Everyone wins when you adopt a living green lifestyle. Earth Day is our annual reminder that protecting our environment is as important as protecting our spouses, children and other family members. April 22, 1970 marks the “birth date” of Earth Day, which many consider the beginning of the contemporary environmental era.
Unfortunately, too many Americans ignored environmental concern after Rachel Carson’s monumental book Silent Spring (1962) spotlighted environmental issues for the more than 500,000 people who bought her novel. Earth Day, championed by Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin), became a reality eight years later. However, living green was still not adopted by many until the early 1990s.
Earth Day is now a global event, celebrated in over 175 countries. Many communities now celebrate Earth “Week.” Parents and children worldwide can practice Earth Day activities year round to help protect and preserve our environment. As always, the little things people do make real changes. Here are some simple suggestions to conduct living green activities as we celebrate Earth Day every day.
Recycling. An easy, but effective green living habit, recycling is an important environmentally friendly activity. Recycling paper, glass, cardboard and plastic is a simple habit for every family member to adopt. Separating recyclable items from other trash will become a daily habit for everyone in less than two weeks of practice.
Reduce your “carbon footprint” at home. Governments, businesses and individuals generate “greenhouse gases” (GHG) that foul the environment. Common components of GHG are carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Understand that plants and trees use carbon dioxide to produce oxygen for us. Unfortunately, as the world’s forests disappear, too much carbon dioxide exists, particularly from burning fossil fuels (oil, gasoline, coal, etc.). CO2 lingers in our atmosphere, pushing away the oxygen we need to live. At home you can reduce heat loss through windows, doors and roofs. Reducing the use of electrical appliances, by turning them off when not in use, saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint. Similarly, driving your car(s) as little as possible lowers your production of carbon dioxide–and saves you money.
Eat local. Did you know that your supermarket food has traveled an average of 1,500 miles to get to the store? Think of the cost of fuel, drivers and highway repairs needed just to get your favorite green beans to the grocery store. Eating locally grown, organic food tastes better and is a wonderful way of living green. You also help your community by keeping your cash local as well. Patronize restaurants featuring locally produced food options.
Adopt the three R’s: Reduce, reuse and recycle. For example, buy things that use minimal packaging materials. Bring re-usable bags to the grocery store, eliminating the “paper or plastic” issues. The next best idea to eliminating bottled water is recycling every bottle you use.
These easy-to-adopt tips make a real difference. Celebrate Earth Day and respect our environment every day brings families together and helps our future survival.