Earth Day has come and gone, and while I am glad to have one day where we all spend a little extra time thinking about how we can take care of our beautiful Earth, I believe we need to be thinking about this everyday. To help us keep this thought first and foremost in our minds, I have come up with 8 simple ways to help our Earth everyday – not just Earth Day.
8 Simple Ways to Help Our Earth Everyday
- Recycle – I love it when next to a garbage can you also see a recycling can. Living in California, you do see recycling bins everywhere. However, when I travel to other parts of our country, they can be harder to find. Once you get in the habit of recycling, it is hard to not recycle! When you think about the massive landfills and the garbage that piles up – recycling makes complete sense.
- Turn off the lights! Yes, I constantly hear my parent’s voice in my head whenever I walk out of a room. If I am leaving the room empty – I turn off the lights. My classroom has sensors on the lights. If the sensors do not pick up any movement for a certain period of time – they shut down the lights. That means some afternoons when I am siting at my desk grading my never-ending stack of papers, the lights shut off. A quick stand and short walk then turns them back on.
- Swap incandescent light bulbs for LEDs – This is something my husband feels passionate about. We no longer have any incandescent bulbs in our home. Even all of our Christmas lights and outdoor decor has been replaced with LEDs. It saves us money and saves energy. A win-win!
- When you see trash, pick it up! I only need to walk across the playground to find wandering bits of trash that needs to be collected and placed in its proper can. How often do you walk the beach, a trail, or in your neighborhood park and see litter siting on the ground? I have a good friend that when we walk the beach she always brings along two empty bags. One bag is to hold the garbage she picks up and the second bag is for the shells she collects. Yes, she comes prepared.
- Compost. Composting is a bigger project. This is something that my sixth grade students have started at school. With their science teacher, they have initiated a school wide composting program. As I write this article, their compost is turning into very rich soil for our school gardens. The students collect about 20 pounds of food waste each school day. That adds up to a lot of waste! At home, we compost on a much smaller scale. We keep a small plastic bin on our kitchen counter that collects all of our daily food waste (egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels, old bread, apple cores etc.). Then each night, this bowl gets dumped into our green bin. Our city recycling program includes a green bin for food scraps, soiled paper, and yard trimmings such as leaves, grass clippings, and branches. This then gets composted by the recycling company.
- Cut down on food waste. I admit, sometimes this is hard. In an attempt to grocery shop less each week, I buy more. Sometimes that leads to food waste. My best strategy is to know exactly what is in the fridge and use food up according to shelf life. My husband is great at making soups to use up odds and ends of veggies, and I freeze fruits for smoothies.
- Enjoy at least one meatless dinner a week. Consuming less meat has a huge impact on water usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Plus it will probably save you money as well! Shakshuka is one of my favorite meatless meals.
- Take part in a carbon reducing project through CoolEffect.org. For as little a six dollars a month you can help fund a project that is designed to reduce carbon emissions. These projects are in the United States and across the globe. There are some exciting opportunities that I learned about from Annabelle Gurwitch.
I was excited to learn about CoolEffect.org and other ways to help our planet during my conversation with Annabelle Gurwitch. Annabelle was the former host of Planet Green’s original series, WA$TED!, a unique show in which she would go through someone’s trash and show all of the waste and potential for recycling. She is a recycling expert!
As she explains, all of our small actions have ripple effects across our globe.
You can check out Annabelle’s new book, Wherever You Go, There They Are: Stories About My Family You Might Relate To, at Amazon.