Today we celebrate our planet and all of the wonderful things that make it so unique. The Earth provides us with everything we need to live a healthy life, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. It is important that we do our part to protect and conserve this incredible resource. There are many ways we can each make a difference, from small everyday choices to larger actions. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can help keep our planet healthy!
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
While most of us have heard this one repeated throughout our lifetimes, it can still be difficult to remember. It is also important to consider the order of these words. Recycling is the last thing on this list. As much as we’re able, we should focus on reducing our waste (yes, even recyclable waste) and reusing as many things as possible.
Our beautiful planet is full of water but unfortunately, that water is being polluted in countless ways around the world. And unfortunately, some of these pollutants can never be removed. It may feel like water is infinite on our planet because it is so plentiful but we must be mindful of how much we’re using and what we’re doing with it—both on an individual scale and by the larger choices that we make. Consider taking shorter showers, collecting rainwater for watering plants, improving your dishwashing routine, repairing leaky faucets and old appliances, and spending your money on products that don’t contribute to the overconsumption and pollution of waterways.
Make Sustainable Choices
Many of the disposable items we’ve grown accustomed to actually have more sustainable and/or locally made alternatives. Sadly, the pandemic resulted in a 53% increase in packaging waste from the average household. Consider trying something new by swapping out a disposable product for something new. This might include taking a reusable to-go container with you when you go out to eat, keeping reusable straws and eating utensils in your vehicle, switching from disposable to cloth diapers, and so much more.
From shopping local to purchasing fewer items wrapped in layers of plastic, there are many ways we can put our money where our mouth is. Did you know that processed food in the United States travels on average 1,300 miles to get to your table? And fresh produce travels a shocking 1,500 miles!
When making a purchase of any size, try pausing first to ask yourself a few questions: Do I really need this? Can this product be sourced locally? Can I buy used instead? Is there an alternative that uses less packaging?
Plant a Garden
Instead of buying fresh fruits and vegetables that travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles to make it to your table, exercise your green thumb and plant a garden! If you’re new to gardening, start with something small like herbs in your home and expand from there. If you don’t have land, look into container gardening on a porch, balcony, or roof. Not everything we like to eat can be grown where we live, but you might be surprised to learn what you can grow. And when your garden has become fruitful, explore storage strategies like dehydration, pickling, and canning so you can feed yourself and your family all year long.
A garden is also a great way to reduce kitchen waste in your home. Set up a composting system and you’ll notice a significant drop in your trips to the trash bin!
Bike and Walk More
Getting out of the car isn’t just great for the planet, it’s great for your body, too! While many of us live in places that require cars or mass transit use and can’t do away with them entirely, take a look at your neighborhood and discover new places to go and new ways to get to your favorite spots that allow you to more fully enjoy the trip, see things from a new perspective, use your body, and get you out of the car.
Just being outside is a healthy choice for both the planet and for ourselves. When we’re outside more, not only are we getting fresh air and soaking up more sun that helps our vitamin D levels increase, we’re using fewer utilities like electricity and fuels inside our homes.
These are just a few easy tips and ideas to get you thinking this Earth Day and you may already be doing some of these things. Leave a comment to let us know what daily choices you make in your life that are great for our amazing planet and if our list has inspired you to make new changes!
We are a people-powered platform for world health representing 190+ coalition partners in more than 49 countries.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License and is available for republishing and use as a Free Cultural Work.