My little girl is quite articulate for an almost 4-year old (the other day, she actually used the word “nocturnal”. Correctly.), but her pronunciation of “earth” comes out more like “earf”. Those darn -th words are tough! We were talking about Earf Day today, and the things we can do in our daily lives to help earf be clean and beautiful (OK, I’ll stop). And today, finally, I am giving our family the gift of compost – I’ve been wanting a composter for over a year now. What better day to make the purchase than Earth Day? I’ve also been eyeing Food & Wine’s Grow for Good initiative, supporting sustainable agriculture and educating children about the benefits of environmental activism and wise food choices. Today I made my $50 donation, which felt really good.
- Om comforts. Practice yoga on a mat made from a natural, organic, and recyclable material such as rubber, cotton, or hemp. They absorb your sweat, don’t slip, and can be cleaned and washed easily. They’re a much better option that the vast majority of today’s yoga mats, which contain PVC. This is considered to be the most toxic of plastics – just what you want to avoid when you’re realigning yourself physically, spiritually, and mentally to look after yourself and the planet. Try JADE mats, they are our new fave (more on JADE coming soon…)
- Know your plastics. Plastic comes in many different forms, and each type must be recycled separately. The only way of sorting plastics is by hand, so play your part by acquainting yourself with the identifying code numbers for different types of plastic, which are usually embossed within a mobius loop symbol, choosing the types that are most easily recyclable, such as PETE (code #1) and HDPE (code #2), and putting them into the appropriate recycling system when you’ve finished with them.
- Focused organic shopping. World consumption of chemical pesticides and fertilizers is exploding – from 30 million tons a year in 1960 to 140 million four decades later – and this trend is unlikely to stop unless consumers demand it. If you can’t get hold of a full range of organic groceries, or have a limited budget, prioritize buying organic items that are particularly laden with chemicals in conventional agriculture. Make an effort to always buy organic bread (and other wheat products), apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, grapes, spinach, and pears to avoid the worst chemical overloads.
- Two sides to every story. Whether printing a long formal report at work or doodling while you chat on the phone, try to use both sides of the paper. You’ll get through half the volume of wood and other resources to make it, and cut CO 2 emissions by 2 ½ lbs. for every pound of paper you save. If your printer has a duplex (double-sided) function, make it a default option – that way, you have to make an adjustment only on the few occasions when single-sided printing is essential.
- Home and dry. While in action, tumble dryers consume more energy than any other household appliance, so if you have one, try to use it only as a last resort, and hang clothes up to dry instead (outside, if possible, to make them smell really fresh). Cutting your tumble-dryer use by just one load a week will reduce your home’s CO 2 emissions by around 40 pounds a year. If you have to use the dryer, keep the filter lint-free and run loads back to back while the drum’s still hot.