Tomorrow marks the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day, a commemorative day where once a year we talk about doing things that save our planet.
No doubt your kids will do some kind of activity in school and your community may have an Earth Day celebration or two. But with any great American social movement, talk is cheap. The idea behind the all the talk is behavior change, so who out there is really thinking about their daily, individual impact on the environment to make a real change?
The cool thing is that it’s really not that hard to incorporate some GOOD habits into your lives. And doing so also reaps additional benefits in that many actions that are good for the planet and are also good for the health of you and your family. I always like a win-win deal and that makes it worth the effort in my book.
An easy way to look at your lifestyle is to break it down by earth, water and sky, the three major elements of our environment.
GOOD habits to save the earth
• Use recycling options at home and in public
• Do not litter
• Reduce usage of plastic water bottles and other plastics
• Find ways to reuse materials or donate goods instead of dumping them
• Reduce chemical usage in yards
GOOD habits to save water
• Find ways to limit water usage in your home
• Use phosphate free soaps
• Limit yard chemicals that can run off into waterways
• Never dump trash in water
• Never flush chemicals or drugs down the toilet
GOOD habits to save the air
• Keep your cars and other engines in clean running condition
• Reduce wasteful driving, combine errands or carpool
• Keep indoor clean by not using toxic chemical cleaners
• Don’t smoke, especially indoors
• Reduce electricity usage or use solar energy
It’s kind of funny in our house, we don’t really buy into astrology, but here are our green quirks which reflect our birth signs.
My husband is a Taurus, which is an earth sign. His quirky green habit is that he is the Recycling Gestapo. It’s kind of surprise that he turned out to be the one who polices our disposal of cans, glass, paper and plastic. But he is. He will actually pick a can of cat food out of the trash, rinse it and place it in the recycling can. We have single stream recycling in our city, so it’s easy to recycle and our blue recycling trash bin is full every week. I catch him looking at the symbols to see if plastic can be recycled. He breaks down the cereal boxes and crushes the milk jugs.
I’m the one who’s guilty of tossing an occasional can in a rush.
But in my defense, I am a Pisces which is a water sign. Quite fittingly, I am the Water Police. I actually choose to trash the cat food can instead of using water to rinse it. We have a water saving washing machine. We both make sure the dishwasher is full enough to run. But I am the one who knocks on the door and says the shower has been on long enough and reaches over to turn off the water if I see someone running the faucet while washing dishes or brushing teeth. I actually picture our lakes draining low when I see anyone wasting water. Don’t you know I cringe when I see someone running sprinklers when it’s raining out?
Together we agree on some of these other earth-saving activities.
We use an essential oil cleaner called Thieves from Young Living instead of toxic cleaners you buy in the stores. This is good for the water, the air and our bodies.
We cut way down on plastic in the kitchen, using glass whenever possible and limiting plastic bag usage.
We use a non-toxic exterminator and a non-toxic grass spraying service.
And finally, we purchase as much local produce as we can and cook with whole foods.
The number one thing you need is AWARENESS. Find those activities that fit into your lifestyle.
The second thing you need is WILLINGNESS. It’s a mindset to make conservation and good stewardship a way of life and not just a day you recognize once a year.
After that it’s a cinch to find those things you can personally do everyday that limit your impact on earth, water and sky.
A final side note: This year, my son’s science class was studying the earth in comparison to the rest of the solar system. As he and I were talking about the plant cycle, the water cycle and the ozone layer, I was reminded how incredibly special, unique and BALANCED our precious planet is to sustain human life. No other planet has water that moves around to support plant life. No other planet has plant life that produces life-giving oxygen. No other planet has a protective layer that keeps the water and oxygen on the planet’s surface to support life. You can’t help but look at the intricate balance and design to know that we have a pretty good deal here. It was created perfectly and it’s up to us to maintain it to the best of our ability. It is our responsibility as stewards of the resources. To do anything else is to betray our Creator.
GoodLiving Magazine® is printed six times a year for families in Pinellas County, Florida, home to municipalities including Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Largo and St. Petersburg. The densest county in Florida, population is near 1 Million people. Past issues are available for viewing digitally on the website.
As an advocate for children and families, Pamela Settle serves as the local committee chairperson for The Children’s Movement of Florida, a non-partisan advocacy organization that works on behalf of the well being of children throughout the State of Florida.