By Addie Gross
Earth is the "third rock" from the sun and the only planet in the solar system known to harbor life. Our planet's rapid spin and molten nickel-iron core give rise to an extensive magnetic field, which, along with the atmosphere, dose us the favor of shielding us from nearly all of the harmful radiation coming from the sun and other stars.
We can all return the favor as we celebrate Earth Day (April 22) and renew our individual efforts to help protect our Earth! With so many theories and choices, it may seem overwhelming at times. But if each of us does just a little bit, together we can help make a difference. Here are some easy ideas to get you going this Earth Day. Who knows- you may just feel so good about these that you'll be able to make every day Earth Day!
- Swap out your light bulbs. Why? Compact florescent light bulbs use less energy than regular old light bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and last up to ten times longer. They also save money in energy costs - more than $30 in the lifetime of one bulb. Another reason these bulbs are super cool is that they generate less heat than other bulbs; making home cooling costs significantly less in the summer. How? It's easy! Most stores are carrying them now, right next to the old kind of light bulbs. Don't wait for the next time you need light bulbs to make the switch - do it on Earth Day instead!
- Plant a tree or three. With Arbor Day (April 27th) just around the corner from Earth Day (April 22nd), this is your chance to practice planting a fruit tree or any other kind of tree! Why? Trees remove CO2 from the air and help fight global warming. They produce oxygen, give us shade in the summer, and provide a home for your neighborhood birds. Need another reason? Plant a fruit-bearing tree and you'll have a yummy reward for doing so! How? Check out your local nursery. They will be able to help you pick one out and give you planting advice. Make it an annual family event and within a few years you may have enough shade to drastically reduce your home cooling costs and some tasty fruit to boot!
- Curb your junk mail. This not only saves tons of paper, but you'll save time by not having to fish through a sea of junk mail to find your personal mail and birthday cards! How? Pull out the pre-paid stamped envelope in your junk mail, write "please remove" on the envelope and send it back to them - on their dime. In the long run it helps everyone -- they don't have to pay for future mailings and you are no longer buried in piles of junk mail.
- Have a picnic! ! Planning one has never been easier since everything comes in one simple kit. Well, everything but the food and family fun. So while you're shopping make sure you stop by your local farmer's market for some locally grown & organic produce. Click here to find one near you!
- Turn off lights and unplug cell phone chargers. This one couldn't be simpler. Walk around your house, notice any unnecessary lights that are on and turn them off. Don't forget to unplug cell phone chargers, mp3 player chargers, etc. Your chargers are using electricity even though your electronic devices are not connected to them.
- Try doing "conscious" laundry. Instead of saving those piles of laundry for your Saturday or Sunday afternoon, do it at night when energy costs are lower. If you have to do laundry during the day try hanging your clothes outside in natures dryer. Also try some eco-friendly laundry products, like All-Natural Laundry Soda Bundle or Oasis Soap.
- Drive the speed limit. This one may be the hardest one. Driving the speed limit increases your miles per gallon, in turn saving you dollars at the pump. You can also minimize unnecessary miles by stacking errands in one trip. This just takes a little bit of planning, but with rising gas prices your wallet will thank you!
- Carry your own water bottle. Reduce the amount of plastic water bottle waste in the world by carrying your own. Stainless steel and polycarbonate drinking bottles are both non-toxic and super-durable. We recommend New Wave Enviro's water bottles.
- Recycle at work. Most people do it at home, but there are a shocking number of offices and workplaces that don't recycle. Just think about the amount of wasted paper that could be recycled but instead is being thrown away with the trash! Earth Day is the time to stop thinking about it and start doing something about it. It's easy! Don't be embarrassed or afraid. Just find a few co-workers to help you and back you up on this mission. The paper shredder is a good place to start. You can also request colored waste bins marked "RECYCLE" to place next to the other trashcans. Put a list of all acceptable items on the front so others know what can be recycled and what still needs to be thrown away. Oh, and if you don't already do this at home, start there.
- Buy Mom a green gift for Mother's Day. For the mom who loves to garden, check out our Gardener's Remedy Kit. Or just completely spoil her with our warm & spicy eco-body set.
Addie Gross is a Certified and Registered Yoga Teacher and is the Yoga Training Coordinator for the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona. Committed to living sustainably, she has a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from the University of Washington in Seattle.