We hear Leonardo DiCaprio talk about it all the time… going green. What does that mean exactly? Drive an electric car? Get solar paneling on your roof? Be a vegan? While yes, all of those things would help our often neglected environment, it might seem overwhelming to most of us. You don’t have to change your entire world to make a difference.
It wasn’t like we ruined this planet overnight. The decline in our air quality and ecosystems have been an ongoing process over centuries. However, if we don’t take action, it’s only going to get worse. Instead of trying to reverse the damage by turning your entire life around, small changes can help. Small changes can teach others.
One day, you won’t be here, but your children and grandchildren will be. Teach them to take care of their world and all of its organisms. Show you care, even if you don’t think it will make a change. It’s good for your soul and sets a good example.
Try out these 6 things to help the planet. Happy Earth Day!
1. Turn Off The Water While Brushing Your Teeth
Why leave the water running for no reason? Just turn the water on when you actually need to run your toothbrush under it. You can save up to 8 gallons a day just by doing this simple thing!! Bonus: the running water sound won’t make you have to go to the bathroom while cleaning your chompers!
2. Go Meatless One Day a Week
I know, I know… you need your meat. (Cue this vegan rolling her eyes, haha) But going meatless just one day a week can make a difference to animals, the environment and your health! Meat production produces way more greenhouse gases than vegetables, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — yikes! On top of that, the meat industry uses as much fuel energy to produce grain for livestock as it would if it were to feed 840 million people on a vegetarian diet! If you need more incentive, going meatless one day a week can reduce the risk of many health issues like cancer, heart disease, cardiovascular diabetes and obesity. Check out these awesome meatless recipes to get you started.
3. Spit Gum Into a Trash Can
This seems like a given, no? I witness an unbelievable amount of people spitting their gum into the street, the ocean, etc. I’ve heard arguments like, “It’s gum. It disintegrates,” or “It’s not harmful.” Well, yes, it is harmful! Gum is not biodegradable. It doesn’t just disappear over time. It takes cities plenty of time, money and cleaning chemicals and heavy duty tools to get rid of gum, and even then, some streets are permanently damaged. Studies have also found gum inside fish, which are then consumed by people and other animals. Do you really want to eat some stranger’s gum? Gum does not just go away!
4. Recycle + Cut Harmful Plastics Into Pieces
It’s 2016, by now, you should have the recycling thing down, right? Still, so many homes and businesses don’t recycle. I’m from NYC, which makes recycling pretty convenient. However, now that I live in Nashville, our recycling is picked up once a month! There are ways to make recycling work in your area. Glass doesn’t get picked up in Nashville, but my job hired a service who does accept it. From now on, I am bringing glass bottles into work to be recycled. It takes a little extra effort, but isn’t our world worth it? As for those pesky plastic things that holds soda cans together, please just cut them up into little pieces before recycling. Too many sea creatures and birds have been harmed by them and it’s heartbreaking.
5. Go Paperless
For me, this one is the easiest. I hate junk mail. I hate opening important documents only to lose them. I switched all my bills to electronic. I don’t receive bank statements in the mail and I e-file my taxes. This is such an easy way to cut down on paper waste and it actually makes your life simple and less cluttered!
I don’t drive. Never have, maybe never will — so yes, this one is a no brainer for me. Walking clears my mind and makes me feel good about moving and connecting with nature, even if I’m walking near big buildings and shopping strips. I can hear birds, see squirrels and feel the air. Or if I want to add a little pep to my step, I put my ear buds in and listen to some good tunes — it makes me walk faster and I feel like I’m getting a workout in. Walking is great for you in every way. Once in a while, why not opt out of making a quick drive to the store and just walk? You save gas and finding that frustrating parking spot 😉