Earth Day is an annual event that occurs on April 22 to demonstrate support of the environment. What began in 1970 has grown into a global affair to honor both the Earth and peace. As stewards of the planet, humans have the primary duty to look after the world that God created. Environmental responsibility of our earthly home calls us to conserve its valuable resources and protect the land, sea, and sky, as well as the life that grows and lives around us. Here are three incredibly easy ways to live life more sustainably in honor of Earth Day:
1) Donate gently used items. The Goodwill organization explains that the average U.S. citizen throws away 81 pounds of clothing every year. In addition, clothes and household textiles make up 6.3% of the waste stream in the USA. A primary goal of the organization is to stop the cycle of landfill waste with easy, eco-friendly choices. They encourage people to donate gently used items (like clothing and housewares and shoes) to Goodwill “…to keep them out of landfills and give them new life in the hands of others.” The trusted organization offers ‘pop and drop’ locations that follow social distancing safety guidelines. Be sure to get an acknowledgment (receipt) of your donations for tax purposes. Since the IRS requires donors to value their items, keep an itemized list of donations. Use the valuation guide for Goodwill donors, which provides estimated values to help guide you.
2) Conserve water – Per EPA.gov, a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. They explain that it’s the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers! Per prior statistics from 2015, the EPA shared that at that time, each American used an average of 82 gallons of water a day at home. People wasting water is a big problem in the U.S., but it is not one without hope if we conserve. The EPA suggests using WaterSense labeled products designed to be highly effective yet water-efficient. They also state that the average family can save 13,000 gallons of water and $130 in water costs per year by replacing old, inefficient toilets with WaterSense models. Fixing household leaks, running the dishwasher and washer only when full, and turning off the tap while doing tasks such as teeth brushing or washing dishes can save tons of water and money. Outdoor water can be wasted by over-sprinkling and by poor landscape irrigation systems. The EPA states that if the average size lawn in the U.S. is watered for 20 minutes every day for seven days, it’s like running the shower for four days non-stop! A great way to solve that problem is to consider Xeriscape, a type of landscape design that uses low-water-use or drought-tolerant plants that require little to no supplemental irrigation and can dramatically lower your watering bill.
3) Start a compost pile – Composting is a great way to reuse food scraps by turning them into decomposed organic material. The EPA states that food scraps and yard waste make up more than a whopping 30 percent of what we throw away. When we simply discard this type of waste, not only do we fill landfills, but we also create methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Composting is a wonderful way to minimize food waste from ending up in the trash. It requires browns such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs, greens like vegetable waste and grass clippings, and water for compost development. A good compost pile will have equal amounts of browns to greens, and the material should be alternated. The brown materials provide carbon, and the green materials provide nitrogen. With the water, together, they break down into organic matter. Composting is a money-saving idea because the organic material that is created can then be added to soil in a vegetable garden, acting as a valuable yet free, natural fertilizer to help other plants grow. Check the local recycling and composting resources of your state to see how you can help.
Earth Day is an event that should be celebrated year-round. While we can individually do our part, by acting together, we can create even greater positive and lasting impressions on the Earth while setting a healthy precedent for future generations to follow.
Please feel free to comment below and share creative ways we can be greener on Earth while saving some money and making the world a better place to live.
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