So, today is Earth Day. Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is an annual day where we not only appreciate the planet we live on, but also support our planet by doing what we can individually and as a unit to preserve it for future generations. It is an opportunity to learn about innovation and other green initiatives and technologies that help the earth and not harm it. What are you doing to help sustain the earth for future generations? Are you harming our environment, and don’t know that you are harming it?
Here are few activities that I am passionate about and how I implemented changes in my everyday life to make a small change in the world. I believe in recycling and have been recycling since the early ’90s. I first starting recycling when I lived in Savannah, where they made recycling very easy. We lived in an apartment and there was a dumpster for trash, and right next to it was a dumpster for paper, plastic and glass. Recycling was picked up every week. I only lived in Savannah for about a year, but I became a regular recycler during that time and have remained even today. Savannah made it easy to recycle, but I learned they were ahead of the ball in this regard. When I moved back to Alabama, there was no easy set up for recycling, at least not where I lived. One had to go out of his/her way to recycle, loading the car and taking it to the recycling center. Which I did. One had to be truly committed to recycle in order to do so during that time and for many years following.
Although recycling was a really great start, I have learned a few things over the years. I used to buy bottled water. But when you think about how many people drink bottled water, and the fact that most people do not recycle those bottles, you have to wonder where all of those bottles end up. I stopped buying bottled waters about five years ago. Instead, I use my own bottle, filling it up throughout the day. I even take it with me to restaurants sometimes when I am eating out, and I try to always have it when I leave the house. I only buy bottled water when I am in a push, and have forgotten my bottle. By not buying bottled water, I reduce the number of bottles and other materials I need to recycle. Luckily, my husband was on board with this change and has followed suit. We typically drink 4 to 6 bottles of water a day. So that would be 8 to 12 bottles between the two of us. If we round to 10 bottles a day for 365 days, my husband and I would use about 3,650 plastic water bottles a year. What if we just threw them away and did not recycle them? What if everyone used that many water bottles and just threw the bottles away and they ended up in a landfill, or wherever? We need to care about what happens after we drink that bottle of water.
I have also reduced the number of paper towels we use. And although paper towels are biodegradable, by using them, I am adding to the tremendous amount of waste and unnecessary trash accumulation. I have always had a problem with paper towels and the waste it creates. I used to never buy them, and basically bought them for other people, whenever we had company. But people use paper towels for everything, even cleaning up. To eliminate the need for paper towels, or to at least cut down on the usage, I have always bought various size kitchen towels and use them repeatedly for wiping down tables, counters, chairs, appliances and even wiping my hands when I eat. I like these options a lot better than paper towels, because I don’t have to throw them away after using them, and can just wash them when they get dirty. This has worked for me more than 25 years. This is a habit I have had for a long time and I do it because I don’t want to contribute to the waste.
And, finally, let’s talk about plastic bags. I have grown to really despise them, because of their extreme overuse. I lived in Germany for a few months in the early 90’s. During the time we lived there, and I imagine this is still the practice, you took your own bags to the grocery store because you were not even offered a bag to put your stuff in. This was the practice where I lived. I am not sure if this was all throughout the country. I learned quickly and started taking my own bags to the store. In my time there, they only put your items in bags at military establishments. I often remember how beautiful that country was when I was there, and I believe it is because of this practice, and their water conservation efforts. I still use my own bags when I go to the grocery story. A practice I have had since my stay in Germany.
Everyday should be EARTH DAY! This is not just a day that we celebrate and get educated, but this is about the whole world. Almost 200 countries celebrate Earth Day. We need this earth, and our children need it too. It’s not just about us. What we do affects others and we can make little changes to make things better. Happy Earth Day!
What can you do today to become more environmentally friendly?