Earth Day is all about saving the planet. And, to be honest, that can seem like a tall order. Is recycling a can of soda really going to prevent global warming?
The truth is, many environmentalists believe big policy changes are needed to see true action on climate change. However, changing your lifestyle can — and does — make a difference.
That’s because it’s not just one can. When you recycle a can of soda every day for a year, that adds up.
Recycling is just one easy way to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle in honor of Earth Day. But there are others you may not have thought of.
Pollinator insects are a vital, and vulnerable, part of our ecosystem. So it’s important to make your outdoor space as friendly as possible for bees, birds and ants.
Don’t buy plants or seeds coated with pesticides or insecticides, which can hurt pollinators.
And let your yard grow a little wild. Mow less frequently, every two to three weeks, as the overgrowth helps support bees.
You can also get rid of your weed whacker. Weeds like dandelions and clover are vital food sources for insects.
While meal kits like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron make it easy to cook full meals at home, they’re not so great for the environment.
The food isn’t locally sourced. If you care about organic produce, you likely won’t find it through these meal kits.
Most importantly, though, the ingredients in the kits are individually packaged, making for a whole lot of plastic you wouldn’t be saddled with had you purchased the food at your local co-op.
Decorating your home with used items and furniture is a whole lot more sustainable than buying new. It also saves you money — a thrifted couch can cost hundreds less than something from a big box store.
Instead of buying mass-market produced kick knacks, sourcing them at your local antique store means you’ll be repurposing something totally unique.
Or, check out an estate sale, where you can often find expensive, high-quality furniture for dirt-cheap.
Going car-free might seem daunting, but it’s a lifestyle choice that has major effects on the environment. If you live in a city, think about relying on public transportation, cycling and walking instead of driving a car every day.
Personal vehicles come with monthly payments, like insurance, gas, maintenance and parking. That means living without a car is significantly less expensive for you, too.
You’re giving up some freedom, sure, but you’re making up for it with a carbon-free lifestyle that’s more affordable year-over-year.
Your lifestyle choices, while sometimes small, can make a big impact on the environment in the long run.
For more ways you can make a difference this Earth Day and every day, click here.
Gretchen has reported on the criminal justice system in rural Minnesota and covered everything from politics to millennial truck drivers for Wisconsin Public Radio. She is passionate about public media as a public service. She’s also into music and really good coffee. Follow her on Twitter @gretch_brown.