blue marble image earth day

Earth Day: Three (easy) Ways to Love Your Planet


Did you know that Earth Day is the world’s largest civic holiday and is celebrated in 192 countries?  It’s only fair that we dedicate a day every year to appreciating this little blue marble we live on.  And we could all be doing more to live lightly and keep the earth as blue and green as possible (the way we like it) so why not take today as a reason to re-commit to taking care of our dear old Planet?  

Here are three totally manageable ways to say thanks to the planet we call Earth:

Park your Car for one (1) Day

Plan ONE car free day – if not today then this weekend.  Try walking, biking or taking public transit … or just stay home and relax.  If none of those things work for you … take a few minutes to consider how you can re-adjust your life in the medium or long term to make them more possible.  Do you need to tune up your bike, or consider a move to a more walkable neighborhood?

If not driving for one day (this year) does seem easy, try upping the dosage – what would you need to do to drop driving from your life one day a month, or week.  Can you commute without driving?  Work remotely?  Run a few errands on foot?  If you really take this idea to the max, you might benefit from a low driving incentive program like the MetroMile is advertising all over town.

Spring Clean for Energy Efficiency

Spring is a high time for pollen, pet shedding and the general debris of winter all needing to be cleared out.  Clean your vents, replace your filters and, while you’re at it,  make sure that none of the registers is blocked by furniture which will make the whole system operate less efficiently.  Actually, if you haven’t paid attention before, its worth checking to make sure than the vents for your heating/cooling system are open and angled in the most effective direction.

Don’t let fixate on your HVAC system and forget air circulation.  Ceiling fans, if you have them, will do a lot to keep you comfortable without having to modify the temperature.  Swipe the dust off your fan blades and switch them back to counter clockwise operation (you DID have it working to bring the hot air down from your ceiling all winter didn’t you?) for the upcoming summer heat.

If you’re clearing clutter, make sure you’re disposing of it responsibly.  NBC Chicago has a list of earth day e-waste drop off locations for earth day on their website.

Also, if you have a bike sitting around used (maybe because you just love Divvy so much) consider passing your old one to  Working Bikes, a Chicago organization that accepts donations of bikes (or bike parts, crutches, sewing machines, and wheelchairs) and sends them to developing countries where they are used to get around, tow cargo and even generate power.  Check out their website for more info on this great program

Pick up sticks 

In the sprit of Earth Day being more than one day per year, there are continuing activities this weekend around the Chicago area (you don’t even have to take off from work).

Register here to spend a just few hours this Saturday (from 9 till noon) cleaning up your neighborhood park.   Friends of the Parks has organized a mass cleanup of the city’s park with volunteer coordinators for pretty much every green space in the city.  You’ll get to spend some time meeting like minded people in the community and enjoying the city green space while you improve it.

Chicago’s Citywide Clean and Green day is also happening on Saturday.  Neighborhood groups were supposed to register by April 18th but you can join a group that’s already planning to meet or you can simply pick up all the cigarette butts and winter glacier debris on your own block Saturday … or any day of the year.

Want To Do More?  

Click HERE to visit the Earth Day Network Energy Center websites for a long list of energy saving projects and tips, rated by impact, as well as energy bill tracking software, and a big calculator to figure out how much gas you could save by various mileage cutting methods.  Find rebate resources , an app for your phone and a host of ideas for greening your life in one very user friendly website.

We’ll close by reminding you (like Tiny Tim) to keep Earth Day in your heart all year long.  What can you do to love the planet tomorrow?