Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Make Earth Day Resolutions

Earth Day is next Monday so let’s start thinking of what we can do to help the environment!

Challenge yourself to helping the environment every day.

I don't want to rain on the parade, but I'm not 100 percent in love with Earth Day. Don't get me wrong—I love the awareness and the fact that projects get done on (and around) April 22. But what about the other 364 days of the year? So this Earth Day, I am challenging you to make Earth Day every day.

Sit down on April 22 and make your own Earth Day Resolutions—a list of day-to-day eco-friendly goals and challenges that will help you live a greener, cleaner and healthier life over the next 365 days. Don't know where to start? Naturally Savvy has some great suggestions.
  • Ditch plastic wrap (some of it contains PVC—yikes!)
  • Stop using paper plates. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It's wasteful and completely unnecessary. If you're worried about family time, make washing dishes or loading the dishwasher a rotating chore that you do with one of your kids each evening.
  • Use public transit
  • Walk or take your bike whenever possible
  • Stop using chemical cleaners. Switch to natural products or homemade solutions.
  • Choose organic foods—particularly when it comes to pesticide-heavy produce and genetically modified foods.
  • Grow your own fruits and vegetables to eliminate pesticides and a huge part of your carbon footprint.
  • Start composting!
  • Stop using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. There are tons of natural alternatives on the market and all sorts of home remedies. (Trust me, people with chemical sensitivities will thank you.)
  • Use cloth diapers.
  • Volunteer with a local recycling program or environmental group.
  • Paper or plastic? Neither. Always take along a reusable bag when you leave the house.
  • Learn one new thing about the environment every week, then pass it on. Knowledge is power.
  • Reduce your garbage to a maximum of one bag per week. (It's the limit in my town, and with four people in my house, we rarely fill the bag.)
  • Send one letter or postcard to a politician—local, state, federal or international—each month concerning an environmental issue. A politician once told me that one letter or postcard represents about 50 people who feel the same way. Politicians won't take the environment seriously unless you show them you do.
  • Cut your paper footprint and switch to recycled paper products—paper towels, toilet paper, printing paper.
  • Ditch wrapping paper and paper gift bags in favor of eco-friendly and reusable alternatives.
  • Refuse to use polystyrene (Styrofoam). If a restaurant or take-out joint uses it, point out that it's unhealthy and bad for the environment.
  • Don't buy products made with PVC (polyvinyl chlorate). PVC is difficult to recycle and a recent study links the phthalates in vinyl flooring to autism. Other places PVC is lurking include: shower curtains, rain gear...

    This list could go on and on. Mother Nature Network has tons of great advice on living a little greener, so take some time to browse the site if you're looking for other options.
So what are my resolutions? I already do a lot of the things listed above, but there's definitely room for improvement.
Cara's Earth Day Resolutions
  1. Plant a fruit and veggie garden
  2. Switch to organic, free range chicken and eggs
  3. Find a non-toxic, natural hair dye
  4. Send one letter per month to a politician concerning an environmental issue
  5. Always carry a reusable bag (I'm forgetful, but I'm vowing to remember!)
Cara Smusiak writes on behalf of Naturally about how to live a more natural, organic and green lifestyle