Showing posts with label help the planet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label help the planet. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Make a Memorable Earth Day and Make a Lasting Difference

Think one person can do little to help the planet?  Think again.  This Earth Day, April 22, you can start something big, and here’s five tips on how. 

Earth Day April 22 2013

But before we dive into some valuable Earth Day tips, let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard of Anne Moyne?  Elizabeth Chapman?  Before writing this article: neither had I. But the contributions of these two women to improving the earth's ecology is immeasurable.  How so?
  • Anne Moyne is the woman who raised the famed naturalist James Audubon. 
  • Elizabeth Chapman was the mother of the man we all know as Johnny Appleseed.
Both of these women strongly influenced who these two renowned men became. The point is twofold: first, that one person can in fact make a difference to the condition of the planet (as did James Audubon and Johnny Appleseed) and, second, that many a parent has influenced the world by being a positive example to their children. 

So, if being a world changer sounds too overwhelming, you can still be a world influencer starting right at home.  This Earth Day, consider being an example to your family, to your neighbors, to your co-workers.  While your actions alone may not noticeably improve the health of our planet, the ripple effect of your actions on those with whom you have any influence can have a lasting and positive effect, as can the millions and millions of individual actions undertaken in unity around the globe as a result of efforts such as Earth Day.  Here are a few simple ideas to get you started.

Digging a vegetable patch

Tip #1 – Make green things

Two great ways to improve the health of the earth’s atmosphere in your own neighborhood is to start a garden or plant trees. Plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis.  Plants also positively influence their surroundings, making the entire area more suitable for growth.

Planting trees or starting gardens are both projects that you can turn into family activities.  Even if you don't have a yard of your own, you can volunteer to plant a tree or start a garden for an elderly neighbor or friend.

Tip #2 – Reduce trash

Challenge your family to make choices that will cut back the amount of non-recyclable household trash. Consider giving them a goal, such as reducing it to just one bag a week.  Some ways to do this:
  • Teach your family how to identify recyclable waste and then commit to using a recycle program at home and in your neighborhood.
  • Find ways to reuse items that would normally get thrown out. For example, an egg carton can be a handy way for planting and germinating seeds.
  • Switch to brands of products that use less packaging – less to throw away!
  • Make more food from scratch to reduce packaging waste.
  • Recycle food scraps by starting a compost pile.
Compost in a wheelbarrow

Tip #3 – Acclimate to planet Earth

Between the heating and air conditioning of our homes, cars, and workplaces, many of us get little more than a swallow of unadulterated earth's atmosphere.  To appreciate the beauty of natural life and develop in your kids an interest in nature, take time to get outdoors and truly experience nature, whether it’s just you (being an example) or making it a family outing.  Ideas include:
  • Eat outdoors once a week.
  • Go for a hike.
  • Instead of grabbing an umbrella, go dance in the rain.
  • Open the windows, and let the outside air into your home.  A recent EPA statistic shows that indoor air quality in homes is up to four times as bad as outdoor air. 
  • Have an outdoor Green Earth party.
  • Read regularly? Get a backpack version of a folding chair, so you can seek out a nice, quiet vista, perhaps along a trail, and read your book or magazine surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Families at a picnic

Tip #4 – Green up your transportation

There are many things you can do to help your family reduce its "carbon footprint," such as:
  • If your town has a good bus or train system, consider making mass transit a family goal to replace some driving.
  • Bike or walk to work instead of driving. You'll not only be reducing harmful emissions by not taking your car, but you'll be doing yourself a great favor healthwise.
  • Carpool yourself and your kids to school, work, or after-school activities. 
  • Consider switching to a hybrid car or electric car, which can substantially reduce emissions.

Tip #5 – Grow your environmental knowledge

Here are some links that you can use to grow your own eco-smarts, as well as your family's knowledge of how to protect the planet.
This Earth Day, make it memorable and fun for your whole family. If you have some tips of your own for creating positive Earth Day experiences, please share it using the comments below.

Ric Moxley 
Contributing Writer