Posted on April 21, 2015 by Krysta Cossitt
45 years ago this Wednesday, United States Senator Gaylord Nelson launched Earth Day. Today, over 192 countries partake in supporting the environment through education, campaigns and practice. There are many ways you can participate in honoring our Earth this Wednesday, but below are a few actions out of many that the Earth Day Network encourages you adopt year-round.
1) Reduce Vampire Energy: Many appliances and electronics that are plugged into electrical outlets in your home are still consuming energy even when they are turned off. Billions of kilowatt hours a year are a result of vampire energy which are costing consumers over $11 billion. This calculates to about $120 spent a year on vampire energy by the average US homeowner. You can locate energy sucking appliances by a quick look and touch test. If your appliance has a power display and/or if the plug is warm to the touch when off, that appliance is using energy. A simple and inexpensive solution is to purchase a smart power strip which automatically turns off power when your appliances and/or electronics aren’t in use.
2) Eat Less Meat: The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide. The industry also requires a large amount of water in production. For example, one pound of beef takes more than ten times the amount of water to produce than soy tofu. Reducing your meat intake, even by just a little, can make an impact. If your family eliminates one steak dinner a week, it would equate to taking your car off the road for approximately three months.
3) Become a Plastic Minimalist: Over 300 million tons of plastic is produced each year. Unfortunately, all this plastic never really goes away because it doesn’t biodegrade. And with only 10% of all plastic being properly recycled, the remaining is accumulating in landfills and our oceans causing illnesses and even death to animals and humans world-wide. Recycling all plastic products is a huge help but there are additional ways you can take part in decreasing plastic production. A good way to start is by bringing your own reusable bags when shopping and if you need to use disposable cutlery for your parties or picnics – try plastic alternatives such as bamboo or plant based products.