This year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Earth Day not only is about celebrating our planet, but it’s also about maintaining sustainable living conditions. Doing this requires us to rethink how we live and take mindful steps to reduce our negative impacts on the earth every day.
Here are 6 great ways to make everyday Earth Day:
- Eat a Plant Based Meal Once a Week
Animal agriculture is a massive contributor to greenhouse gasses. Livestock must be fed, transported, butchered, and then transported again before it reaches a store. Cutting down on the amount of meat you consume is a great way to help our planet.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for America, it’s recommended that we consume about 5.5 ounces of meat a day. Most of us easily meet that requirement before lunch. Many of us don’t follow those guidelines and have embraced a meat alternative lifestyle such as vegetarianism and veganism. But if you’d prefer to reduce your meat intake rather than stop eating it completely, skipping one day of meat every week is doable, and it will give you a chance to explore some new meat alternative meals and recipes!
- Plant a Garden
Shipping food, especially fresh produce, requires a lot of energy. You can counter some of this energy loss by planting your own garden, which will help reduce CO2 emissions from the transport of food. If don’t live somewhere where planting a personal garden is an option, a great alternative to look into is a community garden. Who knows, you may be able to swap produce with the other people within the garden.
- Buy Less/Consume Less
This may be one of the hardest things to do since our modern identities and society are built on consumer culture. Everything is available with the click of a button, and we have the convenience of having it on our doorstep within a matter of hours. First-world countries drive the production of significantly more greenhouse gasses and consume more of the earth’s resources than other parts of the world.
We consume and purchase more than what is necessary. If we take a moment to pause and rethink our purchases, and minimize the number of unnecessary things we buy, we can substantially reduce what we take from the planet. Purchasing smaller homes, investing in staple clothing pieces that will last longer, and even buying fewer gadgets will help substantially.
Pro Tip: Many of us use Amazon for various needs. Did you know that you can make future Amazon orders plastic-free and with minimal packaging? It’s only five minutes of work, and your Amazon account will be marked for future orders to be sent with minimal packaging and free of plastic.
How to go plastic free with your Amazon shipment:
- Open your Amazon account
- Go to “help/customer service”
- Go to the “contact us”
- Use their “chat option”
- On chat, request to make all future orders plastic-free with minimal packaging and use only degradable packaging materials like paper
- This information will be saved in your account for all future orders!
- It will take you 5 minutes on the chat to make all your future shipping plastic-free
- Leave the Car at Home: Bike, Walk, or Use Public Transportation
There are plenty of times when you can consider using an alternative to driving. If you already have a bike, why not start using it to get to your office? If you only need a few items at the grocery store, take your bike or walk. Not only is it a great workout (hello endorphins), but it also takes one more car off the road.
I get it, you won’t be able to bike everywhere. Sometimes you NEED a car. The whole idea is to opt out of driving when you can. This could mean riding your bike more, joining a carpool, walk, or use good old public transportation. All of these are great options and can be a way to participate in globally reducing our carbon footprint.
- Skip Using Single-Use Items
Single-use items are incredibly costly to the environment, but our lifestyles have been built on convenience. This is a problem. Some single-use items range from, but are not limited to: plastic straws, plastic grocery bags, paper towels, plastic silverware, and even those lovely coffee pods. A good way to start reducing your use of single-use items is to invest in a reusable coffee cup or water bottle. This can reduce the amount of trash that ultimately ends up polluting the environment.
- Recycle Whenever You Can
Recycling is one of the most important things we can do if we want to leave this planet for our future generations. It is good for the environment and helps reduce pollution, reduces waste in landfill, conserves natural resources, and benefits the economy. But perhaps the most important benefit of recycling is that it sustains and maintains the environment for future generations.
To learn more about TMS’s efforts click here.
Earth Day is a great opportunity to make a positive impact and get involved with environmental efforts.