For over 40 years, the 22nd of April has been internationally known and celebrated as Earth Day. This day commemorates the anniversary and birth of the modern Environmental Movement which began in 1970. Even though Earth Day is in a few weeks, we believe that environmental responsibility should be a topic of conversation beyond one day a year. To start that conversation, this article includes 7 easy ways you can be environmentally responsible in your community.
The Back Story
After seeing the devastation caused by an oil spill in 1969 in Santa Barbara, CA, Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin, was inspired to raise awareness of its environmental impact. His idea was to launch a national “Teach-In on the Environment.” This quickly gained traction and on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans attended rallies nationwide protesting the deterioration of the environment. Today, Earth Day is celebrated by more than 1 billion people worldwide in more than 192 countries, and is now officially the largest secular observance in the world.
The Statistics and Facts
Although we have come a long way in reducing the destruction of the ozone layer and being more environmentally conscious these fast stats may have you feeling like we still have a long way to go:
- Less than 50% of Adults claim they always keep unneeded lights off.
- 58% of Adults do not recycle.
- The average American produces 1600 pounds of garbage each year, and less than 1 in 3 adults claim to reuse items instead of throwing them away.
- Each American uses 80-100 gallons of water each day and 30% of Americans claim to always make an effort to use less water.
- Over a 5-year study it was found that marine debris increased by 5% each year.
How Can You Help
Now that you have seen the facts, you may be wondering how you can help. The following are steps you can take in your very own home and community that will make a positive difference for the environment.
Limit Car Time
Although emissions testing has become more stringent, cars are still one of the largest sources of air pollution. While driving a hybrid will certainly help, it is also encouraged to use public transportation or carpool whenever possible to help lower the amount of cars on the road. Using a bicycle to travel is the most environmentally friendly option and is also a great way to stay in shape.
Get Rid of Paper Bills
Many companies now have the option to receive and pay bills through the internet. This not only makes your life more convenient, it helps reduce the amount of wasted paper, postage and checks.
Volunteer or Join a Local Environmental Group
If you don’t have the money to donate, a donation of your time is often seen as just as valuable, if not even more valuable. Many local groups host community cleanup and planting events.
Plant a Tree or Bush
Shrubbery is not only visually appealing, trees and bushes also help absorb CO2 in the air and offset the effects of pollution. Just be mindful to choose an option that doesn’t require too much water.
Change Your Light Bulbs
Many companies are now offering energy efficient light bulbs that are just as bright as the old ones. Not only will you be helping the environment, your electric bill will be thanking you as well.
Recycle and Reuse
As mentioned earlier, the average American produces a lot of trash. A good way to minimize your trash is to recycle cardboard and glass, reuse items rather than tossing them for new ones, and utilizing a compost bin for all of your compostable garbage. With the rising popularity of Pinterest, there are also a ton of ways to upcycle your belongings.
Make it a Habit
As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, being environmentally conscious is not something that should be done merely one day a year. If you do it long enough, being environmentally conscious will become second nature to you, and future generations will be forever grateful.
Stand with SmartCells. United we can make a difference.