Yesterday was Earth Day, a day to plant a tree and celebrate the planet we call home. Much more importantly, Earth Day is an international holiday held to demonstrate support for global environmental protection. And with issues arising linked to global warming and climate change, the Earth needs protecting now more than ever. So, here are ELEVEN ways you can help the Earth on a daily basis:
1. Turn Off the Lights
Energy efficiency is key to helping the environment. Make sure to turn off lights during the day (as you're able) or in rooms you're not using as an easy way conserve your home's energy use.
Recycle paper, plastic, and glass products, and never put them in your trashcan. Glass can take over a million years to decompose while recycling it can reduce related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%. And recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for three hours.
3. Plant a Tree
According to NC State University, just one large tree can supply a day's supply of oxygen for four people. If you don't have the space to plant one yourself, donate to a cause like Earth Day Network or Stand for Trees to support a rainforest.
4. Use Paper Mindfully
Pay bills online and your household could save up to 23 pounds of wood and avoid up to 29 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. When you do use paper, opt for recycled; it takes 74% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution to make.
5. Eat Less Meat
It takes 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. In general, meat production has an eyebrow-raising environmental cost. So, go meatless once a week to help conserve water.
6. Stop Buying Bottled Water
Each year, 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make disposable plastic bottles, and more than $1 billion of plastic is wasted yearly through 38 billion unrecycled water bottles. Opt for a refillable water bottle instead and fill it up when you need.
7. Drive Less
If you live close enough to the office, walk or bike to work and you'll save about a pound of CO2 and other pollutants per mile. If you're too far to take a bike, carpool or see if your local public transportation is an option for your commute.
8. Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
So your system doesn't have to work overtime, clean or replace your air filters regularly. Invest in a programmable thermostat so you don't waste energy when you're not home. Turn off and/or unplug appliances when you're not using them.
9. Use Fluorescent Bulbs
If every household in America replaced one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, it would be the pollution reduction equivalent of removing one million cars from the road.
10. Bring Reusable Shopping Bags
Every year, Americans use 84 billion plastic bags which are not biodegradable and directly affect our oceans. This is why it's so important to opt for reusable bags when checking out at retailers.
11. Install a Skylight or Two
Like any window, the right skylight has the potential to help increase your home's energy efficiency, especially when it comes to eliminating heat transfer and making the most of passive solar heating. Placed strategically, they lessen dependency on artificial lighting and can help reduce the use of electricity by as much as 10%.