7 easy ways to start making Earth Day everyday
Once a year we bring attention to the Earth. People gather to clean up garbage, turn off lights and reduce our electricity demands and acknowledge the planet we live upon. But, it isn’t enough! We have one home and we all share her. Whether you believe in the human impact on climate change or not, I urge you to consider that reducing our foot print and being responsible for our consumption and waste will never, ever be a negative thing. When we take action to protect our water, air and soil, we also take care of our own health and wellness. We need to be stepping up our game when it comes to reducing our pollution and collectively acting together to keep our home clean. Would you shit in your living-room? I suspect the answer would be a resounding NO! And how would you feel if someone else did? I don’t even need to guess… So why do we shit all over our one and only Earth? To me, it is no different. Forgive my language but I intend to make a point!
So stop pooping in your living-room and start asking yourself if you are doing your part and commit to becoming more aware of the little things you can do to make a difference. If we all did just a little bit more that little bit more” could make a very big difference. So let’s get started with some simple day to day ways that we can all commit to doing our part!
1. Mindful Consumerism – put your money where your values are:
It seems we have little choice but to support the consumer machine and the products available to us, however, we always have some degree of choice! The more we begin to pull away from industries that do not have the Earth’s best interest in mind and we put our resources and attention into more sustainable companies, the more available those green products will become and the prices will inevitably reduce. Invest a little bit more into products that are pro planet and just say no to items that are not. At the end of the day, the consumer can and will drive the market. Demand better.
- Do you really need it? Like, really, really need it or is it just impulse or marketed influence? Are you part of the next best trendy whatever I must have it mentality?
- Can you buy it locally instead of supporting multi million dollar companies like Amazon or Walmart? Keeping it local helps support your neighbours to thrive and builds community.
- Can you purchase it used or borrow it from a friend or family member?
- Does the company you are about to support have a environmental policy that is pro-active?
- Is it created with quality, sustainable and renewable resources?
- Is it repairable?
- Is it recyclable?
- Are workers treated fairly?
- Is it something that will last you a lifetime and bring you joy?
Stop and consider the impact of your purchases on the whole of the planet. By shopping mindfully, we create jobs in the market for new and better products to emerge while reducing our unnecessary consumption.
Shop second hand or hit up garage sales for some of the following:
- children’s toys and accessories
- dishes and cookware
- outdoor sporting gear like skis and bikes
- gardening pots and tools
- pet accessories
- Holiday decorations
2. Reduce Plastic – plastic is pollution waiting to happen:
Let’s face it, stepping away from plastic is nearly impossible but there are some ways you can reduce bringing so much of it into your home.
- Avoid on-line shopping and you avoid all that packaging! Choose local business, local artisans and hand crafted goods where possible.
- Avoid pre-packaged foods, the fast food industry and junk foods and make your own meals from scratch using fresh, whole products.
- Support your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and have a farm drop off a food box with seasonal and locally farmed foods or shop at your local farmers market.
- Choose products in glass or tins where possible.
- Skip placing fruits and veggies into new plastic bags at the store and re-use ones you have a home. Invest in cotton mesh bags to place produce in.
- Stop using plastic wrap and use beeswax covers or place a plate over your dish in the fridge. Get creative.
- Purchase in bulk. Use cloth bulk bags or re use plastic or glass containers.
- Use bulk soap stores for dishwashing, laundry and Castile soap and re-use your big jugs.
- Make your own spice blends, DYI products and house hold cleaners.
- Wash and re-use your plastic veggie bags, ziplocks or any other functional plastic bags until you absolutely can’t any more then recycle them. Design a plastic bag drying rack with a thin towel bar and wooden clothes pegs.
- Always have your re-usable shopping bag on hand or take a cardboard box or paper bag if you have no choice.
- Use a stainless steel water bottle and a travel mug for fluids.
- Avoid take out containers that are plastic and opt for cardboard and then wash and recycle after use.
- Use paper plates and bamboo utensils for large gatherings if you can’t use glassware.
- Re-use plastic containers such as yogurt, cottage cheese, dips, etc for storing foods in the fridge or sending family home with left-overs. Just be aware of their breakdown point and wash them by hand instead of the dishwasher.
- Invest in stainless steel and glass pyrex left-over containers.
- Explore new products like shampoo and conditioner bars that are solid and completely plastic free.
3. Recycle everything you possibly can — no excuses:
No brainer right? You would be surprised at how many people still don’t take the time to properly recycle. These days there are really few excuses! Most municipalities have a recycling pick up and offer a recycling station for items that don’t have curb services. Review your local transfer stations to determine exactly what goes where and how. Most things that can be recycled these days include:
- Soft plastic such as grocery and vegetable bags, plastic wrap and bubble wrap
- Hard plastic such as pasta or chip bags or thicker plastic packaging
- Paper and cardboard of all kinds (no used paper towels or toilet paper, of course)!
- Plastic Trays and Containers
- Tetrapaks and Milk Cartons
- Light Bulbs
- Old Paints
- Aerosol Cans
- Vehicle or Machine Oils
- Appliances and Electronics
Prioritize a space to create your mini recycling station in your home and commit to the time to drop it at the transfer station. It is much easier if you sort it out as you go. Ensure recycling has been properly cleaned of food residue or slime and feel good about reducing your curb garbage significantly.
4. Compost – turn it into gold:
Depending where you are, composting can be more difficult for some over others. Here are some ideas:
- Utilize your city’s compost pick up.
- Purchase a composting bin and compost in your back yard.
- Invest in a composting unit that stores under your sink and quickly turns your compost into dirt. These are great for small spaces and apartments. Turn the dirt into your house plants, outdoor planters, garden or flower pots.
- Contact local farmers and inquire if they take compost for animal feed or to make dirt.
- Freeze veggie waste such as celery and carrot tops, green stems, onion and garlic skins, broccoli stalks, etc. Keep them stored in a large freezer bag and then simmer down into a nutritious veggie broth. You can also store the bones of meat in a separate bag and add them in for a bone broth.
- Ask a neighbour if they have a composting unit if you are not able to have one yourself or advocate for a system for composting at your strata.
5. Eat more plants — winner winner plants for dinner:
Yes!! No matter what, eating more plants is a win win win! A diet based in whole plant foods reduces risks of:
- Weight gain
- Obesity and related health conditions
- Inflammation of joints and muscles
- Auto-immune disorders
- Heart disease
- Depression and anxiety
Eating a plant based diet also reduces dependence on animals which contributes massively to greenhouse gases. It also takes a stand against the mistreatment of industrially farmed animals. I am not suggesting to go vegan, if you enjoy eating animal products, by all means do so, but consider adding the meat to your meals by scaling back portions and adding meat protein to your plant foods instead of adding veggies to your meat! If you do purchase animal products, do your best to buy local, free range, organic or sustainably raised products. It is not only better for the planet but for you as well!
6. Say No to Chemicals — From body-care to household cleaners and yard management:
Switch from harmful chemicals to natural products to make a big difference on the planet. The beauty and body-care industries rake in millions upon millions of dollars a year helping you look good, keep fresh, avoid wrinkles, smell pretty and keep your teeth sparkling and your hair shining. But have you ever stopped to look at the ingredients in these products that you use, so trustingly, on your hair, skin and in your mouth?
That is only the start. We are told that household cleaners are 99% effective in eradicating bacteria and sold on chemical cleaners to keep our homes sanitized to the hilt but where do all these chemicals end up after we flush them down the drain? My friends, it isn’t good! Not all bacteria is bad and we need the micro-organisms of the world to flourish to keep nature in balance. We also increase our oxidative load on our bodies when we are constantly placing these chemicals on our skin, or breathing them in. So stop buying into the narrative, natural body care and house hold cleaners work just as well, here are some switches to consider:
- Castile soap is versatile and effective in cleaning greasy pans, sinks, toilets, tubs, soap scum and gentle enough to use as a hand or body wash. It is 100% plant based and hypo-allergenic. Winner all around.
- Other all natural cleaners can be found at health food stores and at bulk soap stores. Consider scenting them with tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender for added anti microbial punch.
- Need an abrasive? Baking soda is your friend. It also absorbs smell and a carton in your fridge can reduce bad smells.
- Re-usable cloths with anti-microbial silver stitching, such as the company Norwex, they are a great cleaning cloths that require no soap whatsoever and last for the long term as long as cared for properly. Try these glass or all purpose cleaning cloths for your home or office.
- Vinegar works like a charm when mixed with water and used on mirrors and glass. No need for glass cleaner like Windex!
- Choose bath and body products that don’t contain a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce. Remember the skin is a major organ of the body that is very permeable and absorbs what you expose it too. Try soaps and bath products from local crafters or get creative and make your own!
- Avoid chemical room sprays and synthetically perfumed room diffusers. These often have chemicals that are harmful when you breathe them in
- Stop using harsh pesticides, like round up, in your yard an on your gardens. Remember a chemical intended to kill something very small kills all sorts of very small things. Let the dandelions grow, protect the bees, companion garden and get creative. These chemicals are harmful to not only the environment but also to our own sensitive systems of trillions of human cells.
7. Alternative transport
Ride a bike, walk, take public transport or ride share. There really isn’t much more to say about it!
“We don’t inherit the earth, we borrow it from our children” – Chief Seatlle
Our Earth has seen a massive explosion of human population while simultaneously losing devastating amounts of forested land, the extinction of animal species on both land and in ocean and unsettling changes in the climate over the last 100 years. Our oceans and coastlines have become plastic wastelands and deforestation for human need and greed is quickly shifting the balance in the atmosphere. Most of us continue to do nothing but turn a blind eye and choose to live out of balance with our natural world. Today, and everyday, I hope you will be a warrior and a champion for this incredible, life giving Earth. Do your best today, then, ask yourself tomorrow what you can do better. we are all in this together!
Yours in health and Wellness
…and the protection and reverence of our planet,