Can your small acts make a world of difference? We think so, but we understand how thinking long and hard about your impact on the world can feel pretty daunting. That’s why we’ve gathered a few simple and meaningful actions to get you started this Earth Day. Who knows? You might just establish a few good habits for treading lightly on Mother Earth, every day of the year.
Turn off the lights
Reduce your carbon footprint by turning off the lights when you leave a room. Doing this can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.15 pounds per hour. And while you’re at it, slay energy vampires—looking at you, cellphone chargers—by unplugging electronic devices and appliances that you don’t switch on often. Make a romantic evening out of it: Get out some candles, gaze at the moon, and hopefully enjoy a night sky that’s markedly less affected by light pollution.
Reduce your water usage
We know how calming it is to hear the water running each time you brush your teeth. We get it. But you’re doing something good for Mother Earth every time you turn the water off while you’re brushing your teeth in the morning and before bedtime; doing this can save up to 200 gallons a month, which according to the EPA, is enough to fill a tank that holds six sharks. Ditto for turning off the water when you’re doing the dishes!
Leave your car at home
It might not be feasible to permanently swap your car for your bike—or feet—but if you can cut down on your car usage even one day a week, or one day a month, you could do your part in curbing air pollution caused by your work or errand commute. If you can stay off the road just one day a week, you’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 795 pounds per year. Walk to the farmers’ market or ride your bike to work, school and the grocery store, and save gas and burn calories while you’re at it.
Reuse, reuse, reuse!
We’ve all been there. You know, that moment when you’re at the grocery checkout and you’ve bought a few small items which could easily be stowed in a reusable market tote—but—you left your reusable bag in the car and it would take five extra minutes to get it…and oh, the embarrassment! Take it from us: Your goods aren’t going anywhere, and the people in line behind you will live with the five minute delay. Politely refuse the plastic bag or paper bag being offered to you at an extra cost and ask the cashier to set aside your items as you retrieve your reusable tote bag and do your part in reducing plastic bag usage and consumption. (Get inspired by these grab-and-go tote bags.)
Every time you buy something, energy goes into bringing that product to you. If you have a backyard, consider planting a tree, and if you can’t do it yourself, you can donate here or here and these organizations will plant the tree for you. As you may already know, trees remove carbon from the atmosphere and reduce greenhouse gas effects, all while giving us the precious clean air we breathe. Even a table surface in a small apartment or home can help you make a difference. Plant herbs you often buy at the store, like basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and mint. If you’ve got room in the bedroom or living room, plant a small container garden or a potted tree and improve the air quality around you.