Happy Earth Month! This year, the theme is climate action. In other words, taking advantage of the endless opportunities we have to improve the climate crisis.
One of the core ways to improve the environment is through personal sustainability. McGill University defines sustainability as “…meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Here are 9 ways to be eco-friendly at home and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Turn off lights and reduce energy use.
Your energy usage at home adds to the collective energy use of our world. If each of us does our part to limit internal energy, a big climate difference will be made.
Turn off the lights when you leave a room, turn off the TV after you use it, lower your thermostat in the winter (and raise it in the summer), and wash clothes on cold. All of these things are minor changes with big differences.
Regardless, you’ll be saving money by limiting energy — it’s good for you and the world!
Don’t use plastic straws.
Chance are you’ve heard: plastic straws are bad for the environment and bad for sea animals. So if you feel passionate about ocean sustainability, make the small change to using paper straws or, better yet, metal straws.
Try these classy metal straws from West Elm. The average person uses 600 plastic straws per year. Imagine the sea turtles you’ll be saving!
Plant a food garden.
Planting plants are a huge part of cultivating a healthier world. Plants are our life partners — they offer us oxygen, cleaner air, and nutrition. Add to the richness of your climate by planting your own garden — whether that’s in your yard or on a patio.
By growing your own food, you’ll be eating locally and reducing food miles as well as contributing to a healthy biodiversity in your area.
It doesn’t have to be a big garden. Simply start with a container garden kit that grows your favorite veggie!
Add pollinator plants to your garden.
Pollinators are a vital part of our world. From bees, to hummingbirds, to butterflies, pollinators are to be thanked for reproduction in 90% of the flowering plants in the world. Without these, many of our favorite fresh produce would no longer be available and human nutrition would suffer.
This year, be more eco-friendly by supporting the pollinators! Add pollinator plants to your gardens — even if that’s in a container. Lavender, butterfly bush, and milkweed are all gorgeous pollinator plants that will keep our pollinators alive, add to the health of your garden, and ultimately add to the richness of the world.
Make your yard a welcome destination for birds.
Biodiversity is an essential part of the solution to climate change. The variety of life — including all its animals, bugs, plant species, and more — is what create a healthy ecosystem. In urban or suburban life, many people chase out things that the world more diverse.
Be more eco-friendly by welcoming birds into your yard. Create several small birdhouses and bird feeders to put on the porch (front and back) and to scatter throughout the yard. Consider trying a variety of feeders to attract different types of birds.
Go meatless 3 days a week.
The animal food industry is a huge contributor to our environment’s downfall. The food industry alone contributes 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions by human activity.
Do your part by going meatless one to three days a week! It makes a difference. Besides, it’s an exciting time to try out a new challenge in the kitchen and lower your cholesterol.
Compost food waste.
Food scraps and yard waste combine to make 28% of what we throw away in the United States. Make this percentage sustainable by composting your food and yard waste! If you live in an apartment or small home, collect your food waste and drive it to Whole Foods to be composted. If you have a large backyard with a garden, try composting it yourself. Follow these steps to compost at home.
Plant a tree.
Understanding the value of trees is so important in creating a more eco-friendly world. Trees contribute to air quality, water conservation, soil preservation, and more.
One small and wonderful activity for the family is to plant a tree! Whether you do so in your own backyard or get permission to do it on city grounds, you’ll add beauty and value to your local climate.
Ditch the paper towels.
If there’s one rule of climate change, it’s this: less paper = better. While paper is inevitable (and useful) in many ways, one of the easiest things to do is to ditch the paper towels.
Grab a couple of cheap rags (about a week’s worth to save you the laundry) to replace your paper towels and use them instead. Have a regular laundry load that’s just for washing these rags.
This Earth Day is about recognizing what each of us can do from home. By simply being aware of ourselves and acknowledging what can be done to create a more eco-friendly lifestyle, we are taking steps in the right direction.