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What Will You Do to Celebrate Earth Day 2012?

2012 April 14

One person can make a difference … 31+ steps you can take now to help the earth.

Earth Day 2012Each year Earth Day, April 22nd marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

Today, more than ever, we need to take time to consider the issues because the environmental problems facing the world are enormous.

Earth’s finite resources are being stretched to the limit by rapid population growth, air, water and soil pollution, and much more.

Global warming, spurred by our use of fossil fuels for energy and transportation as well as mass scale agriculture and other human activities, threatens to push our planet beyond its ability to support human life unless we can meet the growing need for food, energy and economic opportunity within a sustainable environment.

In the face of such huge global problems, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless, and to find ourselves asking …

What difference can one person make?

The answer is that one person can make ALL the difference in the world. Each of us has the power through our daily decisions and lifestyle choices to make our homes and communities more environmentally friendly.

Steps you can take today to help the earth

Fair warning … this is a longer post than usual, but I believe (hope) you’ll find the following information useful and inspirational.

Make the switch to reusable shopping bags

Plastic bags end up as litter and kill thousands of marine mammals every year that mistake the floating bags for food. Plastic bags that get buried in landfills may take up to 1,000 years to break down, and in the process they separate into smaller and smaller toxic particles that contaminate soil and water. If all that weren’t bad enough, the production of plastic bags consume millions of gallons ofcloth shopping bag oil that could be used for fuel and heating.

Many people opt for Paper bags in the belief they are better, but they carry their own set of environmental problems. For example, according to the American Forest and Paper Association, in 1999 the U.S. alone used 10 billion paper grocery bags, which adds up to a lot of trees.

What’s the answer? Reusable cloth bags.

Recycle, Reuse

Recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. If there isn’t a recycling program at your workplace, school, or in your community, ask about starting one. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

At the office … why not organize a shredding party and clean out your old files that loyally sit there year after year just gathering dust. You may not actually recycle a ton, but the paper will mount up. A cubic yard of stacked paper weighs about 600 pounds!

Encourage your children to recycle their old toys and games

By giving their old toys and games to other children who could make use of them, your children learn two valuable lessons: One is about giving to others and the second is about reusing and recycling instead of throwing things away. Adults can also do this with clothes, electrical items, books and more.

Rid the roads of litter

Many groups use Earth Day to clear roadways, highways and neighborhood streets and local companies often sponsor the purchase of supplies such as gloves, bags and refreshments. Check your community calendar to see if there’s a highway clean up group you can join. You’ll meet some terrific people!

Live near a river? Participate in the National River Clean-up. Since its start in 1991, more than 1,045,000 volunteers have participated in thousands of cleanups across the country covering more than 205,500 miles of waterways. These cleanups have removed more than 13 million pounds of litter and debris from America’s rivers and streams. To learn more visit the American River’s website.

Reduce Junk Mail

Reducing the amount of junk mail you receive will save energy, natural resources, landfill space, tax dollars, and a lot of your personal time.

  • 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements end up in U.S. landfills annually. The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year—more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined.
  • 44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half that much junk mail (22 percent) is recycled.
  • Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that doesn’t get recycled. On average, Americans spend 8 months opening junk mail in the course of their lives.

Register Your Name to Reduce Junk Mail: OK, now that you’ve decided to reduce the volume of junk mail you receive, how do you go about it? Start by registering with the Mail Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). It won’t guarantee you a life free of junk mail, but it can make a big difference.

Get Off Junk Mail Lists: You can also go to OptOutPreScreen.com, which can enable you to remove your name from lists that mortgage, credit card and insurance companies use to mail you offers and solicitations. It’s a centralized website run by the four major credit bureaus in the United States: Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit bureaus to delete your name from their rented lists if you make the request.

Change Your Light Bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are more energy efficient and less expensive to use than the traditional incandescent bulbs invented by Thomas Edison. For example, compact fluorescent light bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and they last up to 10 times longer.

Eat locally grown food to reduce global warming

The average fresh food item on our dinner table travels 1,500 miles to get there. Buying locally produced food eliminates the need for all that fuel-guzzling transportation. Another benefit of eating locally is helping the local economy. Farmers on average receive only 20 cents of each food dollar spent; the rest goes for transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration and marketing. Additionally, eating locally encourages the use of local farmland for farming, thus keeping development in check while preserving open space. Talk about a win/win!

Visit a landfill near youEarth Day 2012

Ever been to your local landfill? Trust me, if you aren’t sold on recycling and reusing now, you WILL be after your visit … you’ll never think about trash in the same way again.

Attend an earth day event in your area

The centerpiece of Earth Day in the United States will be a rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Sunday, April 22nd. Tens of thousands of environmentally-conscious people from all walks of life and all parts of the country will be joined by civic leaders and celebrities for this special event to galvanize the environmental movement. Check your community calendar to find an event near you.

Set an example for your children by creating your own Earth Day family event

Create a zero-carbon day by turning off the TV and spending time outside. Walk, take the bus or ride bikes wherever you go; play a game, or borrow some library books and as a family read up on an issue such as pollution, endangered species, water shortages, recycling, and climate change.

Plant a tree in your yard or the yard of an elderly or disabled friend or neighbor. Make a little ceremony out of it – it’ll be a fun family day, you’ll be setting a great example for the kids as well as helping to “green” your neighborhood.

Even more ideas …

  • Recycle your old appliances or dispose of them properly.
  • Clean the coils behind or underneath your refrigerator with a tapered appliance brush to keep it running efficiently.
  • Take advantage of online bill paying options.
  • Plant a tree and/or a garden
  • Start washing larger loads, and when loads are smaller, choose a lower water level setting if your machine does not automatically do this.
  • Dust off the slow cooker. You’ll use a lot less energy than cooking a meal across several burners and in the oven.
  • Skip pre-rinsing dishes – you’ll save up to 6,500 gallons of water per year.
  • Opt for the cold-water wash cycle, which will save you about $60 a year.
  • Stop buying bottled water and learn about water crisis issues
  • Give up drying cleaning.
  • Instead of the electric dryer, hang laundry outside on warm days.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F and insulate hot-water pipes to knock up to 5 percent off your energy bills.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead. It will reduce hot-water use by up to 50 percent.
  • Upgrade to a low-flow toilet to save 4,000 gallons per year.
  • Drain your water heater to remove sediment, which can decrease efficiency.
  • Fix a leaky faucet.
  • Put your PC to sleep. Save $25 to $75 each year by using the system standby or hibernating feature on your computer.
  • Plug electronics into a power strip so that you can turn them all off at once.

Earth Day 2012Spread the word

If you’re a blogger share your own creative thoughts on how to celebrate Earth Day. If you’re not, why not Tweet, “Like” or otherwise share this article to remind everyone you know about Earth Day and how we all can make a difference.

To learn more about Earth Day and more ways to get involved visit the Earth Day Network website here: http://www.earthday.org/2012

Thanks!If you enjoyed this article or would like to contribute to the conversation, please take a moment to leave a comment, love to hear from you!

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Mahalo!

19 Responses
  1. May 23, 2012

    Even though it is no longer Earth Day today we must still care for our environment and keep it clean. Each of us have a huge part in making our planet a better place to live in.

  2. April 20, 2012

    Yes, please put efforts to help earth because we have only one home in the complete universe.

  3. April 18, 2012

    Hi Marquita,
    I am gald to see post on Earth day and I am planning to plant trees because it helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cleans pollution, secures soil in place to prevent erosion, and provides homes for a lot of biodiversity.
    Pete Goumas recently posted..Spartoo Coupon & ReviewMy Profile

  4. April 17, 2012

    Marty, These are some fantastic suggestions for celebrating Earth Day 2012! If all of us would do at least one thing on your list we could make a huge difference. Protecting our earth is so important not just for us but for all the future generations to come. Thanks for sharing all of this inspiring information.
    Shelley Alexander recently posted..Broccoflower Lemon Jasmine SoupMy Profile

  5. Jason Homes
    Twitter:
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    April 17, 2012

    One simple way that I know can create a big impact in our environment is using reusable bags and avoiding plastic shopping bags. In addition, reusing and recycling things in our home does not only help the environment but is also help us boost our creativity and save money.

  6. April 16, 2012

    Awesome reminder Marquita. I live in a green town. We recycle EVERYTHING! We have “free sales” and notify via craigslist and a facebook group when we have stuff to get rid of. I have put out so much stuff and posted in my group. Within an hour it is gone. I also go to Free Sales to collect books for the elderly and pass them on.
    There is recycle trash cans everywhere in my town. And I love it. As far as going to the grocery store without my own bag, people will look at you like you have ten heads.
    I also have a compost container in my yard. It makes excellent compost for my garden and also eliminates so much garbage for the dump.
    Our community dump site has several places to dump computers, cell phones etc. They are donated to schools sometimes for kids to take apart and put together again.
    This is the main reason I moved to Ithaca!
    We also have many local farms. I buy local as much as possible.
    Bottom line: Earth Day is every day for me.
    Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted..The Power Of TribesMy Profile

  7. April 16, 2012

    You’ve got many great Earth Day tasks and notions, Marty.

    Each of us walks his own path.

    I think my greatest contribution to Earth Day will be to rededicate myself to harmony with my enemies… those with whom I disagree, or don’t even like.

    If we can’t get past the good-guy, bad-guy, the leftist, the rightist, the rich-guy, poor-guy… mentality, then our self-righteous intolerance of the perceived “enemy” will bring mankind to its knees, and threaten the harmony of the earth far more than tungsten light bulbs.

    As we clean streams and praise no-tobacco zones, the world is at the precipice of devastation never heretofore known, as “enemies” scramble to obliterate one another to prove they are right.

    My 2 cents :)

    Blessings to all.
    David Merrill recently posted..Static HTML: iframe tabs | Update Facebook TimelinesMy Profile

  8. April 16, 2012

    Hi Marquita ,
    Excellent post. Our Earth is our mother land and it’s our responsibity to take care of our land even a small actions can have great consequences like Picking up litter, recycle, turn off the water when you brush your teeth etc but all we need is awareness that how we could reduce environmental issues of our earth. Today, I found the best thing in this post is DMA and OptOutPreScreen.com and after writing this comment, I will go to registor my address on one of the website.Thankyou soo much for this post.
    Syeda Mehwish recently posted..Moosejaw Coupon Code and ReviewMy Profile

  9. Stanton Barrett permalink
    April 15, 2012

    These ideas are great! Last weekend, me and family had a general cleaning in our house. We put old stuffs in a garage sale. Recycled some old clothes and made it as cleaning rags and donated some of it, and a lot more. Little by little, we try to save everything we can as much as possible! Next week, we’re planning to replace all the light into Eco-friendly ones. Can’t wait :)
    Stanton Barrett recently posted..MSDSonline Management Partners with ICG Group, to Acquire MSDSonline from Existing InvestorsMy Profile

    • April 16, 2012

      Congratulations Stanton, you and your family are definitely setting a wonderful standard, and as a parent you’re leading the way. Thanks so much for sharing the wonderful work you are doing!

  10. April 15, 2012

    Marquita,

    You have given us a check list to complete. Everyone has a few minutes to go through their homes and just do something. I know the importance of just the fridge being clean and allow the air to flow. Hey, just reducing the temperature on those day between shopping. You do not need to pump all that power with nothing but eggs in it. Reducing just this will help.

    Changing your smoke alarms will reduce problems of false alarms to the fire department.

    There is just too much that you can’t just take a few minutes to get seven done.

    Even now with summer arriving. You can turn on your air conditioning at 5AM and keep it on until 8 am. Then keep the shades close and no windows open will keep your whole house cool during those hot days. It works and you will feel the difference. Unplug the T.Vs and computers will stop the heat from those objects being generated. Just feel how much heat just on a small TV. That computer not in use can be unplugged without any damage.

    Hey, just do something as simple as being aware of what is one in each room is good.

    Marquita, your so amazing with giving us a chance to see where all can help. Thank you for caring.
    William Amis recently posted..WOW!My Profile

    • April 16, 2012

      Hey William, great tips to add to the list! Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation, always appreciated.

  11. April 15, 2012

    I was happy to read your post and thrilled to find that I already do most of the things you mentioned. I definitely get my kids involved as you’ve mentioned. Caring for our world does not stop with us, and I think it’s very important to insure that our kids will carry on doing it when we’re gone. This is why it’s vital we teach them now so that they actually care. Great post.
    Anne recently posted..Self-Confidence: 5 Ways To Build ItMy Profile

    • April 15, 2012

      Hi Anne, so glad you liked the article and good for you and your all your efforts to help the environment! I agree that one of the MOST important things any of us can do is set a good example for the kids – helping the environment starts with us but must be continued through the generations in order for any sustainable improvement to be achieved. Thanks!

  12. April 15, 2012

    Great Ideas!
    I didn’t know about the DMA. I am for sure going to sign up, can’t stand all the junk I get in the mail.
    About the landfill… you’re absolutely right! It changes the way you think about disposing and trashing things. My husband and I are thinking of getting a composter and start our own little veggie garden.
    Cynthia recently posted..Most Viewed Youtube Video – April 15th 2012My Profile

    • April 15, 2012

      Thanks for sharing Cynthia – what a great idea! I’d love to start a garden but I love atop a hill and my house is actually up on stilts so other than the bit of grass around downstars and in back of my carport, not much area for a garden. Still, I do enjoy my trecks to the local farmer’s market :-)

  13. April 14, 2012

    Hi Marty,

    You have made some excellent points in this article . It is amazing if we all change our habits it can make such a difference for limiting the damage. Here in Ireland we have a tax for plastic bags in the supermarkets . No one wants to pay the tax so people bring there own bags. Take care Rosemary

    • April 15, 2012

      Hi Rosemary, glad you found the article helpful and thanks for sharing about the tax on plastic bags in Ireland. Plastic bags were banned ourtright here in Maui last year. At first it there was no other option outside of bringing your own bag for shopping; but as a result our high dependence on the tourism industry many of the larger grocery and convenience stores now offer recycled (?) paper bags. I’m sure we all pay for them, but I do understand why they need to do it because when you go on vacation the last thing on your mind is going to be bringing cloth bags for shopping. Thanks!

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