Earth Day 2016 is coming up next week - April 22. It will be the 46th year of the movement. And, as always, there will be tree-plantings, rallies and many other Earth Day activities organized throughout the world to mark the day and remind people how important it is that we protect our environment to safeguard the Earth for future generations.
However, most of us, even if we wanted to, can't always attend Earth Day events. Our lives and families get in the way. And even if we could, wouldn't it be better if we could make incremental but long-lasting changes in our daily habits rather than do something once for one day of the year? We agree.
There are so many super easy things we all could incorporate into our lives that would make a more significant, long-term impact on the Earth. Here is a list of environmentally-friendly things you could try with your families on Earth Day and every day.
- Turn Off the TV: Let's admit. Most of us like to leave the TV on even if we're not watching it. We might even be watching a video on our cell phone but still have the TV running in the background. While, televisions aren't the most energy-consuming appliances in the house, it can still add up, and turning it off when you're not watching can help save energy in the long run.
- Turn Off Computers: Just like TVs, or maybe even more so, we like to keep our computers by our sides and on at all times since we seem to be so addicted to them. But just like TVs, turning them off can save little bits of energy that add up in the long run. And let's not forget the benefits to our health of not always being plugged in.
- Unplug Chargers: With so many electronic devices in a home that need charging on a daily basis - laptops, phones, tabs - most of us have the chargers plugged in at all times so that we can just hook up the device when needed. But those charges, even when not being used, does consume little bits of electricity. So, why not unplug them when you're not using them.
- Turn off the Lights: This isn't a new suggestion. Eco-friendly parents have always preached to their children to turn off the lights when not needed. Not only does it save energy and help the Earth, it will also help you reduce your electricity bills.
- Download Software: We have been used to getting nicely packaged CDs or DVDs when we buy new software programs. We don't really have much use for those after we install the programs and end up throwing them away (remember to recycle if you still have many lying around the house). Wouldn't it be so much easier to just buy and download the software online? It saves time for us, and is friendlier on the environment.
Turn Down/Up the Temperature: We have spoken about this before on this blog on Living an Eco-friendly Lifestyle:
"Heating and cooling accounts for a significant amount of a home's total energy consumption. So turning down the heat or turning up the air conditioning even by two degrees can have a significant impact."
- Use Reusable Bags for Groceries: Nowadays, just about everyone knows how bad plastic is for the environment. And yet, plastic bags are still such a big part of our lives. According to statistics, 84 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. Although we might not be able to eliminate their use entirely, you could reduce how much plastic bags you use by choosing to take reusable bags when grocery shopping.
- Recycle Newspapers: This is another easy way to be eco-friendly. Do you really need to keep all those old newspapers? Probably not. So, why not recycle them.
- Use Only a Few Paper Napkins: We admit, we sometimes also have the habit of grabbing a handful of paper napkins, especially when we go out to eat. And, admit it, don't we almost always throw most of them away? If we are a little more conscious, we could use lesser napkins and eat a bit more carefully.
- E-bills and Online Bill Payments: When we spend most of our time on our computers or phones, do we really need to receive those paper bills via snail mail anymore? Some of us may be getting e-bills and paying our bills online anyway. If you still get paper bills but do all bill payments online, take a moment to call the company and stop the paper bills. If you haven't taken this on yet, give it try. It not only helps the environment by saving paper, think of the time it saves you.
- Use E-tickets: This is something some of us may not have gotten used to yet. But considering how much we all travel these days, it's worth considering to help reduce the amount of unnecessary paper we use.
- Don’t Overfill the Kettle: Think about this one. How much water do you put in the kettle every time you want a cup of tea or coffee? And, do you end up using all of it? Furthermore, what do you do to the little bit that is left in the kettle the next time you use it? Most people probably dump out the remaining water and refill the kettle. Take a moment to see exactly how much water you might need and fill the kettle only that much.
- Turn off Faucet When Brushing Teeth: This is one of the simplest ways to save water on a daily basis. And this, too, is not a new one. But the tendency to leave the faucet on is stronger than we realize. Most of us brush our teeth at least twice a day. Think about how much water can be saved. According to some estimates, turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth can save up to 5 gallons of water every single day. And that will definitely add up if many people practice it.
- Doing the Laundry: We won't get into this one in too much detail here but wanted to keep it as a reminder. We did an extensive post on it earlier: How to Save Water When Doing Your Laundry.
- Go Meatless Once a Week: Did you know producing mean consumes an enormous amount of water? In some cases, it can be more than 2,000 gallons for a pound of meat. We would never advocate going entirely vegetarian to protect our planet - we need to be practical. But going meatless once a week, we think, is entirely doable.
- Use Glass/Refillable Bottles: We are so used to the bottle-water culture, we can't seem to live without them. But this massive use of plastic is a huge burden on the planet. Consider ditching your plastic water bottles and replacing it with a glass/refillable bottle. There are a variety of different kinds in various sizes in the market now.
- Recycle Old Cell Phones: Yet another new version of your phone has been released, and you have to have it. We don't disagree. We love new technology too. Try to keep in mind that old electronics are also taking its toll on the planet. Instead of letting the old devices get lost in the junk closet in your home, take a little time to find out where you can recycle it.
We hope we have given you some ideas that you can incorporate into your lives without disrupting it too much. Hope you and your families have a great Earth Day 2016.