Earth Day Is Every Day

So, Earth Day is Friday, April 22. And like many people you’re probably thinking “So what? I’m just one person I can’t make a difference.” And, borrowing from a well-used slogan, I’m saying “Yes you can!” In fact, if us “little people” then what can be done?

The first thing we need to do is spread the word! Educate people. When I learn something regarding the environment I try to educate my friends and family — social media is great for this. Plus, with social media you aren’t being as pusy or intrusive, but you are still making a difference and, if people don’t want to read your post or blog then they can just ignore it as opposed to if you are actually talking to the person and he or she feels like he has to stand there and listen to what you’re saying even though he just wants to walk away.

Educate yourself — keep on top of environmental news so you know what you’re talking about! Many of the larger newspapers now have special sections dedicated to the environment. The New York Times online has its own environment section, which I follow on Twitter and stay educated — in my opinion, the Times  is still one of the best sources of great journalism out there. But there are plenty of other great resources, especially green blogs, and even books — the genre of green/environmental nonfiction has exploded over the past few years. Ever since the success of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and the idea of global warming becoming accepted by the mainstream public, more books have appeared on the bookshelves because there is an audience for this topic.

The Three R’s — Recycle, Reuse and Reduce. Recycling isn’t just for plastic, glass and paper anymore. Just about anything can be recycled — you just have to do the research. For example, household batteries should not be thrown away with the trash but most people do this. My local village accepts batteries to be recycled — and other place throughout my village accept batteries. You just need to do the research. Also, don’t just trash those old cell phones and laptops — electronics can leak hazardous chemicals into the Earth. There are many places set up just to recycle electronics. Reuse — I try to reuse as much as I can, such as paper I misprinted I’ll use for scratch paper. Books I’ve read and don’t want to keep or clothes I can’t fit into I will donate. Or, many times, I visit thrift stores for clothes myself — you can find some real gems, same with used book stores. Reduce — do you really need to buy bottled water? Sure, plastic can be recycled but recycling plastic uses so much energy and emits carbon into the atmospher that it’s a waste. Why not buy a pitcher and a filter and just drink filtered tap water?

There are so many other things we can do such as cut down on the use of chemicals — make your own household cleaners and detergents. It’s easy and cheap. Don’t use chemicals on your lawn — this seeps into the water supply and also poisons the animals — start a compost pile. Watch your energy and water consumption.

And the list goes on and on, but I believe we need to start with education and awareness.