Earth Day gifts

Daniel Kordan

When it comes to the planet, the choices we make matter. The increasing warming of our climate necessitates immediate action to ensure the health of humanity, our ecosystems, and the world as a whole. In preparation for Earth Day next month, there are a couple of things you can do right now to help restore the world’s ecological balance:

  • Switch to organic, locally grown food. According to the USEPA, runoff from agriculture “was the leading source of water quality impacts on surveyed rivers and lakes, the second largest source of impairments to wetlands, and a major contributor to contamination of surveyed estuaries and ground water.” Locally grown, fresh food uses fewer resources to produce and deliver to your table. Look for farmer’s markets to find organic, locally sourced food, and keep an eye out in your grocery store, most major chains now carry a variety of these options as well.  
  • Decrease  single-use plastic in your day-to-day life. According to Daniella Russo of Think Beyond Plastic, less than 14% of the plastic used around the world is ever recycled. And it’s a problem that’s getting worse, not better. Small changes like swearing off plastic water bottles, choosing restaurants that use paper or other sustainable materials for takeout, and remembering to take reusable bags when you go grocery shopping make a big difference. A great way to get started is to keep track of it for a week. Take a picture every time you accept a plastic bag or forget to say “no thanks” to a straw. It’s shocking how quickly we accumulate single-use plastic. Another solution is to support the development of innovative non-petroleum based materials, like plant-based plastic, silberboard and wood pulp cellophane. It’s hopeful to see companies investing in reusable business practices, as seen with Loop, which partners with corporations to create a circular e-commerce platform to deliver your favorite products in reusable containers.
  • Finally, tell your electric utility to provide clean, renewable energy. In many states you can sign up for something called “community choice aggregation” (CCAs). As the USEPA describes, these programs allow communities “to procure power… from an alternative supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility provider. CCAs are an attractive option for communities that want…to negotiate better rates with competitive suppliers and choose greener power sources.” Check your utility’s website for more information in your area.

Perhaps the greatest thing we can do is realize that we are all responsible for the planet. The steps we take now are critical to ensuring the world’s health today and for generations to come.

Last updated April 18, 2019

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