Every year on April 22nd, most of the world joins together in celebrating the giant, spherical, floating space rock that we call home. Some make it a point to get outside and enjoy this wonder of nature, some take it as an opportunity to volunteer their time and clean up the environment around them. Each and every one of us has our own connection to this planet, and however you choose to celebrate that is up to you, but this Earth Day, let’s try to do one thing together: let’s be better to it.
I can’t imagine many of you don’t know what this is, but I bet a few of you (myself included until just a few minutes ago) don’t know how much can be recycled these days. It used to be you could only recycle paper, plastic, and glass. Not anymore. Now you can recycle tires, batteries, aluminum, old mobile phones, old electronics (it’s called e-cycling #clever), and more.
If you find yourself with a bunch of stuff you no longer need, or use, chances are you can recycle it. Find a recycling plant near you and help keep this planet, our home, clean and healthy.
Admittedly, this one is a little more esoteric, but it’s useful and helpful nonetheless. The basic idea is to take all your organic waste (rinds, egg shells, coffee grounds, vegetable skins, etc), allow it to decompose, and recycle it into a fertilizer and supplement for your soil. It sounds gross and intimidating but it’s fairly straightforward.
Composting will help reduce the amount of organic, and otherwise useful, matter that is being poured into the landfills, AND give you an incredibly sustainable source of soil nutrients without all those added chemicals #winwin.
BUY LOCAL AND SEASONAL
Technology has brought us to a time where we can eat anything we want, whenever we want. Doesn’t matter if it’s out of season, or native to a country on the other side of the world. If we want it, it’s ours. But this isn’t great for our environment. For starters, it requires our food to travel farther, creating a larger carbon footprint, but it also necessitates the use of more preservatives to make sure the food doesn’t spoil en route.
Locally sourced food – food that travels fewer than 400 miles (though some would say 100 miles) to get to your plate – requires fewer preservatives because it travels many fewer miles, which also means the carbon footprint is significantly smaller. It’s nice to have cheese that is sourced from France, but it’s better for Mother Earth to have cheese sourced from your local dairy – unless of course your local dairy is in France, in which case, go nuts.
The same can be said for buying a seasonal fruit out of season. The food travels farther, it’s pumped with preservatives, and to top it all off, it’s more expensive. For the sake of the environment and for the sake of you try buying locally sourced, and seasonally appropriate produce. (Did you know local and seasonal foods are also generally better for your health? You’re welcome.)
This is the number one key to being better to Earth: remember what it is. We humans aren’t the best forward thinkers. We see what’s in front of us and we make our decisions based on whatever it is. It’s not often that we make a decision while taking into account the potential consequences (positive or negative) that may be waiting for us six months, six years, or 600 years down the road. Let’s start doing that.
There is one known planet in the entire universe that can host life, and we’re sitting on it. We shouldn’t take that for granted. If we can start thinking of Earth as the fragile, resilient, hospitable home that it is, instead of taking it for granted, the future of Earth, and the humans that call her home, will be much brighter.
Until next time - look at that beautiful blue marble