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Easy Earth Day Challenge

I have mixed feelings about Earth Day, the 40th anniversary of which is celebrated today.  People celebrating and being educated once a year is great, no doubt.  In some ways (littering comes to mind), Earth Day education has inspired big changes. But the idea that people spend one day 'going green' to 'save the planet' is not enough.  Little updates in mindset and practices must happen day in and day out to make a difference.

So that's my challenge to you.  Over a meal together today with your family, or in a short conversation soon, choose one easy habit to adopt this year that will help take care of the earth's resources.  Here are some ideas:

  • Switch to cloth napkins
  • Plant a window box with lettuces
  • Turn off lights more often
  • Replace bulbs with compact flourescents (CFL)
  • Replace a weekly drive with a walk or bike ride
  • Buy more local real food
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Dry clothes on a clothes line
  • Mow your lawn less frequently to retain moisture and require less watering
  • Water your garden or lawn in early morning or late evening to lose less to evaporation
  • Install or use your rain barrel
  • Shop secondhand
  • Use low energy cooking methods, like toaster oven when you're only cooking a small dish, raw foods, hand blender/chopper, etc.
  • Inflate tires, drive 55, brake gently to increase gas mileage
  • Switch out a toxic cleaning product for a non-toxic or homemade one
  • Set the thermostat one degree higher in summer and one degree lower in winter
  • Buy non perishables in bulk to save packaging
  • Take cloth bags to the farmers market and grocery
  • Wash clothes only when they are dirty
  • Eat less meat
  • Choose restaurants that recycle, compost waste, and/or use reusable dishes

Our family is committing to be better about turning off lights and fans when we leave a room.  It's a hard thing to remember and often we waste electricity this way.

We're also going to do better about hanging laundry on the line.  We are in the lazy habit of using the dryer right now, even though the weather is beautiful.  Let's make it measurable: at least one half of loads will go out on the line, weather permitting.

What easy habit will you form this year?  Leave a comment for support to make the change permanent!