Many of you probably know that today is Earth Day (if you don’t, Happy Earth Day!). But most of you probably don’t know how this national day got started. The founder of Earth Day is Gaylord Nelson, a US Senator from Wisconsin. He founded this day, April 22, in 1970. Why, you ask? In 1969, there was an awful oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Nelson decided to build on the student anti-war movement that was happening at the time and announced a national “teach-in” on environment. April 22 was chosen as it fell between Spring Break and Final exams, therefore, more students could participate. On that day, millions of people took part in environmental rallies, while universities held protests against the deterioration of the environment. Because of the rare alignment of both political parties, the event was a wild success.
Earth has grown every year since. In 1990, it went global. Today, it is the largest secular observance on earth. It is celebrated by over a billion people every year!
With all of that being said, we ask ourselves, “Why only have Earth Day, one day?” Don’t worry. We’re not going to completely flip your lives around, but we do think there are ways to implement our Earth Day mindset, into our every day living.
- Turn Off Lights
By simply turning the lights off when you leave a room, or relying more on natural light, you save so much energy and in turn so much money. Additionally, replace all of your current light bulbs with CFL bulbs. These use about 75% less electricity than your normal light bulb, and last about 10 times longer.
- Grow on your Patio
Many apartment dwellers have a balcony or patio. Utilize this beautiful outdoor space to grow something of your own. There are so many types of plants that are easy to grow with minimal effort. Imagine picking your favorite veggie, right outside your door. Do you like using herbs in your cooking? Why not grow your own?! Not interested in growing food? You could grow flowers. Flowers brighten anyone’s day and are versatile enough no matter how much gardening you want to do.
- Go Paperless
Most companies that you receive bills from have options for you to pay online and to receive statements online. Some even give incentives for you doing this because it saves them money. You can also pay your rent online! Not only is all of this better for the environment, it’s better on your wallet because it will save you from any possible late fee charges.
- Use Different Products
There are so many products out there that help us reduce our waste. Instead of going through tons of paper towels, try a microfiber cloth that only needs water to be cleaned. Instead of paper and plastic bags at the grocery store, bring your own reusable bags. Many grocery stores will give you a discount for doing this! Instead of going through tons of napkins, you can invest in a handful of cloth napkins you can reuse over and over again. Investing in products you can reuse or use longer will be better for you and the earth. You can use stainless steel straws, CFL light bulbs, cloth towels and napkins, rechargeable batteries, a non-BPA water bottle, dryer balls, a toothbrush we a replaceable head, and so many more!
We couldn’t talk about Earth Day without talking about recycling, but we’re going to touch on the things you don’t often think of. Do you know what the most thrown away piece of paper is? Receipts. Find a place to gather these and then recycle them. Did you know you can recycle electronics? Some places will even pay you for your old phones. Money in your pocket, and less waste in a landfill… win-win! Did you know you can take old plastic grocery bags to most grocery stores to recycle? We totally suggest that you do this instead of collecting hundreds under your sink or filling up your trash can. Don’t forget, though! You can take other plastic recycling with those bags: packaging, Ziploc bags, the plastic six-pack rings, empty bottles of cleaner or shampoo, etc. An uncommon thing to recycle, but one that is definitely worth it, is aluminum foil. Aluminum is present in so many products. Fortunately for us, it has an infinite life span because all processors need to do to make it into a new product, is melt it!
Do you have any Earth Day, Every Day tips? What do you do to reduce your environmental footprint?