Earth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment.
Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. While this first Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations.
Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. Today you can take action and learn-teach-share to help protect the environment, Earth Day and every day.
Environmental action can mean doing different things in different places, but it starts with taking the simple steps where you live. By choosing five or more of these ideas and sharing your own, you are joining thousands of others who are doing the same. Together we can make the biggest difference, so make your actions count today!
- Use only the water you need, and reuse when possible.
- Help keep water clean by using biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning products.
- Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely.
- Protect your local water source from pollutants, excess pesticides and garbage.
- Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
- Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.
- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month.
- Use human powered modes of transportation to get from place to place. Walk, jog, skip or ride a bike instead.
- Pass on gas! Take public transportation, carpool, plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.
- Make sure your home's air is healthy and learn about indoor air pollutants from indoor energy use and toxins.
- Buy locally, or grow your own. Reduce air pollution caused by food and goods transport.
- Reduce your potential exposure to mercury.
- Plant a tree or plant many trees!
- Prevent additional air pollution by finding alternatives to burning your waste.
- Use pesticides safely! Reduce or eliminate where possible.
- Learn about composting and try it out.
- Learn about "Greenscaping". Try it out at home and promote it in your community.
- Learn about the native species and the negative effects of nonnative plants and animals in the environment. Plant native species in your gardens, encourage important pollinators such as bees and birds by planting gardens full of their favorite plants. Join a team in your community that removes nonnative species.
- Plant windbreaks, and do whatever you can to prevent erosion.
- Planting trees makes the property warmer in winter and cooler in summer - they also add beauty and improve the quality of the air and water.
- Save energy at home. Choose energy-saving appliances if they're available. Look for Energy Star!
- Go renewable. Create your own power from wind, the sun, water, or biofuels.
- Find alternate ways to reduce use of diesel and other fuels for transportation, production and energy.
- Find out how much of your home's energy is supplied by renewable sources and seek to increase it. Research or contact your local power provider.
- Turn off all electronic devices that are not in use.
- Clean or replace air filters regularly.
- Weather strip doors and windows! Weather stripping is an inexpensive alternative to replacing windows that will save you hundreds of dollars!
- Cool your home at 78 degrees or warmer with the thermostat fan switched to auto. For additional savings, raise your thermostat to 82 degrees or warmer when you're away.
- Replacing a 100 watt incandescent light bulb with a 25 watt compact fluorescent bulb will save 135 kWh of electricity annually
- Reduce. Cut back on the amount of 'stuff' that could later end up as waste.
- Reuse. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transform it into something of greater use and value.
- Recycle metals, plastics and paper.
- E-cycle. Recycle and/or properly dispose of electronic waste such as computers and other gadgets.
- Don't litter! Properly dispose of trash and waste.
- When purchasing goods, opt for sustainable, recycled or reused resources. Choose items in less packaging
- Compost: Composting kitchen and yard waste not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions and waste collection costs, but also provides a source of garden fertilizer.
Fort Lauderdale Green Parenting Examiner Maria Hernandez got her degree in Venezuela as an Interior Designer, and is certified in Florida as a General Contractor and LEED AP with a commitment in sustainable construction.
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