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Making Earth Day Personal

Earth Day celebrates respect for our planet, but it's also a wake-up call to turn awareness into action.
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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.

At the Store
  • 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.
At School
  • 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!
In the Office
  • 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.
On the Road
  • 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.
For more information, see earthday.net, earthday.gov, and EPA.gov/earthday.

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