Recycling and reusing aren’t just for hippies and environmentalists. The message of Earth Day 2015 is that good stewardship is an agenda we can all get behind. Small changes can make a difference at a time when our planet needs a hand.
Humans haven’t always taken good care of Mother Nature. In the past 50 years, we've consumed more natural resources than in all previous history combined, according to Eco Cycle. Between 1905 and 2005, global oil consumption grew eightfold, production of metals increased by 600 percent, and natural resource extraction grew by 50 percent. Today, more than 100 billion pieces of junk mail get delivered in the U.S. alone -- that’s about 848 pieces per household. A single U.S. supermarket goes through more than 60 million paper bags on average every year.
Because of the burning of fossil fuels, there is now more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere than at any other time in the last 800,000 years, according to dosomething.org. Increased carbon has been the driving force behind global warming, which affects nearly every ecosystem, large and small.
Scientists say it’s time we cleaned up our act. What better way to make a positive change than on Earth Day? Here are 15 ways to commemorate the Earth Day, because Mother Nature deserves some appreciation.
1. Start a pledge board at work or at school. Use a whiteboard or provide a pad of Post-its for people to record their environmental pledges for the year. Ask friends and co-workers to make small changes -- “I won’t leave the water running while I brush my teeth,” or “I will turn the lights off when I leave a room” -- and then to post those pledges for all to see. Working together boosts accountability!
2. Attend an Earth Day fair. You’ll get the chance to test environmentally friendly products, eat locally grown food and chat with people who are making a difference when it comes to the environment. You can search for Earth Day events in your area by clicking here.
3. Get plugged into a group. Joining an environmental group is one of the best ways to get involved in the global cleanup effort. Make a donation, put in some volunteer hours, or simply learn about the environment. Here’s a list of some groups to get you started.
4. Make a recycling plan. Know what you can and can’t recycle, and start separating out those cans and bottles!
5. Fix those leaky faucets. Drip, drip, drip. You’ve put off repairing that leaky faucet project for some time now. Make a beeline for the hardware store! Only 1 percent of Earth’s water is drinkable, and our supply is slowly running out. Earth Day should prompt you to stop wasting water and fix those leaks.
6. Plant a tree. Simple. Effective. Easy.
7. Find a carpool service. Taking cars off the road is one of the best ways to combat climate change. Find people in your area with whom to share morning and afternoon commutes.
8. Give up bottled water. Bottled water consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels to produce and transport, and most of those recyclable water bottles end up in landfills. Get yourself a refillable and permanent water bottle to carry with you. You’ll save money on the cost of all those water bottles, too!
9. Start buying local. Locally grown food is easier on the environment. You’re also supporting local farmers, and they’ll thank you for it!
10. Go paperless. Bills come in many forms -- mostly on paper. But many bill-paying services offer an option to pay online. Make a point to go paperless.
11. Make a birdhouse. Birdhouses can be installed around schoolyards or even sold to raise money at an environmental fundraiser.
12. Make a play garden. This is a space for kids to get their hands dirty. You can help them plant various flowers, vegetables and more. They’ll love watching them grow and tasting the fruits of their labor.
13. Write a letter to your local representative. Reaching out to elected officials and voicing your concerns over local environmental issues is one of the best ways to have your voice heard.
14. Organize a community cleanup. Get a group together to clean up your local park, schoolyard or beach.
15. Walk to school. It keeps you out of the car, and it's great exercise!