Fifty-Two Ways To Celebrate Earth Day

Fifty-Two Ways to Celebrate Earth DayEarth Day is April 22nd. Time to invest in our planet.Fifty-Two Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

 

By Anna Hessel & Wes Hessel

 

There’s Just the One Earth

There are several ways to make an investment in our planet, many of which have no financial cost or little expenditure.  In fact, being earth friendly can often save you money.  Here are fifty-two ideas, one for each Earth Day we have celebrated so far:

  1. Plant a tree; in addition to their benefit of taking in the carbon dioxide we and animals breathe out and giving back oxygen we all need; trees can help save on home heating/cooling. Choose a deciduous tree (one that loses its leaves in the fall) for the south side of your dwelling, which will allow winter sun to help heat the home, as well as provide shade in the summer months. For a northern or other windy exposure, opt for coniferous (that is, pine-type trees), which can provide a wind break against the cold (or heat, if you live in a hot area).
  2. Organize a trash pickup on the side of the road, a vacant lot, or anywhere needing rid of debris – let’s show we care for what we are blessed with.
  3. Don’t litter, ever – take a moment to put recycling and trash in their proper places; everybody wins.
  4. Plan a recycling event in your community – many things are toxic to the environment if not disposed of properly, not to mention items like electronics at the end of their life can yield back needed precious metals such as gold and platinum. But maybe they are just something you’re done with but that can help someone else, like donating cell phones to organizations who refurbish them for victims of domestic violence.
  5. Watch Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, and its sequel, then choose at least one thing to help stave off climate change – we all benefit.
  6. Some years back our church did a children’s musical and reception to educate the public about Earth Day – try something of this nature at your place of worship or school.
  7. Read the many publications available about pollution, global warming, and climate change – learn how we can all do our part.
  8. Educate yourself with virtual or in person Earth Day events – never stop learning.
  9. Reduce your use of paper – recycle what you do use; options like e-tickets save trees and curb environmental factors, as well as they can be easier to keep track of.
  10. Join a free swap group to stop items from going into landfills – save money in the process, too.

You Can Sustain…

  1. Opt for environmentally friendly cleaning products – clean with green.
  2. Use your local library to learn more about Mother Earth – keep learning.
  3. Choose farm-to-table food items and buy from local farmers – energy used in transportation is saved, and less gas emissions go into the air we breathe, not to mention the freshness gained in eating.
  4. Shop sustainably – for instance, ordering online can save on individual car trips, combining them into more efficient delivery routes. Also opt for purchases that include materials that are recycled or repurposed, and which are made with more sustainable and safe processes.
  5. Don’t waste resources – save water, for example, by not leaving the faucet running while brushing your teeth or between dish rinses. Turn lights off in places where no one is going to be for more than a minute, literally.
  6. Keep your car running efficiently to avoid harmful emissions – not only does it improve the air we breathe, but it also saves money with less gas used.
  7. Consider an electric or hybrid vehicle – more of the same as the previous choice.
  8. Use solar energy, if possible – even opening curtains in colder months during sunny times will cut your heating bill and use less energy of other forms. Active solar such as heating or solar cells improve the benefits significantly and can bring rebates or tax savings.
  9. Compost – even a small porch/balcony-type depository for used organic materials like fruit peels and so on cuts waste going to landfills, as well as offers low-cost, safer fertilizer. Countertop units are also now available.
  10. Use environmentally friendly household products such as paper towel or bathroom tissue. Look for green items where you shop whenever possible – recycling cuts down on energy used in manufacturing and gas emissions.

Save The Planet, Save Money…

  1. Choose Earth friendly items when remodeling your home, such as double or triple pane windows letting warm sun in but keeping the cold out, or vice versa with shades or blinds in warm months.
  2. When considering cosmetic items such as sunscreen, choose environmentally friendly companies, and, of course, cruelty free also – what goes on your skin can enter the body, so choose wisely.
  3. Biodegradable balloons are available for your next party or event, or opt for other decorating choices, as balloons can be dangerous for small children.
  4. Avoid lawn products that are toxic, not just for the planet, but for pets and wildlife.
  5. Wear ecofriendly clothing and use ecofriendly linens – items using easier to wash fabrics saves on washing costs and energy used, not to mention the environmental impact of production.
  6. Shop at thrift stores – they have many items for any budget. It’s a great way to reuse/repurpose and save money.
  7. Take military showers, which is to shut the water off between rinses – water and heating energy saved. Showers heads with built-in shutoffs can make this easier.
  8. Use eco-friendly bath products – once again, more recycling, lower waste, and less wear and tear on the environment.
  9. Put a brick in your toilet tank and invest in a low flow shower head – more water saved.
  10. Consider bar soap and shampoo and recycle any plastic shampoo or conditioner containers; also choosing containers which are designed to sit upside down when not in use will increase the amount of product you can use out of each product.

Make Good Choices

  1. Use zero or low waste grooming products that are sustainable – refills with less packaging are a good environmentally friendly choice.
  2. Take a nature walk with your children or pet – not only do we then enjoy the environment we are saving but we gain the health benefits of exercise and endorphins.
  3. A bath can be greener than showering if you take very long showers but short showers can use less water than bathing – try closing the drain one time while showering to see if the water accumulated is less or more than that of a tub run.
  4. Take a quiz to ascertain your carbon footprint to reduce it – we can always do a little better.
  5. Save energy in your home, and walk, bike, or carpool, whenever possible; turn off or up/down to use less and choose more active or sharing options for transportation.
  6. Go ahead and hug that tree, you know you want to – the Earth will love you back.
  7. Avoid excessive use of aerosols – we’ll all breathe better and stop erosion of our natural UV protection in the atmosphere.
  8. Remember to give a hoot, don’t pollute.
  9. Plant flowers – beautification, exercise, and viewing recreation, as well as the benefits of saving water with plants like succulents, or flooding mitigation by plants which can absorb excess water. And choose environmentally safer methods while you’re at it.
  10. Start a community vegetable garden – working together is better for our emotional environment, and can be more sustainable, not to mention the benefits of sharing, especially with those who are in need. Find services on the internet who can take excess produce to food pantries and banks, saving on food waste and helping at the same time.

Clean And Green

  1. Plant an herb garden – freshness adds to taste, and less energy is spent going to the store and for food processing.
  2. Put fresh mushrooms on your grocery list of sustainable foods – great benefits in multiple ways.
  3. Add avocados and bananas to your sustainable fruit and veggies basket – more health and uses beyond just as food.
  4. Create a pretty terrarium – a little more oxygen for the indoors, as well as a micro-environment reminding us of the big one, we all share.
  5. Post-Earth friendly tips on social media – it’s always good to share…
  6. Do a science experiment – try food science to learn more sustainable processes or learn ways to do things better for all of us; a good way to get our children involved.
  7. Make a do-it-yourself dry seed bomb – just make sure you use it in a place where you have permission to…
  8. Spread a pinecone with peanut butter and sprinkle birds seeds on it – instant, environmentally safe bird feeder
  9. Enjoy a nature-based scavenger hunt – more exercise and awareness of the beauty around us
  10. Recycle a small wooden box filled with pinecones, dried grass, and bark to attract insects that assist in controlling non-beneficial pests – call it a bug hotel…

Always Room for One (Or Two) More

  1. If you haven’t already, replace your light bulbs with LED-based ones – they use significantly less electricity, saving energy and money. They often have subsidized prices which make them cheaper.  But don’t forget to dispose of them safely, as with all things…
  2. Make each day an Earth Day – look for that one thing, as they say, each day, that shows the Earth it’s worth…

Earth Day is an international event that began in 1970.  For more information, and a list of events across the globe and in your own neighborhood, please visit the Earth Day official site at www.earthday.org.

Homeless Helping Homeless

Portland, Oregon is a beautiful city with a large homeless population

Portland, Oregon is a beautiful city with a large homeless population.

Just My Opinion:

HOMELESS HELPING THE HOMELESS

By Jennifer Troy

More Homeless Communities

Tiny house communities established by charitable agencies and social welfare groups for the homeless are sprouting up nationwide.   The primary concern is getting people off the streets and into a safe place. A big step. But then what?

Still Lost

What happens now that food, shelter and a safe haven to sleep at night have been given to these people? Is there any real expectation that any of them will re-enter the 5 day-a-week work world? Will they be able to move on into non-subsidized housing? Is there a place in society for them to return to? Even though they are off the streets they may still lack social, physical and monetary resources to keep themselves off the streets in the future. These people have been  lost and need help reintegrating back into the normal world.  Training and/or re-training is needed. Learning how to compete for jobs, interviewing techniques, correct language use, clean and presentable dress. All these skills need to be learned, before self-sufficiency can be achieved. Without such training the risk is more damaged self-esteem and failure.

Reality Bite

As I see it, what needs to happen within these communities is a mirroring of what life is like for everyone else working their way through this crazy thing called life. Not just three hots and a cot. But, a safe place to relearn, or learn for the first time, the skills needed to function and be self-sufficient in American society. A place where they can be given a “trial run”,  before facing the world again.

Bucking Trends

In many ways this runs counter to current trends. Many seem to think all we as a society need to do is  offer subsidized housing forever to the chronically homeless.  I believe that these people can do more and be more than we are asking of them.  “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” Chinese quotation.  Let’s give them more than a bed, let’s give them an opportunity.  Let’s teach them how to fish. This is where the idea of the homeless helping the homeless comes from.

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