Founded in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues, Earth Day is now a globally celebrated holiday that focuses on green awareness. For those whose inner environmentalist speaks loudest on April 22, Earth Day encourages citizens to take environmental action. Whether its planting a tree or saving water by turning off the faucet when brushing teeth, all environmentally friendly acts- big or small, are encouraged.
Fun Facts About Earth Day
- Earth Day Networks estimates that 500 million people from 4,500 organizations in 180 countries will participate in Earth Day events during the month of April.
- Earth Day is big with schools. On many school calendars, it is the third most activity-inspiring holiday, after Christmas and Halloween.
- Companies have even gotten into Earth Day. Last year, office supply store Staples introduced office paper made entirely without new trees.
- As part of the celebration, some communities make Earth Day a “Car-Free Day.”
We all have hectic schedules, and saving the world may not fit into our crazy lives, but taking action does not have to be a chore. Here are some simple ways to get involved with Earth Day.
A Dim Bulb – Your local hardware store probably sells a regular incandescent bulb for $2 or $3. Compare that to a compact flourescent bulb that sells for about $15.00. No contest you say? Think again. Experts say you may buy 10 or more of the cheaper bulbs over ten years, compared to only one of the more expensive type. Now which looks better? 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth recommends using compact flourescent bulbs with solid state ballasts that fit into a regular light bulb socket, using 1/4 of the energy of an incandescent bulb while generating the same amount of light.
The Running Faucet – Do you leave the water running while you brush your teeth for 2 minutes? Then nearly ten gallons of water just slid down the drain. Remember, you PAY for that! Now, think about saving water when you shave, wash dishes, do laundry, water the lawn, wash the car, hose off the sidewalks…. avoid sending water and $$$ down the drain.
Idle Time – Ever wonder if you should leave the car running while you wait for the kids to be dismissed from school? Leave it on if you’ll be there less than a minute, otherwise it’s more efficient to turn it off and restart it when you’re ready to go.
Turn Down the Heat – Not just the furnace, but the water heater too — set it at 130 to 140 degrees. Turn the setting to low or off when you leave for the weekend or for a long vacation, then put a note on your bathroom mirror so you’ll remember to turn it up when you return.
Keeping It Clean – Washers can use more than 50 gallons of water per load, so avoid washing a lot of small loads whenever possible. Also, be sure to choose the lowest level of water needed for each load, use warm water instead of hot, and set the rinse cycle to use cold water.
Cold Food – Refrigerator temperatures should be set at about 40 degrees, give or take a degree or two. Freezer temps between 0 and 5 degrees are just right. Colder settings waste energy and won’t help food.
Snip Six-Pack Rings – Those innocent looking soft plasting holders for soft drink cans and other products can entangle birds, fish, and small animals. Snip apart each ring before throwing it in the trash, or inquire whether they can be recycled locally.
Get a Charge out of It – Never throw spent batteries in the trash. They contain mercury, a hazardous substance that will leak into groundwater or be burned and released into the air. Don’t go there. Either switch to rechargeable batteries or collect used batteries in a shoebox out in the garage, clearly marked. Then take them to a recycling facility once or twice a year.
After all, it’s the only Earth we have…