Happy Earth Day! Melting permafrost, ocean acidification and deforestation threaten our planet. Do you ever feel like the earth is in danger and there is nothing you can do to help? Well, there are things you can do today to help slow down these detrimental changes impacting our one and only home. Here are some ways you can make a difference:
1. Use Less Water
Water consumption uses vast amounts of energy. Turning the water off while you brush your teeth or scrub the dishes can save energy. Making your diet more plant based can also reduce greenhouse gases and save water. Did you know industrial animal production can be attributed to more than 50% of the worlds fresh water consumption? Animal production also produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, trucks and automobiles combined.
When you do eat meat, be sure it is from sustainable fish and meat sources.
We all know it is important to recycle, but it is not always easy to find a recycling plant in the open sage fields of the west. Recycling doesn't always have to mean hauling your goods out of town. Whenever possible re-purpose your "trash" into other useful products. Milk cartons and scrap paper can be great resources for school art projects. Buying products with less packaging material is another way to help save the planet. Consider donating your old clothes and household items to second hand stores such as GoodWill or ReStore. Every little bit helps.
3. Read Labels
Choose deforestation free palm oil products. Palm oil producers often cut jungle habitat for palm oil production. Paying attention to labels can prevent future deforestation. Buying wood and paper products from well-managed forests can do the same.
4. Use Clean Energy
Clean energy options continue to grow. Keep an eye out for availability in your hometown. Is your town incredibly windy? Do you have mostly sunny days?
Which alternative energy source is best for your neck of the woods?
- Wind Power – harnessing the wind
- Solar Power – harnessing the sun
- Hydropower – harnessing moving water (i.e. rivers or waves)
- Geothermal Energy – harnessing hot springs
- Bioenergy – harnessing living matter (i.e. algae)
5. Turn Off the Lights and Unplug Electronics
Converting your home entirely to clean energy sources can be expensive, but there are cost effective alternatives, such as buying "green" light bulbs. These bulbs shine just as brightly as their energy guzzling counterparts, but are far better for the environment. Be sure to turn off the lights when you leave a room and unplug appliances or electronics not currently in use. You'll be saving the planet and your wallet will get thicker in the process.
A male snowy owl near a mobile transect at the Barrow Environmental Observatory in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska. Photographed by Kim Young, courtesy of ARCUS.
Let us know what you are doing to save energy and/or clean up your community!