Today is Earth Day and everywhere I look I find tons of information about events, rallies, and celebrations to encourage people to live a greener life. What originally started back in the 1970’s as an ‘environmental teach-in’ observed by universities across the U.S. is now celebrated by more than 500 million people in 175 countries. It has gone from a slightly radical grass roots effort to raise awareness of environmental issues to a major holiday in only 40 years. WHY? Because people know, deep down, that we are seriously messing up our planet and in order to survive we need to change our ways. So why aren’t we living in a pristine world free of pollution, breathing clean air and dancing in fields of organic flowers? Because change is hard. It takes effort, time, money, and resources that are not always available. Do you ask yourself every year how to celebrate Earth Day? Keep reading and I will give you a few ideas!
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Rather than pledge to live an entirely green life (which really is pretty unrealistic in the long term) why doesn’t every single person pledge to make ONE change in their lives that will benefit the environment. Just one change in your daily life could go a long way towards solving many of our environmental problems. So, I am going to give you a whole bunch of things to think about this Earth Day and then I will offer you simple ways that YOU can help!
How to Celebrate Earth Day: Small Changes Every Day!
1. The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most of it is packaging and junk mail. Solution: Put your name on the National Do Not Mail List!
2. Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour and most of them are thrown away! Solution: Here is an affiliate link for a reusable stainless steel water bottle.Use that instead!
3. Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year. Solution: Buy a reusable coffee mug! You can even get a discount at Starbucks if you bring your own mug.
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4. Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage. Solution: Want to know how to celebrate Earth Day this year? Build a compost bin! Don’t know how to build one? Use this affiliate link and buy a compost bin on Amazon.
5. Out of every $10 spent buying things, $1 (10%) goes for packaging that is thrown away. Packaging represents about 65% of household trash. Solution: Hit the thrift stores and consignment sales instead of buying new.
6. The United States uses more than 600 million gallons of gas to mow and trim lawns each year. Solution: Invest in a reel mower and get a workout while you mow your lawn! Or, make your husband do it. Can’t find a reel mower? Use this affiliate link and get a reel mower delivered to your door from Amazon.
7. The average American meal travels approximately 1,500 miles before being eaten. Some studies suggest that this accounts for nearly 10% of all carbon emissions Solution: Buy local whenever you can. Use Local Harvest to find nearby farms and markets or just look at the labels on your produce purchases! Know how to celebrate Earth Day today? Skip the imported stuff and buy what is in season in your own area.
8. Approximately 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States. Solution: Buy at least one organic item every week when you shop. Skip the pesticides in your own yard for a safer place for your kids to play.
9. In the entire world, over 500 billion plastic bags are used every year. Solution: Use reusable bags whenever possible.
10. The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste. Solution: Recycle everything you possibly can! Use Earth911 to figure out where to recycle the things you have!
Now, do you have to do ALL of these things? NO! It would be nice but even if you just chose one single thing off of this list you would be doing your part to help save our environment.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.