Happy Earth Day!
Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day celebrations. The day was created in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, series of rallies, and other activities that happened to coincide with the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
I heart the Earth so much, I try to celebrate Earth Day everyday. Here's how:
- Ride public transportation to/from work as much as possible. I currently ride BART 4-5 days a week. Most days I catch a ride with Rachel (in her Prius - bonus points with mother earth!) to the BART station. Once I'm downtown, I'm able to walk to work. On the days I don't ride with Rachel, I park at the closest station or ride the bus to BART. Either of these options mean that i'm cutting down on my emissions and that feels good. I must admit there are days when I drive all the way to work *gasp!* Sometimes the convenience of having my car out weighs being environmentally conscious.
- At my desk I have a reusable bowl, coffee mug, water bottle, spoon and fork. I know most people have their own coffee mug, so that's not a big deal. Thankfully in our office it's also cool to have your own plate and bowl. At one point we had someone donate their old Ikea dishware to the kitchen to encourage people to reuse rather than waste paper products. I drink A LOT of water throughout the day, so I can only imagine how many plastic bottles I'm saving by using my lululemon bottle. Reuse, inspiration and hydration? I win!
- 90% of the time, I bring my own bags. Whether its the grocery store, drug store or even the mall, I make an effort not to take a bag. I carry one of these fun fold up bags in my purse. With all the grocery stores carrying cute reusable bags, it shocks me when people don't use them. If I've forgotten my bags, I always ask for paper. Easy to re-use or simple to recycle.
- Make less waste and more compost! Our trash company provides us with a large bin for yard scraps and kitchen waste. It's amazing how much 'trash' is actually compostable. We bought an air tight container to keep on the kitchen counter for the scraps. When it's full we take it out to the bin. The Taber's also have a mini composter in their garage. They use only food scraps to make soil for their garden. It's awesome but smells ....very, very "earthy."
- RECYCLE bottles, cans, cardboard, even some styrofoam is recycle friendly. Check the bottom of your products, you may be surprised!
- Donate for reuse, rather than throw away. When I moved out of 533 Blair, I was determined not to just throw things away. I pawned as much as I could off on friends. After that I looked elsewhere. Thankfully there is an awesome place in the East Bay called the Depot for Creative Reuse. They accept all sorts of items which they redistribute for a very low cost to teachers and non-profit organizations.
- Reduce paper waste in the office. As a department, and an organization too, we have made a commitment to use less paper. Within the medical offices we now use Healthconnect (electronic medical records) which has created many efficiencies as well as reducing tons and tons of paper waste. You may have seen or heard the commercial, Emerald Cities talking about this. Within my office we ask for all of our grant applications electronically. When we have to make copies we print double sided. And we are working on making our grant files almost completely electronic, which will cut down on a lot of our paper waste. Hooray!
- When not in use, turn off the juice! Turn off lights when I leave the room and unplug appliances that aren't being used (even when they're off, they're still sucking energy).