddler or on the run, you don't need a straw. Human beings make more volume of waste with stupid things like straws than they do with cars, because they are only used once. When a server tries to give you one, just give it back. If you don't need a straw in your glass at home, you don't need it when you eat out!

2. Turn things off at night- So simple, but I don't do it! Trying to get better at this.

3. Plant a Tree- Cliche? Maybe. But it's still a good idea. Some areas even have groups that go and replant deforested areas for holidays like these, but you don't have to go that big. Every tree can help to minimize our emissions, so it feels like a real positive step.

4. Write your local leaders about introducing recycling services or compost collecting- We are lucky to live in a city that prioritizes this, but they do because we are out of dump space! It's the difference between your banana peel helping something new grow, and your banana peel becoming one more thing in one oof those Wall-E cubes of garbage. Every town should at least have recycling available as an option, so if you are still throwing your cans and bottles in the garbage, do something about it!

5. Buy your groceries around the Outside- My friend Mindy says to eat healthy, only buy food from the outside areas of the grocery store (usually produce, meat, and dairy- ours also has cake which is convenient). This makes sense for nutrtion, but it is also the areas of the store most likely to have more local foods and less packaging. It's a luxury not everyone can have, but if you are looking to make changes, this is a good place to look.

6. Buy less red meat- Those cows cause serious environmental problems! Having at least one vegetarian meal a week can save money and help the Earth.

7. Just Shop Smarter- I know I can do way better about this, but knowing where my purchases come from and who I am giving money to could be the most impactful decision I make. Stop telling companies what they do is ok with your money.

8. Buy less, reuse, and buy used- Anyone who has spawned can tell you, you have to buy a lot of stuff, much of which you won't need anymore in just a few months. Buy used. You can buy used online, or find a consignment shop. Also, if you have a place you live, it's tempting to fill it with new furniture and stuff, but the more you can use what you already have or buy something already used and fix it for your needs can really make a big difference. There are so many resources available to connect people who are selling or giving away stuff, but if you see a need for this in your area, maybe it would be a cool thing to start?

Capitalism runs on convincing us we NEED this or that thing, the new version, etc. Figuring out how to be happy with what we have  (or to make what we already own work) is the big mission in this house.

9. Walk- Again, it depends where you live, but it takes 20 minutes or so to walk a mile, so anything within two miles is really walking distance, especially now that the weather is getting nice! I know this again depends on where you live (my brother in LA doesn't even need a car, but people in Franklin can't walk it out), but when you can do it, do it. Slowing down never hurt anyone's life.

10. Host a community clean-up or planting day- If you notice oyur neighborhood has litter or a lot of empty space, maybe this is a way you can help? Seattle has a ReLeaf program, where people will come help you figure out how and where to plant trees on your lawn. I wonder if you could do something similar in areas with a lot of rentals ore bigger buildings.

11. Use re-usable bags already! So many areas are outlawing plastic shopping bags, but even if you aren't from one of those areas, all this means is a simple change in habits. Now, we are trying to reuse the little plastic bags they give you for veggies, because they are like straws in that they only get one use.

12. Write companies about their packaging- If it comes in styrofoam or some other material you can't recycle, write their customer service and demand a change if they want more of your money. The more they get that feedback, the more likely they are to make a switch to one of the better options.

13. Grow things yourself! It's almost summer, so planting your own herbs and veggies is an option even in a window box or pots. We are trying to do this for the first time this summer- so wish us luck!

Ok, help me add to my list- what other small changes and actions can we make for Earth Day?

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