Earth Day: Not just a day but a lifestyle

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Every year it happens, and every year I try to make a conscious effort to put my best foot forward to celebrate Earth Day. Of course, it comes and I end up sick or Memphis gets sick, it rains, friends pop by, and my pinterest-worthy earth-friendly ideas end up on next year’s ‘to do’ list.

It wasn’t until recently that I became an advocate for greener living. Being the head of my school’s ‘Green Team’, it’s my responsibility to teach the students how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, all about the 3 R’s and of course, how they can encourage others to live a greener lifestyle. As the students were learning, I was also learning, and I was loving it! I quickly began to trade in some of my wasteful ways for more earth-friendly ones.

Here are some simple, little things you can do to make a big difference.

Recycle- Duh! Obvi! We have been drilled for years on the importance of recycling, and yet it is still evident that we, as a society, still haven’t quite mastered it. In order for a tin can to breakdown it takes around 100 years, aluminum cans up to 500 years, and a plastic bottle up to 1000 years. So, next time you think to yourself, “it’s only one bottle, it won’t make that much of a difference,” think again!

Compost- No, I’m not implying that everyone should run out and buy a composter, dirt, and some red wigglers, but utilizing composting programs, just makes sense. Living in an area where municipalities encourage the use of green bins and provide pick up for it along with your weekly trash collection, makes it beyond simple to do your part, and put compost where it belongs instead of ending up in the trash destined for the landfill.

Grow something, anything!- I most definitely do not have the most elaborate green-thumb, but I certainly try. My garden has progressed over the years, as a science experiment mostly, but every year I give it my all, and progressively I’m seeing my efforts increase. I figure if I can reduce even one drive to the store to get a supply of fresh produce, that’s energy saving!

Reduce phantom energy-Phantom energy? Is that even a thing? Imagine your cell phone charger. You plug it into the wall on one end and on the other, into your phone. You remove your phone but still leave the plug in the wall, that’s phantom energy. Yes, your cord is still sucking energy even when it isn’t charging anything. In an age of electronics, phantom energy is everywhere. Laptop chargers, iPad or tablet chargers, Fitbit chargers etc. Simple, unplug when not in use.

Reuse something- Have an old t-shirt that is ready to be thrown out? Turn it into grocery bag, a scarf or rags to curl your hair. The internet is filled with amazing DIY upcycle projects where you take something destined for the garbage, and create something new out of it. There are even some crafts for kids that require very little material but teach a valuable lesson in reusing such as toilet-paper roll pencil/ marker organizers or piggy banks made from reused coffee containers.

Shop second-hand- In the market for some new casserole dishes? A new roasting pan? Candlesticks? Mirror? A new purse? Check out your local second-hand stores first before you buy new. Not only is it cost effective but there is still so much life left in items that people just don’t have use for.

These are just a few ways you can help make a big difference. The most powerful thing we can do is educate younger generations about the importance in treating our earth well, but we must also practice what we preach.

Happy earth day!

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