The List: One Green Thing to Do Each Day of Earth Month
Written by Jessica Harlan .
An action a day can help keep waste and greenhouse gas emissions at bay.
April 22 is Earth Day, when we purposefully think about our impact on the earth and how we can lessen it, but there’s no reason to limit this thinking to one day. The whole month of April is Earth Month, so I’ll be trying to become a little more environmentally responsible for 30 days straight. By the end of it, maybe my family and I will have formed some new green habits, or realized some ongoing things we can do to minimize our carbon footprints.
For inspiration, I’ve created a list of 30 things that we can do to observe Earth Month, one for each day of the month. You can use my list or make up your own.
- Go around the house and unplug every possible appliance or electric item that doesn’t need to be plugged in, to minimize the impact of energy vampires.
- Use natural egg dyes instead of artificial ones to decorate your Easter eggs. Make your own from leftover produce and other kitchen items.
- When you wash your hands in a public restroom, shake them dry instead of using a paper towel.
- Create a Pinterest board of meatless recipes (here’s mine). Next time you’re planning your week’s menu, pick a few meatless meals to try out.
- Let it mellow at home. Don’t flush the toilet unless you need to — even modern, low-flow toilets use around 1.6 gallons each flush. If you normally flush the toilets 5 times, flushing it only once will save more than 6 gallons of water.
- See if you can eat only unprocessed foods for the day: whole grains, fruits and vegetables, meats. Not only are they better for you, but they require fewer resources and less energy to produce.
- Use the Greendex calculator to see how you rank in being environmentally responsible compared to others.
- Empty out your car’s trunk. Every 50 pounds of stuff you drive around with in your car can reduce fuel economy by 1 percent.
- Buy a WaterSense-labeled showerhead. Your household can save as much as 2,900 gallons of water a year… not to mention the energy needed to heat all that water.
- Run your errands on foot or bike. Ditch the car and walk to the post office, school, or supermarket today.
- Replace at least one of your cleaning products with a homemade cleaner.
- Install GreenPrint on your computers at home and at work. It’ll prevent you from printing unnecessary pages.
- Go to bed an hour early. Chances are, you could use the extra shut-eye, and you’ll be saving energy by turning off the lights, TV, computer, and other electronics.
- Make dinner in the pressure cooker. It’s a super energy-efficient way to cook. My favorite is cooking dry beans in the pressure cooker. It’s the fastest method to make beans, and they’re healthier for you than canned beans.
- Swap out your petroleum-based lip balm for one made of a renewable resource like beeswax or shea butter. Or make your own.
- Research Community Supported Agriculture shares for the summer. You’ll be supporting local farmers and getting some great produce.
- Share errands with a friend by carpooling to the store.
- Sign yourself up for Catalog Choice to stop unwanted junk mail and catalogs.
- Pull your refrigerator away from the wall and clean the coils. It’ll help it work more efficiently.
- Work from home for a day to save on gas and avoid contributing emissions from your car commute.
- Try to go a day without throwing anything away, by using only reusable items.
- Sign some petitions. Take a look at some of the environmentally focused petitions currently being circulated and sign the ones that resonate with you to make your voice heard.
- Read an environmentally focused book.
- Spend some time earning Recyclebank points (then shop for rewards when you’ve accumulated a bunch!).
- Buy a house plant. Many of them can clean the air.
- Switch one of your favorite packaged foods to an organic version.
- Link your Amazon.com account to contribute to the Environmental Defense Fund via the Amazon Smile program.
- Gather up your old magazines and find someplace to donate them. Or find other ideas for reusing them.
- Change at least one incandescent light bulb to a more energy efficient LED bulb.
- Research renewable energy companies in your area and switch your service.