Earth Day is officially April 22, 2011, I but I’d like to propose we celebrate Earth Day every day! I think sometimes people think that being more ecologically-minded is an all-or-nothing proposition, or that it needs to be complicated. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way! To me, you can live a modern, convenient lifestyle, AND live a safer-for-your-family-and-the-earth lifestyle–the two really can meet.
Yes, there are those whom I admire and totally respect that are “hardcore” environmentalists, but truth be told, I’m betting even they didn’t start out that way. I am of the realistic belief that living a “cleaner” life is a process, and that a step in the right direction is just that–a step in the right direction!
Small Changes Make a Big Difference
I just hosted a Green Works House Party this weekend. We talked about Green Works brand new products (including plant-derived laundry detergent and compostable cleaning wipes), shared some of our favorite green cleaning products, and swapped gently used or new kitchen items like can openers, bowl sets, recipe books, textiles, etc. What didn’t get chosen by party guests off the swap table will be donated to a local charity that distributes these needed household items to needy families.
I had a blast, and I think the rest of the ladies did too. It was non-stop chatting and idea sharing! Some of us have been using earth and family friendly cleaning products for years, others had not. We all left with some great ideas on making small changes in our household cleaning products that will have a huge cumulative effect on our environment, and the health of our families.
As my friend, Traci, put it, “I can do this – It’s as easy as just consciously picking earth-friendly cleaning products when I’m at the store.” Sometimes we just get used to our regular routines and don’t even think about how easily we could easily do things differently and have a positive impact on our lives.
It’s as Easy as 1-2-3!
Years ago I decided it was high time for me to make some earth and family friendly changes in our daily living. I was a bit overwhlemed with all the advice and options out there. I decided to pick three areas to really focus on improving. I’d like to challenge YOU to do the same. Your list may be totally different based on your lifestyle and goals, but here’s where I started and why:
Use Natural Household Cleaners – I’ve written about this on AkronOhioMoms.com before, so I won’t belabor this one too much. Suffice it to say both my parents are cancer survivors. When they were going through their treatments, I took stock, read up on research, and decided I want the least amount of chemical exposure possible for my family. Nowadays, there are TONS of natural cleaners on the market, several of which we have reviewed on AkronOhioMoms.com, and are readily available in major retail stores. If you want to read about them in our “Go Green” Section.
Use Less Disposable Plastics – Years ago, I used to actually brag about the fact that I used zipper plastic bags for everything, and that I should own stock in the companies that make them! Then one Earth Day, I saw a Diane Sawyer special on TV. She talked about how it takes 1,000 years for one plastic bag to completely decompose. I was sick to my stomach when I thought about all the waste we were generating, and how long its after effects were going to last. I made changes to our daily lives, and began using resuable containers whenever possible.
Are there days when I hurried and still pack some items in zipper bags in my girls lunches? Yes, but they are few and far between. Since then, I’ve also learned about how plastics have been proven to leech estrogen chemicals into our food. Yet another reason for going back to the good old glass and ceramics. I recently wrote an article on this for AOM (Yes, yet another shameless plug! 🙂 ).
Remember to Take My Reusable Grocery Bags out of the Car, and into the Store – Laugh out loud if you must, but this is a problem for me! I’m not sure why, but the majority of the time, I’d be rushing into the store, kids in tow, and not have my fabric bags with me. It drove me crazy! Luckily, my brother got me a beautiful, sturdy set of washable, decorative, reusable bags from Envirosacs for Christmas. I LOVE them. Five of these large bags fold into a carrying case that I can hold in the palm of my hand or throw in my purse. This set of bags has improved my success ratio on getting into the grocery with my bags in hand. They’re really pretty too, so I feel like quite the grocery fashionista! 🙂
Other Easy Ideas
- Turn off lights when not in use. Simple, eh? The bonus? You’ll have lower electric bills too, as lighting accounts for about 15% of the average consumer’s electric bill! 🙂
- Start a compost pile. If you garden, this is great! Vegetable food scraps and yard waste make nutrient rich food for your flowers and plants.
- Create a Rain Barrel – one of my guests at my Green Works party did this. They just hooked up a large trash barrel to their gutter, and added a spicket at the bottom. Free water for plants in summer? I’m all about that. This is on my “to do” list!
- Allow your dishes in the dishwasher to simply air dry rather than using the heated dry setting, saving energy.
- Replace traditional incondescent lightbulbs with the new CFL bulbs–they use 70% less energy, and last 8-13 times longer
- Unplug phone chargers and other electrical items not in use. They continue to draw power even when not in use – It’s called “phantom power, ” and it equals 5% of our nation’s power bill.
- Wash your laundry in cold water, not warm or hot. Save energy, and protect your clothing–cold water goes easier on clothing fibers.
- Turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth. It will save up to 8 gallons of water per day, or 240 gallons per month!
- Don’t over water your grass in summer. Allowing it to go dormant means it only needs rain, or watering every three weeks
- Recycle as a family. Our blue recycle bin goes out to the end of the driveway every week. Usually, it’s overflowing with cans, plastic and glass bottles, and all sorts of boxes. Kids enjoy helping out too, so have a conversation about what can be recycled, and get them involved!
Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list! We’d love to hear your ideas or goals on celebrating Earth Day Every Day. Please comment below!
One thought on “Earth Day EVERY Day! It’s as Easy as 1-2-3”
I love this post! Lots of really great ideas. I’m going to check out those reusable shopping bags right now. 🙂