Making Earth Day Personal
As millions of people take part in April 22's Earth Day, you can lighten the load on our planet with a few simple conservation steps at home, work, school, in your car, and at the store.
Many suggestions by Earth Day organizers involve old-fashioned conservation, with a few updates to bring them into the 21st century. For instance:
In the Home
- Replace conventional light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, reducing your "carbon footprint" by hundreds of pounds a year.
- Run your dishwasher only when it is full.
- Take shorter showers and install a low-flow showerhead.
- Set your water heater's thermostat no higher than 120 degrees.
- Wash clothes in cold water.
- Recycle glass, paper, and plastic.
- Use your heater and air conditioner less; use sweaters and short pants more.
- Buy locally, saving the energy required to truck your items to the store.
- Buy items with less packaging.
- Buy organic food to reduce chemical pollution of the water supply.
- Start a recycling program on your campus.
- Save paper by using both sides of notebooks and keeping a recycling bin in the classroom.
- Organize a cleanup day for your school and surrounding area.
- If possible, walk or bike to school. Get your friends to join you!
- Promote conservation by creating an environmental mascot for your school. Make it a contest!
- Eliminate unnecessary photocopying; set copier to use both sides of the paper, and stock it with old scratch paper or letterhead.
- Reuse packaging for shipping and storage.
- Check with local utility provider for money- and energy-saving consultations.
- Encourage emailing instead of paper memos.
- Teleconference instead of traveling; when traveling consider funding sustainable energy projects by buying "carbon offsets" at earthday.net or carbonfund.org.
- Change your car's air filter regularly.
- Keep tires properly inflated for better gas mileage.
- When possible, carpool, or take the bus or train.
- If possible, buy a fuel-efficient car, such as a hybrid.