Earth Day – a day to celebrate sunny skies, tall trees, singing birds, the feeling of grass beneath your toes and just about everything else that is wonderful about this world. On Earth Day, whether you spend time your time on a beach, in the mountains, walking through a forest or sitting in a park, make sure you stop, take a good look around and acknowledge the beauty that is nature. The earth gives us so much when we let it. Fresh oxygen in the air, fresh food in the soil, fresh water in our lakes and rivers and a total sense of calm whenever we choose to spend time outdoors. Today is a day to thank the earth for these gifts and also to consider how we as human beings can minimize our footprint. The truth is, our daily habits create our impact on this planet which can add up in a big way.
So what’s the first step to living a more sustainable lifestyle? I think we have to start with (1) becoming educated on why green living matters and (2) discovering exactly how we can make an impact. Trust me, it’s easier than you think and once you start, you probably won’t be able to stop. To get you started, here are five easy ways you can reduce your footprint and positively impact our planet.
The truth is, our daily habits create our impact on this planet which can add up in a big way.
1. Get yourself a travel mug – according to CarryYourCup, if you buy just one cup of coffee or tea in a disposable cup every day, you’ll end up creating about 23lbs of waste in one year. The website also goes on to say that 25 billion Styrofoam cups are thrown away every year. Even worse, Styrofoam cannot be recycled, so it will be sitting in our landfills 500 years from now . All that waste created from our endless love for coffee and tea! Do the earth a favor and invest in a good travel mug. Not only will you save money by packing a to go mug but the coffee or tea won’t taste any different if it’s not in a disposable cup – promise!
2. Choose local and organic – “Eat organic food, or as our grandparents called it, food” – source unknown. I could go on and on about the benefits of choosing local and organic foods but since this is Earth Day, I’ll focus on the benefits these things have on our earth. Studies have shown that organic farming methods are far more sustainable than conventional methods, leading to less soil erosion and healthier, nutrient dense topsoil for future use. A study conducted by the Rodale Institute collected long-term data over 30 years which demonstrated that organic farming matches the yields of conventional farming, while positively contributing to organic soil matter and requiring 45% less energy to maintain . In addition, organic farming doesn’t use harmful pesticides that can seep into our groundwater. If you can buy organic and local – even better! By buying locally, you are reducing the impact of transportation emissions on the atmosphere. Plus, your food is fresher and you are supporting local farmers. Do yourself a favor and get to know where your food comes from. It should be made with love!
3. Eat less meat – Fact: animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation . Many studies have been done that show that animal agriculture has a massive impact on the planet. It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce only one pound of beef. To put this in perspective, you would save less water if you gave up showering for six months. Another interesting fact? If everyone gave up one serving of chicken one time per week, it would save the same amount of C02 emissions as taking 500,000 cars off the road . As you can see, you don’t have to become a vegan to make an impact. You only need to make a commitment to eating less animal products. Your body and the earth will thank you!
4. Commit to quit bottled water – did you know that people drink enough bottled water each year to stretch around the world over 100 times? According to TheWorldCounts, over 100 million plastic bottles are used worldwide every single day. But what about recycling? When it comes to recycling, numbers show that only 1 in 5 plastic bottles are actually recycled, with the rest getting buried in landfills somewhere. Sadly, they will stay buried for a long time, as it takes one bottle 700 years to start decomposing . If we do that math, that’s 80 million plastic bottles being buried in our earth every single day. That is absolute insanity. Promise yourself that you will stop contributing. Invest in a water filter for at home use and carry a reusable bottle wherever you go.
5. Stop supporting fast fashion – according to research, the average person throws away 65lbs of textiles each year. This adds up to 13.1 million tons of textiles thrown away yearly in North America alone. Of this 13.1 million, only 15% are recovered for reuse or recycling . The rest end up in our landfills. Since I’m from Toronto, this fact particularly hit home: “In a single year, Canada produces enough textile waste to create a mountain three times the size of Toronto’s Rogers Centre stadium” . In case you aren’t familiar with the Roger’s Centre, it has a capacity of 49,000 people. Invest in quality fabrics that stand the test of time and say no to low cost (low quality) wardrobe pieces that you will wear a few times and toss.
And because I couldn’t resist a 6th tip…
6. Share your love for the earth by sharing this article – because by sharing, you are spreading knowledge and knowledge is power after all. Each thing included here will impact the planet if you implement them on the daily. Imagine if you could convince even a handful of people you know to do the same? That my friends, is how individual action creates ripple effects that lead to big change.
I hope some of these facts and statistics have motivated you to make some positive, green living changes in your life. Let’s work together to love the earth.
Happy Earth Day.
The earth gives us so much when we let it. Fresh oxygen in the air, fresh food in the soil, fresh water in our lakes and rivers and a total sense of calm whenever we choose to spend time outdoors.
Keep Shining — Kate☀️
*Note: This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Sources  http://www.carryyourcup.org  http://www.foodmatters.com/article/the-real-evidence-that-organic-is-best  http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/  http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/infographic-veganism-and-the-environment/  http://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/Bottled_Water_Waste_Facts  http://www.dailyinfographic.com/how-many-pounds-of-textiles-are-trashed-every-year  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/craig-and-marc-kielburger/clothing-waste-canada_b_10634478.html