I love Earth. I love the seasons, and the blue sky, and animals and plants and trees. I love mountains and lakes and the beach. I love the smell of blooming flowers, salty sea air, and crisp wind in winter.
If you’re like me, you love those things (and more). And while we, as humans, get to enjoy so much of what this wonderful planet has to offer, do you ever stop and think about how we interact with Mother Earth on a daily basis? We have brains, which means we can either manipulate the ground beneath our feet or work with it in harmony and unison – so there’s something left for our children and children’s children to enjoy just as much as we do.
Unfortunately, a lot has gone astray. Man has corrupted the planet’s beauty in favor of buildings and manufacturing and infrastructure, not to mention done a number on its health. On a large scale, there may not be a lot we can do. But on our own we sure have a lot of power to make a difference. Here are some very easy behavior changes you can make on your own that, collectively, would have a tremendous healing effect on this Big Blue Marble.
- Drink your water out of a glass instead of a plastic bottle. For years, my family bought cases of water in plastic bottles, drank the water, and then tossed the empty bottle into the recycling bin. Well, recycling is good, but nearly 90% of plastic isn’t recycled and most ends up in landfills. And it never, ever breaks down. So put a filter on your tap and drink from a glass. Traveling? Fill a hydro flask, carry, and go. FYI, the EPA’s standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA’s standards for bottled water. So what are you waiting for?
- Store food in glass (like Pyrex) instead of plastic. Those BPA-free plastic containers? In case you didn’t know, they’re filled with alternate chemicals that can be just as bad as BPA that leach into your food. And they have the same long-term effect on the planet just as plastic water bottles do (or any other plastic, for that matter). I’ve been slowly replacing my plastic storage containers with Pyrex and, I have to admit, it’s a lot more pleasant to use. No smells, no stains…just all-natural storage that’s a breeze to clean.
- Wash in cold or warm water. Did you know that if all U.S. households switched from a hot-hot cycle to a warm-cold cycle that we could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day? Yeah. That much. Oh, and do laundry only when you have a full load. You’ll save water, too.
- Do you really need an SUV? Yes, they’re spacious, but most people don’t need an SUV for everyday driving. In fact, most people who buy them don’t even use them for off-roading or in the great outdoors. Think about this: a Honda Civic uses 3 1/2 gallons of gas and 387,500 BTUs for a 62 mile trip. A Chevy Suburban needs 7 3/4 gallons and nearly 1,000,000 BTUs to go the same distance. Need more convincing? SUVs spew out 43% more global-warming pollution and 47% more air pollution than an average car. And you’re breathing all that junk in. Ewwww.
- Shower with your partner. Yes. Really. It’ll save heaps of water and, uh, maybe come with other benefits.
- Greener lawns don’t need chemical fertilizers or lots of water. Water your lawn in the early morning before any moisture is lost to evaporation. Have some weeds? Spritz them with vinegar, nature’s natural way of killing off those pesky things.
- Donate. Have clothing you want to get rid of? Donate it instead of throwing it away. There are others who could definitely use what you’ve discarded, which means you’ve not only clothed another individual but you’ve also saved the environment from one more thing in the landfill.
- Stop paper bank statements! Go paperless and save trees. Trees have to breathe to live, just as we do. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, while we breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in oxygen. Humans are interconnected with trees, which are our mainstay of oxygen. Without trees, we can’t survive.
- Use one less paper napkin. The average American uses about 2,200 napkins a year, roughly six every day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than one billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.
Those are some of my suggestions for today. Do you have any to add?
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