Earth Day is here, one of my very favorite days of the whole year! I was raised in an eco-conscious household and consequently, this is something very near and dear to my heart. I do my best to be eco-conscious and help raise our kids with the same level of awareness. Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to focus on those intentions, to take some time to evaluate what you are already doing that is good, and to consider areas that may call for improvement.
I have a few things I am working on this year. First, I just bought a couple of new trees to have planted in our front yard. Even though our back yard is woods, I figure it’s never a bad thing to have more trees, right? Can’t wait to see these things grow! Second, I’m trying to cut down on our use of plastics in general but in particular when it comes to food storage. I have been reading things about this for a while and recently read this excellent article (put out by my med school alma mater in conjunction with our local public radio station). This totally solidified my resolve to take a serious look at the plastics in our lives, both for the earth and for our health.
Third, I am trying to learn more about slow fashion/eco-fashion (i.e. companies that are socially and environmentally conscious). There are some companies that do make this a priority, but I’m hoping that this is a growing trend that will eventually become the norm. If you have any suggestions of such companies, please share! I would love to know more about them. I did find this article to be a good starting point. I’ve also been doing a bit of this in my own way by knitting and sewing some of our clothes to cut down on what we actually need to buy.
We have definitely incorporated a lot of eco-friendly behaviors into our daily life and at this point, many are just second nature to us. All together, it can seem daunting but I guarantee if you work on making just a few changes at a time, you will gradually make huge progress you might never have imagined! If you are looking for inspiration on things you can do, here’s my running list from last year with a few new suggestions as well:
- Use reusable grocery bags (and don’t forget reusable produce bags as well!) No need for plastic. For all those who own reusable bags but forget to bring them to the store, put them back into your car IMMEDIATELY after you unpack the groceries. Then you’ll never be without them.
- Recycle as much as possible.
- Buy local, eat local. Supporting local farms and food providers benefits you, them, and the entire local economy. (Check this site to find farmers markets near you!)
- Cook at home instead of going out to eat. So many benefits – saves money, fuel, reduces waste and packaging, and it’s better for your health!
- When you do eat out, support local restaurants instead of huge chain entities. In particular, seek out eateries that focus on serving local and seasonal fare. It tastes WAY better, and supports the local economy. Win-win!
- On a related note, bring your lunch to school or work instead of buying food. It wastes less packaging, tastes better, and is usually healthier. (My Let’s Do Lunch series was created for this purpose.)
- Give up paper towels, napkins, and disposable dishes or utensils. Stock up on reusable alternatives – they’ll last you a long time and save money in the long run.
- Don’t use plastic water bottles. Buy a reusable bottle and refill it instead. (And don’t drink other things that come in plastic bottles such as soda or juice – they aren’t good for you anyway.)
- If you do end up with a plastic cup or bottle while out and about and recycling is not easily accessible, don’t just toss the item in the trash because it is convenient. Bring plastic cups and bottles home and recycle them!
- Start a garden and grow your own food. So fun and rewarding!
- Can and preserve your own foods so you can buy less processed food and its associated packaging.
- Give up your daily coffee shop trips and brew your own treats at home. (Here are a few things I make at home to avoid the coffee shop.)
- Make your own yogurt and fruit mix-ins to avoid the waste of all those individual yogurt containers.
- Cut down on junk mail by opting out of catalog and coupon mailings. Visit websites of the offending companies and have your address removed from their mailing list. Much better than recycling junk mail is not having the waste created in the first place!
And, most important of all, if you have kids, set the example and teach them all of these behaviors. Teach them to love and care for this earth because they will inherit it from us.
As always, I have a few giveaways to in the spirit of Earth Day! Click each giveaway link below for your chance to win awesome prizes!
All US Residents:
- Flip & Tumble Reuseable Produce Bags (3 winners)
- Rume Reusable Grocery Bags (2 winners)
- Lifefactory Glass Water Bottle (3 winners)
Indy residents only:
How are you celebrating Earth Day?