Sunday, April 22, 2012

Make Earth Day Everyday!

Happy Earth Day! I was looking forward to checking out a local Earth Day festival but if its gonna rain all day I may have to think of something else to do. So what can we do to celebrate the earth everyday?

1. Recycle – I know some people do not believe in Recycling but I just can’t understand that in this day and age. It also does not take a lot of effort to recycle. You can also encourage local business to recycle.

2. Bring your own water bottle- Everyone could benefit from drinking more water so wherever you go, bring your own water bottle. You could even leave an empty one in your car. There are so many great bottles on the market, some even have a built in filter so you can enjoy good clean water anywhere. The amount of waste created from plastic water, soda, and juice bottles is staggering, about 2,500,000 every hour!

3. Use cloth diapers- You already know that I am a cloth diaper advocate but you can also use cloth wipes, momma cloth, family cloth, and the Diva cup to cut down on household waste.

4. Use cloth napkins- I grew up in a house that used cloth napkins so I have been a bit of a snob on this one. I remember going to a restaurant my senior year of high school and I was the only one in our large group to get a paper napkin. I asked for cloth because I don’t like the feel of paper napkins or the waste they produce. If you do go to a restaurant that uses paper napkins, do not grab a fat stack of them because you are not going to use them all and they will only be wasted. Grab one or two per person, if you need more I doubt they are going to run out.

5. Use rags instead of paper towels- You can turn old clothes, towels, or cloth diaper inserts into rags to use for cleaning, wiping up spills, or for any number of things. Then just wash and reuse. You will save paper, money, and repurpose something that would have been thrown away.

6. Be a thrifty shopper- Growing up, we got a lot of our clothes from thrift shops. There are a great place to find clothes but also toys, furniture, and housewares. You can also check out websites like Craigslist or Freecycle. You will save money and reduce waste, especially plastic which so many toys are made from these days.

7. Donate- If there is something in your house which you want to get rid of but don’t feel like posting for sale online or having a yard sale, donate it. This will help to recycle your item but also provide money or jobs for a good cause. Some charities will even come to your house to pick up items.

8. Shop Local- Shopping locally will cut down on the amount of gas you use and put money into your neighborhood. I love shopping at independently owned businesses which can be hard to find in the suburban sprawl of today.

9. Buy organic- When you buy organic you are sending the message that you do not want your food to be grown with pesticides and herbicides.

10. Use reusable shopping bags- When asked paper or plastic, say neither. I always keep a small reusable bag in my purse and a bunch in the car. If I forget to bring my bags in the store, I will bag them myself when I get out to my car. I also use reusable bags as gift bags. There are so many super cute bags on the market for the same price as a gift bag or wrapping paper.

11. Drive less- Can you walk or bike to your destination? Maybe you are in a mega strip mall and want to visit a few different stores, don’t drive to each one. Park in the middle and walk, you will save gas and get a nice workout. I saw a guy drive his car to his neighbor’s house which was literally around the corner, their yards were adjoining!

12. DO NOT LITTER!!!!- We have all been told a million times in a million ways not to litter, yet I see people do it all the time. I see people toss stuff out their car window as if the world is their trash can. This makes me so angry. When you see someone littering, call them out on it in a polite way. “Excuse me, I think you dropped something”

13. Take a hike- Go for a walk with the whole family and talk about the importance of the earth. I can remember spending a lot of time in the woods and camping growing up. We loved to be in nature and it was also a great way to save money on family activities. Admission to National Parks is free this week!

14. Ditch the Ziploc bags- Pack a sandwich in a reusable, food safe bag, use them for snacks, and storage.

15. Cut back on chemicals- Try to avoid chemicals, additives, preservatives, and food coloring. Read the label on everything you buy. Here is a website where you can enter health and beauty products to see how safe they are and a website with a list of things to avoid in processed food. Try to cook as much as possible and eat whole foods or foods with less than 10 ingredients.

There are so many things we can do to help save the world. Try to do something every day to make the world a better place. Be an advocate and an informed shopper. Let's not forgot about the oceans! We should have Ocean Day because the ocean is in such a sorry state. I know my list was getting too long and I could have kept going but please only buy sustainable fish!

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