This Earth Day, celebrate Mother Nature by adopting some simple strategies to make you more environmentally conscious every day!
Adopt Meatless Mondays
Did you know that the popular Meatless Monday actually originated during World War I? The motivations for going meatless are very different today, with animal agriculture being a significant contributor to climate change. Reducing your meat consumption is not only good for your health, but it is also good for the environment! Animal agriculture uses a great deal of water, energy, and food, and contributes to deforestation, and an increase in fossil fuels. You can do your part by going meatless one day a week or reducing your consumption of meat and dairy throughout the week.
Ditch the car
Yesterday my kids and I met up with some friends and went to a local attraction. In total we ended up spending nearly 3 hours driving through horrible traffic and used over ¼ of a tank of gas. Yikes! Don’t do what we did! Instead, take some time to plan out some fun, local activities that you and your family or friends can walk, jog, or bike to. The trip to the destination will be half the fun with you getting out and getting some fresh air, appreciating your neighbourhood, and everyone glad to not be stuck in rush hour traffic! You’ll also discover hidden gems if you keep doing this; there are many places that we drive right by without noticing, so leaving the car behind will allow you to notice much more!
Are you guilty of having the lights on all over the house? The radio and TV running while the dinner is cooking away in the oven and the kids are on the computer? Take some time one day a week to light candles, turn off all electronics, and enjoy your family’s company! You’ll find that if you start with once a week, you’ll begin to incorporate this attitude to the amount of energy you use on a daily basis. Taking a morning shower? Do it with the natural light from your bathroom window – no need for lights! Leaving the house for the weekend? Don’t leave lights on the whole time, but switch them to a timer. Finished using electronics? Unplug them!
It’s a difficult habit to break, but we in North America are serial shoppers. We love to have and keep and get more. Whether it’s food, toys, clothes, or shoes, we all have much more than we need. Adopt a “no-shopping” attitude and soon you’ll see how satisfying it is to want and need less!
Put less in the landfill
Hand-in-hand with the idea of consuming less, is the idea of disposing of less. No, don’t start hoarding, but instead be cognizant of where the item will end up at the end of its life. Buy only the food you need (and in small quantities) and you’ll end up wasting less. If there is food waste at the end of the day, make sure to either compost it or put it in a municipal organics/food waste bin. For clothes, shoes, and toys, instead of throwing it in the garbage bin, decide if it can be recycled, reused/donated, or repurposed. And make sure to recycle things properly (don’t forget about batteries and electronics – those should be recycled too!).