Did you know that Earth Day is the world’s largest secular celebration? Today, April 22, 2017, it is estimated that one billion people will celebrate the event. The first Earth Day was in 1970 after the founder witnessed the damage caused by a large oil spill in Sanga Barbara, California. Now it has grown into a worldwide celebration to help promote education and literacy about the Earth.
Many people celebrate by attending marches or educational events. We at The River Club like to celebrate by doing little things to directly help the planet. Here are ten simple things you can do today, or everyday, to help take care of and heal the Earth.
1. Use a reusable bag instead of plastic. There are countries that have actually banned the use of plastic bags. Why? Look at this chart below.
Plastic bags are pretty much the worst thing for the environment as they take up to 1000 years to degrade. Just using a reusable cloth bags is one of the most important things you can do.
2. Use the right sized pot when cooking. This not only saves energy, but it can save you money. A recent study suggests you can save $36 per year doing this if you have an electric stove and $16 if you have a gas range.
3. Turn off the lights before you leave. This will also save you money. It costs 0.75 per hour to operate an incandescent bulb. So if you leave it on all day, it will cost you 6 cents each time. Leaving a new modern bulb on all day will cost you around 1 cent. But still- if you leave multiple bulbs on through the year those numbers can really add up.
4. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. This simple act will save over 200 gallons of water a month. That is over 2400 gallons of water per year!
5. Drink beer instead of a soft drink. It takes roughly 20 gallons of water to produce one beer. A soft drink takes 50 gallons. Cheers!
6. Walk or bike to school/work/ run your errands. If you really want to make a difference, do this at least once per week. It will not only save on emissions but you will probably lose weight and feel better too. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you feel happy.
7. Forgo a steak for a veggie burger. Raising cattle is one of the most water intensive activities on the planet. It is estimated that it takes up to 2400 gallons of water to produce just one steak. Consider this along with the fact that cows are the largest source of greenhouse gases. One cow releases between 154 and 265 pounds of methane a year. Methane is a greenhouse gas. Its negative effect on the climate is 23 times higher than that of carbon dioxide.
8. Buy something online. Virtual shopping almost always requires less energy and fewer carbon dioxide emissions than shopping at a brick and mortar store.
9. Buy a reusable water bottle. It takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce the plastic water bottles consumed in the US each year. That’s enough energy to fuel more than 1 million American cars and light trucks for a year. There are a lot of countries in the world that don’t have clean drinking water- we should take advantage of the fact that we do. Plus think of the money you will save.
10. Plant a tree. A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can absorb 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. To put it another way- In one year, an acre of forest can absorb twice the carbon dioxide produced by the average car’s annual mileage. So if you have a car, you would have to plant a half an acre of forest each year to compensate for its emissions. That’s a sobering fact. Just remember: every little bit helps.