Earth Day is a fun way to celebrate the abundance given to us by the blue-green orb we call home. From beach clean-ups to day-hikes, people across the country come together to honor planet Earth. The problem is, most of us buy a plant and go home feeling sufficiently self-satisfied that we did a good thing for the planet. We then carry on for the next 364 odd days of the year in ignorance, or negligence (or something in between) of all the bad things we do to the planet. Here are some tips to apply 365 days a year, because Mother Earth deserves a helping hand:
1. Say no to single use plastics.
According to Plastic Pollution Coalition, Plastic is one of the most insidious human inventions. It is convenient, versatile, and resilient. This resilience is a blessing and a curse. With Americans producing about 30 million tons of plastic waste per year, the situation only becomes more alarming. Plastic never goes away, it never biodegrades, it only breaks into smaller pieces. If this doesn’t sound like an issue of concern, these micro-plastics have now been discovered in water supplies and seafood, where they leach a slew of chemicals. Now, how could the convenience of a single-use plastic bag justify all of that? Making the simple investments in a reusable shopping bag, (glass/aluminum) water bottle, and coffee mug could quite literally change the course of history.
2. Go to the local farmer’s market.
Who doesn’t love a good farmer’s market? The benefits are twofold. On one hand, you are getting fresh produce from relatively local farms. This reduces the carbon footprint of your food, because oftentimes the produce at chain grocers comes from faraway lands and may not even be in season. On the other hand, shopping at the farmer’s market often means there is less packaging (i.e. less trash) than at conventional grocery stores. Just remember to bring your reusable bags!
3. Go Vintage.
The effects of “fast fashion” are vast, and are only beginning to be brought to the public’s attention. The massive production of cheap clothing, typically from unregulated factories in third world countries, wreaks havoc on the environment and social equity. Try thrift shopping for something unique and well-made, after all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you’re someone who like routine and simplicity, consider adopting a “capsule wardrobe.”