Pollution, mass extinction, climate change, global warming, deforestation, glaciers melting – those are just some of the phrases we hear far too often about how the Earth is changing. These are big problems that would be easy to brush off, but there are many small ways we can make a big difference. Practicing a more eco-friendly lifestyle can also help keep money in your pocket while helping the environment.
This Earth Day, instead of participating in a community cleanup for only one day out of the year, what about changing one small thing in your routine every day to help our planet?
But wait! You may be asking “Why should we care about Earth?” Great question!
Earth is our only home. We depend on the air and water quality to survive. We also depend on several plant and animal species in order to stay alive. Whether or not people agree with climate change science, the Earth is changing in ways that it has not before. We are experiencing rapid warming, which melts glacial ice, raises ocean levels, and contributes to the more extreme weather we have been experiencing the past few decades.
An unprecedented amount of plant and animal species have been eliminated that we will never get back. Biodiversity is essential for ecosystems to function properly.
I have heard several people say the next world war won’t be over oil or gas or money, it will be over an already finite resource: water. Did you know less than one percent of the Earth’s water is available for us to use? Most of Earth’s water is saltwater, not freshwater like we need to live.
I don’t know about you, but as a parent, I don’t want my son and his children and his children’s children to be in short supply of resources we often take for granted today.
You might be thinking “I’m not really wasting water; it just goes from my faucet back into the water supply.” Yes and no. Yes, that’s true, but it takes a very long time for a drop to go through the whole water cycle for us, plants, or animals to use again. We want to keep as much water in the water supply as possible at any given time.
So, what can we do now to conserve resources and help the environment? Change one small thing about your routine and you will make a bigger difference than you might realize. Make it a family activity and keep each other accountable!
Here are a few suggestions:
- Turn the water off while you brush your teeth. Leaving the tap on can waste up to four gallons of water while you brush. That’s over 300 gallons per week for a family of four. Your water bill will drop (pun definitely intended) and you’ll be conserving Earth’s water supply in the process.
- Switch from using plastic grocery bags to reusable ones. Plastic bags will never break down. Wildlife and especially marine life often think plastic bags are food and will ingest them.
- Use a reusable coffee cup instead of single-use cups. One reusable cup does the job of 500 single-use cups. Some coffee shops also give discounts to customers who bring their own cup. Saving money and reducing waste? Sign me up!
- Ordering in for dinner? Ask restaurants to leave out the stuff you don’t need. The plastic utensils, extra napkins, and condiment packets just end up in the trash anyway.
- Does your family enjoy gardening? Make a compost pile. It is not as gross as you think. The resulting nutrient-rich soil will be way more environmentally friendly than fertilizer with chemicals which will pollute water. Composting is also another great family activity!
Celebrate Earth Day every day and change one thing in your routine.