Today is earth day and it occurs to me that every day should be earth day. We all love clean water, pollutant free air, and a healthy mother earth. It really doesn't matter your economic status, your political belief, or your occupation, we all love a clean environment and want healthy living for our children and our children's children. The earth is a brilliantly designed and amazing planet that does an incredible job of taking care of itself but there are some simple and practical ways that we can help to limit our footprint on our great planet as well.
Here are 5 simple things that we all can control ourselves and do every day to help keep our world clean and green.
1. Reduce Energy Usage. Lower your temperature a few degrees in the winter and wear some warmer clothing and turn the thermostat up a little in the summer so the AC doesn't burn unnecessary juice from the grid. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying live in a continual sweat. I'm saying a couple degrees across a few hundred million people means a massive energy savings. The simple things add up. Turn off lights when you leave a room and don't use lights when the sun does just as good a job lighting your space. Turn off computers, TV's, IPod's, and all energy sucking devices when you are not really using them. Use "Energy Common Sense". The great thing about using energy common sense is that it also saves you money.
2. Reduce Water Consumption. Even Barney the dinosaur teaches the little children not to let the water run when they are brushing their teeth. He really is a "green" dinosaur and we can learn from his teachings just please don't sing those songs to me. It's pretty simple stuff. Don't let that water run when washing, brushing teeth or getting ready to take a shower. I don't think any researcher has yet to sneak into our bathrooms to measure how long we all let the water run before jumping into shower but my guess is that it can often be over 5 minutes of water down the drain before we even enter the shower. Then when we get in, how long do we just stand there and let the precious H2O wash down the drain? Maybe CSI Miami can figure out that answer but the bottom line is that we should be aware of where we run water unnecessarily and learn to reduce that waste. That includes watering the lawn, washing cars, taking showers, brushing teeth, washing clothes or dishes and all ways we use water. Water is more critical to life than oil will ever be so let's treat it that way. Mom was right, waste not want not.
3. Recycle. Most communities have recycling bins that we can use so this is a no brainer. Try to recycle glass, bottles and paper trash. The more we do it the better we become at it and the lower the cost for recycling companies. It might be a slight nuisance today but as recyclers get better it will become easier in the future and they will get better at separating materials for recycling.
4. Re-use. My grandfather taught me this one at an early age and it had very little to do with being green and had everything to do with being poor and thrifty. He actually had jars that he would keep old nails in after he had used them. Yes, he would actually pull them out of the wall and save them for future use. I asked him one time when I saw him do this why he didn't just throw the nail away and buy new ones from the hardware store. He replied, "Why would I want to spend money on something when I already have these?" Smart man. He reused everything and rarely wasted income on something when he could re-use something he already had. This is economic sustainability in action. Employing re-use as a daily practice will also save you lots of money throughout your life as well as use less materials.
5. Educate Yourself Green. There is an abundance of free information from the web regarding how to be more environmentally sustainable. It doesn't have to cost you anything other than time to read. Learn about sustainability, investigate simple things you can do in your home to be green and reduce waste, expenses, energy, chemicals, and other unnecessary and wasteful items. There is a lot of greenwashing and bogus information being passed around today regarding environmental issues so becoming educated on the topic can help you navigate through the green trash.
Hope this helps and have a happy earth day!