Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eco-Ed's Tips for Earth Day

Earth Day began 41 years ago, on April 22nd, 1970 and is more widely celebrated every year.  There are many ways that you can celebrate Earth Day and they are all correct.  

Some of the actions you can take are:

Purchasing a more fuel efficient vehicle, or driving less will reduce the amount of gas you use.  Walking into town instead of driving, or riding a bicycle has the added benefit of getting you in better shape physically.  You may be surprised at how wonderful you feel when become more physically active.

Choosing to eat less meat, or become vegetarian, as raising beef has an extremely high carbon footprint.   Even enjoying a vegetarian meal once in a while is a step in the right direction, and you may enjoy the new epicurean experience!

Save energy at home.  I always recommend starting with an energy audit, so you can understand where you are using and wasting energy.  Once this is accomplished, you can then prioritize the steps to take to reduce that energy use.  The simplest steps which everyone can do, are to turn off lights when not in the room, and replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED ones.  Look for Energy Star appliances.  No step is too small.

Shop locally.  This supports local businesses, and reduces the amount of travel to stores.  Many towns have Farmer's Markets, which have excellent locally-grown produce.

Attend a local Earth Day event for ideas on environmentally sound practices, products and services.  Our event in Ridgewood will be on May 14th (a little late for Earth Day, but it will coincide with the Sidewalk Sale event).  The RHS Student Environmental Action group is sponsoring a drive for people to Do One Thing (DOT).  This is their personal sustainability pledge that everyone can take.  This pledge asks people to choose one thing that they can commit to doing which will benefit our planet.  Other towns will also be having Earth Day events, so check the papers for one nearest you.

Plant a tree.  You can do this in your yard, or in a park on town property (with proper permission).  How cool would it be to plant a beautiful old growth specimen that your grandchildren can climb and look at, and know that you planted it for future generations!

The additional benefit of most of these activities is that they save you money, or support the local economy!  Everyone has different passions, so I suggest that you follow yours, as it will bring you the most personal satisfaction.  

What I have found is that your first step will be emotionally fulfilling, and you never know where it leads.  The journey is always the fun part!

"Eco-Ed" Schwartz

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