Since, I was not able to get this post out in time for the actual Earth Day Celebration, I’m going to declare this week “EARTH WEEK.”
It’s Earth Day Bitches!
Since, I was not able to get this post out in time for the actual Earth Day Celebration, I’m going to declare this week “EARTH WEEK.” It’s really not a big thing, some have declared April Earth Month and others already celebrate this entire week.
Anywho, why am I so thrilled about this day? Honey, you should know by now…because I love this beautiful planet of ours. I love every inch of her, every tree, every mountain, every body of water, every living creature; although, me and squirrels have a love/hate relationship. They can be shaddy at times.
But yes, I’m that annoying person that will yell at you if you throw “recyclables” in the “non-recyclable” bins. I’m that person that gives Hummer drivers the STANK look. I mean, really? Do you really think you need to drive a tank around the city? Oh and you, the person that is contaminating our air with your jacked up exhaust, oh yea, you get the STANK look PLUS the fake cough and the “clearing the air” hand gesture.
Oh and you, the folks that litter…don’t…please…don’t even get me started…I just can’t.
For instance, the morning after Easter Sunday. My park, my poor park, was a hot mess. Pieces of plastic eggs and candy wrappers all over the place. Bags of snacks and water bottles all over the place. I mean the trashcans were close by, but nope, couldn’t bother.
Here’s the thing, I’m learning that kids mimic everything we, adults do. So, when I see things like this, it hurts me because I know these kids haven’t been taught better.
Back to our special day. Why all the fuss?
Because this day is more than just recycling, more than volunteering one day a year to clean up our neighborhoods and beaches ( Although, we do appreciate it. Don’t stop. We will take your Saturday.). This day is about creating awareness, reminding people that our planet, like our bodies, needs to be taken care of too.
Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson, US Senator of Wisconsin, after he witnessed the disaster left behind by the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA in 1969. Nelson was inspired by the Anti-war (Vietnam) movement of the time, he knew that he needed to duplicate the level of energy and awareness that the student-led movement was creating against the war. He realized that if he could build that same energy and attention to raise consciousness about air and water pollution, it would guarantee its way onto a political agenda. Nelson with the help of Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey, and Denis Hayes from Harvard, announced a “national teach-in on the environment”. April 22, which lies between Spring Break and Finals was selected. Proving once more, that students are vital for every movement.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.”https://www.earthday.org/about/the-history-of-earth-day/
By the end of 1970, both Republicans and Democrats came together and created the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the “Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990 Denis Hayes, was tasked with making Earth Day a global event. It mobilized 200 million people in 141 countries, and brought environmental issues to the global stage. It also paved the way for the first United Nations Earth Summit in 1992.
According to Earth Day Network: “Earth Day had reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.”
2020 marks Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary, Earth Day Network has launched some ambitious goals to help shape the future of our environmentalism. To learn more click here , while you are there, sign up and do your share. I know I am.
Well, aren’t you glad that now you know a little more about Earth Day and its importance?
1990, that was the year I learned about the environment. I was 10 years old(yes, I’m that old), and I remember my teacher brought in some environmental activists and they talked to us about recycling and “going green”. I’m not going to lie, that’s when I started to care. I don’t remember what they said exactly, but whatever they said really hit home with me because that’s when I started recycling. I started collecting cans and newspapers, I remember buying the darker (recycled paper) for my binders and notebooks. I went green, you guys. Well, as green as a kid that age could.
As I grew up, I continued to recycle. Buy recycled/upcycle. Compost. Spent my dollars wisely on products that contributed or had an impact in our environment.
Many believe that “going green” is too difficult or too expensive. It doesn’t have to be difficult and it’s actually a lot more expensive to not “go green” in the long run.
Let’s break it down. First of all, I’m not asking you to get rid of your car and start making your clothes out of hemp. Second, I’m a baller on a budget, so saving green while going green is what I’m all about. Third, I’m not perfect at this. I’m trying to do my part, even if it is a “small” part, it’s still better than doing nothing.
Here are a few easy tips:
1.This one I mentioned already, try to reduce your paper towel use. Try to use cloth napkins and dishtowels, dude, you can probably get away with using dishtowels as napkins. Honestly, it’s cool. If this one is too hard for you, try buying recycled napkins and paper towels. The same goes with plates, cups and cutlery.
I use paper towels, a 12 pack last me 4-6 months. We use a lot of dishtowels and my toddler prefers to clean his hands with our table cloths or sofa covers.
2.Mail, try to receive all your bills and bank statements via email. Also, try to get off some of those junk mail databases. If you buy online, try to shop for multiple items at the same time to reduce the amount of packaging you receive.
Amazon, now offers a Frustration Free option where you can select to have less packaging on your shipments. If you do not need it in a hurry and are ordering multiple items you can skip the 2 day shipping and this will make sure your items are shipped together. Less packaging and less air pollution. A lot of retailers are also using greener packaging that is friendlier for our environment.
Etsy is now doing Carbon-Offset Shipping. Every time you order an item, they balance out the carbon emissions by investing in projects that reduce carbon emissions by the same amount. Pretty cool, right?
3.Buy items secondhand. This will save you money and it might prevent something in great condition from going to the landfill. Dude, you can also make money selling those items you no longer use.
I sell stuff, clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. on OfferUp, LetGo, Poshmark, and eBay. I’ve also bought stuff on these sights, and I have even given stuff away for free on OfferUp and LetGo. This is the best thing to do if you are moving and want to sell or get rid of stuff rather quickly.
You can also donate a lot of your things, did you know that you can recycle clothes or textiles? Yes, it’s actually better to recycle your old clothes than toss them in the trash. You can look this stuff up locally, or you can check out Terracycle they have resources on their website and offer recycling programs. I purchased their Zero Waste box, it was a pretty penny, but worth it. My city doesn’t recycle a lot of things and I will include these items along with some old clothes in the box. It’s simple, you purchase the size of the box of you want, they ship it to you via USPS, you fill it up and ship it back via Fed-Ex using a prepaid label included with your box.
H & M offers textile recycling. Some Nike stores recycle old tennis shoes, currently Vans is taking all of your old shoes and recycling them for you. You should check it out, it’s free of charge. I have about a dozen pairs of old shoes that I will be taking this week.
Ladies, if you have some bras that are in pretty good shape but don’t use them, you can donate them to I Support the Girls.
Local libraries and some retailers are getting in on the recycling action, make sure to check them out.
Seriously, have something and not sure what to do with it. Look it up, you will most likely be able to sell it, donate or recycle it. It’s better than just having it sit in the landfill.
4.Recycle Responsibly, so this one and 3 are extremely connected. But this is important. E-waste and Hazardous materials contain all types of pollutants tossing them in your trash bin is no Bueno! Many cities and counties have events where they will take this stuff off of your hands for FREE.
A couple weekends ago my county was having an event at my local park, they were taking it all. Old electronics, old paint, oil, cleaning supplies, etc. So, I packed up my car with an old tv, a few irons, old coffee makers, batteries (you can’t toss these in your trash folks), and old paint cans (I’m in the process of cleaning out a garage). I rolled up, I was asked to unlock the back of my car, they took everything out, it was less than 5 minutes. They did all the work and I got to feel good about it.
5. Use less electricity, even when not using your electronics simply keeping stuff connected can increase your bill by 10% because they are still consuming energy. Try to disconnect chargers, and other items you don’t need to have on. When I travel I disconnect everything, from the microwave to the television.
6. Use less water, hey save some water shower together! I make sure I have a full load before washing clothes and it’s rare when I use hot water for laundry. Energy efficient dishwashers are awesome, oh, how I miss mine.
We recently got these cool Evolve showerheads, they help save energy and water when you shower. You can turn on your water, brush your teeth, or whatever else you do while your water gets hot. Once it’s hot the showerhead automatically shuts off. Jump in, pull the cord and resume your hot shower.
Rain barrels are awesome too. You can use the water for your gardening, wash your cars or anything else usually requiring you to turn on the hose. Don’t worry about mosquitoes they have several new types that come with different ways to protect you from creating a mosquito love nest. I’m getting some next rain season for sure, they will come in handy with my garden.
7.Commit to reusable containers, that means no more water bottles. Both my tiny human and I have our own reusable water bottles. I also carry around reusable straws for my kiddo, this way I won’t have to ask for any. You can also start taking your own coffee mugs or tumblers to your favorite coffee shops. It’s not weird, it’s actually smart! Did you know that some places give you points or discounts for being green? I use to do this with Starbucks many-many moons ago, they would just charge me $1 for regular coffee and they would fill up my tumblers. Honey, coffee is life, so my tumblers are not small.
I know some folks even carry their own food containers when they dine out for left overs. A lot of places are getting better by using biodegradable containers.
Remember to carry your own reusable totes for groceries or shopping. I always have a bunch in the car with me, just in case. If you are able you might want to purchase the reusable produce bags, I’m a baller on a budget so I just don’t use any produce bags. I also try to shop for produce that are not in bags or containers. In case you haven’t heard Trader Joe’s has announced it will be taking extra steps to lower their plastic use, after a Greenpeace petition received nearly 100,000 signatures to get the retailer to decrease their plastic use. Read more here.
8.Public Transportation, walk, ride a bike, a skateboard, or unicycle. For some this might be easier than others.
I know when I lived in Berkeley I rarely used my car. Then I moved and had to commute to work, and everything was a lot farther in the suburbs. Have you heard the Missing Persons song “Walking in LA” ? It is sooooo true, I’m trying really, really trying. Since, I want to walk more, it forces me to shop local. Which is a win-win all around.
9.Just say no, do you really need that extra pen or freebie? No, then refuse it. Say no to flyers or any other items you really don’t need. It’s the best way lower your environmental impact. By saying no, you skip the reuse and recycle steps, which makes things easier for my sloth-like friends and one less thing to worry about for my busy bees out there.
10.Get informed. Learn what you can about climate change, climate and environmental activist, support organizations with time, talent or treasure.
Seriously folks, you have to care. We only get one planet and we only get one opportunity to try to conserve it. If you really don’t care, what about doing it for your kids, nieces or nephews. I’m not about to let my son inherit a jacked up planet, just saying!
Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money… It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few… You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes…”Greta Thunberg
So, by now I’m sure you are curious about Greta. If you haven’t realized it yet, I’m crazy about this girl. Greta is a 16 year old Swedish climate activist, who initiated the “School Strike for Climate” movement. She’s amazing, powerful, and just getting started. Don’t believe me, check out this TED Talk and tell me how you feel afterwards.