April is a special month. It’s when we get to actually see winter coming to an end. Buds start to sprout on trees, animals reappear, and there's a little spring in everyone's step. Life is coming back to the planet. It’s apt that Earth Day happens to fall during this time.
Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 in more than 193 countries. It’s been celebrated annually as a demonstration for environmental reform and care. It paved the way for 1992 UN Earth Summit, The Clear Air Act, The Water Quality Improvement Act, The Endangered Species Act and international awareness for recycling. While there are certain members of certain governments that are looking to repeal these acts, you can make a difference this Earth Day to help reduce your impact.
Money isn’t the only thing you’ll be saving here. How much of your day is taken up sitting in front of some sort of screen? Switch this off and go enjoy the beautiful day you have around you. Enjoy a walk, go for a hike, get some fresh air, and connect with the real people in your life that matter the most.
PURCHASE CARBON OFFSET
What is Carbon Offset? Great question. On a manufacturing level, companies that produce goods create an environmental impact. To offset the damage, companies will invest their finances into programs, like reforestation, to negate the impact of their production. Companies that follow this are described as “Carbon Neutral”.
As people, we create a large carbon footprint just by living our daily lives. Electricity, water usage, and purchasing disposable goods are just some of the ways which we impact the environment. To offset this, we can also donate to carbon offset companies that take steps to negate for the damage done to the earth. It’s a stepping stone that becomes more effective when combined with lifestyle changes which reduce environmental impact. Just make sure you do the research on the company you choose to invest in.
GET A HOME ENERGY AUDIT
A home energy audit is the first step to addressing how much energy is being consumed by your home. Your hydro or energy company usually provides this service to show your home's inefficiencies. The long-term benefits of acting on these results can help you save money, reduce the impact your home is having on the environment, and even help resale value.
GO VEGETARIAN FOR THE DAY
Whatever your beliefs are on meat, there’s no argument that the production process has a tremendous environmental impact, especially on red meat. From the way red meat is produced to the methods used for transportation, this particular industry contributes a substantial amount of carbon to the atmosphere. Check out a few delicious vegetarian recipes for dinner options this day instead.
MAKE YOUR WORKPLACE MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
It takes a certain amount of courage to speak up and suggest change, especially when it alters peoples comfort. Take a critical look at how your workplace can minimize their carbon footprint, whether it be the elimination of paper towels, implementing a compost bin, or investing in electronic alternatives to for paper free work. Find people who are aligned with your views, create a proposal, and make the change happen.
USE GREEN CLEANING PRODUCTS
There’s a term in the cleaning industry called “Greenwashing”. This is defined as the practice of companies fudging the environmental cleanliness of their products due to the lack of federal oversight in the industry. Find companies that are certified by reputable certifications such USDA Organic or ECOCERT (AspenClean happens to own the only ECOCERT certified cleaning product in all of North America, so check them out).
You can also make your own DIY cleaning sprays with nothing more than water, white vinegar, lemon juice and some organic essential oil, such as lavender.
KEEP THE CAR IN THE GARAGE
There are so many options that are available if you choose to take them. Public transit, bicycles, and just a simple walk. It may take a little more time, but as a famous dashing teenager once said “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”.
PUT TOGETHER AN ACTIVITY FOR YOUR COMMUNITY
We all need leaders in the community. Put together an event to do something with those who live in your community, whether it be a clean-up, a charity fair, or even a zero-waste potluck. Find a way to help engage those around you to be a champion for the world.
SKIP THE BATH
Do you know how much water you use per day? A 10-minute shower consumes up to 189 liters of water. One shower. Put that in context with the fact that a typical family in Africa survives on a tenth of that for an entire day, including drinking water.
So on Earth Day, you can stay a little dirty -- or, more accurately, slightly less clean. In addition to all the water, you’re saving you may find it makes you look and feel healthier. Showering daily can wash away the natural oils that our skin and hair need and can deprive your immune system of germs it needs to fully develop. (But please wash your hands – let’s not go crazy here.)
PUT TOGETHER A LIST OF GOALS FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR
What do you want to do this year? How do you want to achieve them? How can you take the steps to create positive change in your life and the environment? Take the time to make SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals that you can take forward into the year
This earth day, take the time to make a difference. We’re all part of the same home. Let's make sure we treat it like one!