I know Earth Day was yesterday, I’m a little delayed, but I think we should celebrate the Earth every day, not just on Earth Day. Most people don’t even think about all of the magnificent things Earth provides us with, we take them for granted. Humans are damaging ecosystems, exploiting non-renewable resources, and having irreversible impacts on our precious Earth. Here are some things you can do, right now, to have a positive impact. They may seem small, but if everyone pitches in, even small changes can make a big difference.
Most of the food we (Americans) consume travel thousands of miles by the time it is transported, processed, packaged, stored, and finally shipped to our grocery store, where we pick it up in our gas-guzzling cars. If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week composed of locally raised produce and meats, we could reduce our country’s oil consumption y over 1.1 million barrels every week. MILLION. BARRELS. Reducing that number doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
1. Know where your food comes from- and try to chose foods that are in season and local. Search for local Farmer’s Markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, local food labels in grocery stores, or plant a garden.
Eat more organic, locally, humane-raised animals. Or eat less meat. Factory farms, often confining thousands of animals, are major culprits in climate change. These mega-farms create huge amounts of manure that pollute the soil, water, and air. Animal factories also waste grain, water, fuel, and other resources. Even replacing just a couple of meals a week with vegetarian options can have tremendous impacts.
2. Conserve Water
One of the most valuable resources we have is freshwater. And we waste an incredible amount of it. Its almost impossible to know how much, but we are seeing the consequences of our wastefulness now. With the growing population, climate change, and our continued carelessness, water shortages will become much more common in the near future. Shaving irrigation water by 10 percent would save more than is used by all other water consumers put together. It might of been a good idea to keep the desert a desert…but we’re past that now. And if every person makes these small changes we can have a positive impact. Here are some things you can do now to help.
- How to make and use a rain barrel.
- Unless you have had a toilet installed within the last couple of years, you are wasting 4-6 gallons of freshwater every single time you flush the toilet.
- Native plants and flowers will be used to the conditions and therefore more tolerant to the natural water conditions of your area. Try to limit the amount of fertilizers you use on plants, and your lawn. More fertilizers means the lawn will be “thirstier” and all of the chemicals it can’t use will run-off into our freshwater sources.
3. Reduce Waste
- Compost organic scraps.
- RECYCLE- Support business that recycle their waste. Try to promote recycling at schools and businesses
- Decrease your dependence on plastics…they are killing the ocean.
- Use reusable shopping bags
- Use refillable water bottles
- Use glass or metal food storage containers instead of plastic baggies and plastic wrap
- Buying local and food in season will also decrease the amount of waste and packaging
Don’t wait for Earth Day, celebrate everyday! Make small changes and spread the word.
1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Barabara Kingsolver.
2. Scientific American