Earth Day (the world’s largest civic holiday) has come around again! Isn’t it silly that we leave just one day to celebrate and __ our home planet? So let’s make the most of this one day for the Earth with a few simple ways to make the world happier … and let them extend beyond April 21st. Last year we suggested Three Easy Ways to Love Our Planet for Earth Day. This year we have three more.
It Could be Easy to Celebrate Earth Day … Every Day
Say No (thanks) … To Plastic Bags
It is no longer news that plastic bags are bad for the environment and people have taken steps to reduce their use (Chicago’s ban, effective this August – at least for stores over 10,000 sq ft). Still the average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in just 4 trips to the grocery store, so the point could use some underlining:
Plastic is the “the most prevalent component of marine debris” and kill trees and fill up landfills. Look, we all know we shouldn’t. And its not a hard thing to say “no” to, given a little planning. So this year invest in (or dig out) a couple of canvas tote bags and JUST SAY NO.
Turn off the Lights
There’s a lot of chatter about saving energy and I’ve never heard anyone say they WANT to waste it, but its still easy to leave a light “burning” or forget to flip the powerstrip switch at the end of the day and forget about the consequences. For me, its easier to remember to TURN IT OFF, when I think about where that power is coming from.
My college apartment had a sticker over the front hall light switch reminding everyone “I’m powered by burning coal.” It was a great cue to turn it off!
Here in Chicago, 44 percent of our power comes from coal plants, and another 40 from nuclear. While 4 percent is sourced from renewable energy sources, it pays to remember, every time you plug in or turn on, you’re burning up a little more coal. For Earth Day at least, lets make do with as little extra electricity as possible!
Drink Your Water Instead of Eating It
We’ve been talking a lot about water scarcity lately, especially when it relates to the amount of water it takes to produce our go-to food items. It’s pretty shocking to think about how much water it takes to produce a single grape (.3 gallons) or walnut (5 gallons). But the real kicker of the food chain is meat. It takes 575 gallons of water to produce a single pound of pork.
One pound of beef is 1,799 gallons to produce
(Since there are 450-500 pounds of edible meat on a steer – that means that a single animal can require nearly a million gallons of water to raise through its lifetime. Meat also takes big areas of land and other energy resources to produce. We’re not suggesting that the world turn vegetarian overnight (although, feel free to do so) but try cutting down the amount of beef in your life (it will be good for your health too) and certainly skip the read meat this Earth Day.
So there you have it. BYOB (bag), flip off the lights when you’re not using them, and have a meat free meal tomorrow and you’ll have given our dear planet a small but measurable boost. Happy Earth Day, everyone!