Posted on by Paula Gallagher
April 22 is Earth Day and this day is recognized worldwide to bring awareness and support for protection of the environment – and right now, we need this more than ever. This year’s theme is Restore Our Earth™ and is focused on looking at natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.
Earth Day brings attention to a large number of issues that need to be addressed not just on this one day, but every day. Issues such as pollution of the ocean, debris leftover on land, climate change, conservation of our earth’s ecosystems, energy conservation, soil corruption, corrosion, overpopulation, nuclear issues, the depletion of the ozone layer, the depletion of the earth’s natural resources, the introduction of wastes and toxicants into the wilderness and the seas, nanotechnology, deforestation of rain forests, and the endangerment of many species... to name a few.
This seems like a lot, and it is – but don’t be discouraged. Every little bit helps protect our earth. Since many of us are at home right now, water and electricity consumption have probably increased in your household. I know that in our house, the screen time has definitely increased, which means an increase in electricity.
Here are some tips to help conserve energy and be more environmentally friendly.
1. Turn off the water.
I bet hand washing alone has increased your water consumption. Whether washing your hands or brushing your teeth, leaving the tap running wastes up to 2½ gallons per minute! So turn off the tap while you brush, and while you scrub your hands.
2. Cut down on shower times.
Save water and energy by reducing shower times to 4 minutes. Almost 1/4 of household water is used in the shower. Cutting your shower time by just 2 minutes can result in a water savings of up to 30%. You can also turn off the shower while you are washing your hair and body and turn it back on to rinse.
3. Reuse your water.
Making hard boiled eggs? Instead of tossing the water, wait for it to cool and use it to water plants!
4. Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
If you will be out of a room for 15 minutes or less, go ahead and leave the lights on. If you're leaving for more than 15 minutes, turn the lights off. To make a bigger environmental impact, switch to compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) lighting. CFL bulbs last 6 to 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy. LED bulbs last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 80% less energy.
5. Cut down on phantom energy.
Did you know that 75% of your energy use is caused by electronics that are turned off? Your television, computer, internet router, and kitchen appliances are making your electric bill higher. This is because they are continually working even while off. To cut your electric bill significantly, use power strips and turn them off when electronics are not in use.
6. Air dry.
Does it feel like there is more laundry these days? If you have warm weather, hang your clothes outside to dry. I have set up a clothesline in my basement where I hang pants and shirts. It really has cut down on the amount of electricity we use. Dryers consume between 1,800 watts to 5,000 watts per load.
7. Use off-peak rates.
Some cities and towns offer reduced electricity rates during certain hours of the day (off-peak hours). If you capitalize on these off-peak rates, you can shave a little off your electric bill. For instance, do your laundry or run your dishwasher during these hours.
8. Eliminate single use plastics.
It may only seem like one bottle of water when you are reaching for something to drink. But that plastic bottle will most likely end up in a landfill or waterway instead of being recycled. Invest in a filtered water system and a good insulated reusable water bottle and get in the habit of carrying it with you. This applies to grocery shopping too. Instead of using plastic bags, bring your own reusable bags and containers. It’s estimated that 1 million birds, turtles, and other ocean animals die each year after ingesting plastic bags. Plastic bags make up 10% of the debris that washes up along the US coastlines. And the petroleum used to make just 14 plastic bags can propel a car for one mile. Many stores will recycle used plastic bags. Invest in reusable bags or totes for grocery store shopping and bring your own containers for bulk items that you may buy.
9. Cut back on meat.
Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. Raising livestock takes up 30% of the land surface of the entire planet. It also produces 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It’s been estimated that the standard US diet requires 4,200 US gallons of water a day to sustain livestock production (to irrigate crops for feed, provide drinking water for animals, etc.). A vegan diet requires only 300 US gallons of water a day. Even going meatless 2 days a week can have a positive impact on the environment – so try upping your vegetable intake! Aside from the environmental benefits of eating less meat, eating more veggies provides health benefits, too. Some people opt for a vegan diet while others choose from a variety of vegetarian diets. But overall, a plant-based diet helps protect against cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Many people start with Meatless Monday. Check out our healthy recipes for many vegetarian and vegan options.
10. Buy local.
Farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture programs, and roadside farm stands are ways to support the local economy and ensure the food you buy is fresh. Fresh-picked produce retains the nutrients that can be lost by shipping and simply tastes better.
Humanized Health - NEW!
Learn about personalized health from top experts! Check out our fascinating new shows every week, available as videos, podcasts and transcripts.:
Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.