12 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Sustainably

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Hurricanes, floods, fires, rising sea levels, crumbling glaciers—all signs of a warming world. But, if climate change seems like a certainty as we approach yet another Earth Day, take heart. There’s a lot you can do personally to combat the climate crisis. Here are 12 steps you can take on Earth Day and every day to help protect the planet.

  1. Buy organic. Conventional agriculture relies heavily on synthetic fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides that can disrupt hormones and increase the risk of cancer. Organic food, on the other hand is free from chemical residue. Plus, it’s been found to be more nutritious.
  2. Conserve water. Using water-saving techniques results in less water being diverted from our rivers, bays, and estuaries. Taking shorter showers and installing drip irrigation also help reduce the amount of energy used to treat, pump, and heat water.
  3. Don’t fall for “greenwashing.” A growing number of companies claim to be environmentally responsible, but in reality, they aren’t. In fact, research shows that an astounding 95 percent of products are greenwashed.To avoid this marketing ploy, do your homework into the companies you buy from and look for third-party certified products with clearly labeled seals.
  4. Jump on the regenerative agriculture wagon. Support your local regenerative farmers to help protect and conserve farmland in your region. You can also donate to regenerative organizations like Regenerative Organic Alliance or Regeneration International.
  5. Drive less. Reducing the amount you drive by just 20 miles per week saves about 900 pounds of CO2 each year. When possible, consider walking, biking, carpooling, or using public transportation.
  6. Go with chemical-free cleaning. The average household cleaning product contains 62 toxic chemicals, 2-butoxyethanol, chlorine, formaldehyde, and phthalates, that aren’t required to be listed on the label. However, these ingredients have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption, and neurotoxicity. Instead, opt for nontoxic cleaning products, or make your own with vinegar, lemon, and baking soda.
  7. Replace your lightbulbs. Switch out conventional light bulbs for compact fluorescents. Changing just one 75-watt bulb to a CF bulb cuts roughly 1,300 pounds of CO2.
  8. Lessen your reliance on plastics. About 100 billion nondegradable plastic shopping bags are thrown out every year, adding to the growing nonbiodegradable burden in landfills. What’s more, that plastic water bottle you just tossed in the trash can take up to 450 years to break down. Instead of plastic, choose more earth-friendly reusable alternatives like glass, metal, or hemp.
  9. Promote garden pollinators. Choose garden plants that attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Doing so makes your garden more eco-friendly since pollinated plants require few, if any, harmful chemicals.
  10. Install a programmable thermostat to heat and cool your home. But if you rent, simply setting your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter can save 350 pounds of CO2 annually and two percent on your heating bill.
  11. Switch to nontoxic personal care products. Many of the ingredients in drug and department store cosmetics and personal care products are derived from petroleum. Stocking your bathroom with botanically based products can keep you looking good without relying of fossil fuels.
  12. Get the facts. Keep up to date on climate change and join the fight at edf.org or climate.nasa.gov.

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