Happy Earth Day! Today, people all around the world celebrate this international holiday. US Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day after witnessing a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969. April 22nd was chosen to encourage the younger generation to participate as it falls within spring break. Wondering where to start or how to help? Here are a few ways you can get started:
Bringing your own bag (BYOB) to the grocery stores is a great way to engage in protecting Earth and helping the environment. It takes over 1000 years for a single plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. You can now find reusable produce bags and coolers just about everywhere. If grocery stores are not accepting BYOB, you can also bag your groceries in the parking lot. By bringing your bag to the grocery stores, you cut down the usage of plastic bags and help reduce the amount of trash going into landfills.
Repurposing your food scraps is another form to support your environment. The next time you’re cooking with vegetables, save your vegetable scraps to make delicious homemade stock in the future. Store the scraps in the freezer and use them whenever you are ready! You can also use food scraps to create compost, which makes a great fertilizer for your home garden. Being able to repurpose scraps will help you reduce waste, and benefits both you and your environment!
Shopping for local produce is a great way to join in because it supports your local farmers and helps cut down transit. It takes about 1.4 quadrillion BTU (BTU stands for “British thermal unit,” which refers to the measure of the heat content of fuel or energy source) of energy to move food between states and countries to get it from the farm to your table. Not only does shopping local produce cut down energy and resources in transporting produce, but you'll also be able to taste fresh, in-season produce and support your community and local businesses. Purchasing local produce has wonderful benefits for you and Earth.
These are just a few ways to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, but there are other resources like starting a garden or buying sustainable products. Next time you go out, whether it’s Earth Day or any other day of the year, take a moment to think about how you can do your share in helping the environment.