Happy Earth Day

It’s Earth Day! I like to think of Earth Day like New Year’s Day…it’s the beginning of a new year, and time to reassess how we live and to make new resolutions. The first Earth Day was in 1970 and marked the unofficial beginning of the modern environmental movement. The idea for Earth Day was inspired by anti-war protests at the time as a way to raise awareness about growing environmental problems. It was an overwhelming success, with 20 million people taking part in Earth Day events. It also led to the eventual passage of several environmental laws including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, as well as the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Earth Day has been celebrated worldwide every April since.

Yes, we no doubt still have work to do. So on this Earth Day I challenge everyone to think about ways to make a difference, both large and small. It is certainly difficult in the modern world to live sustainably. But there are things all of us can do to lighten our footprint and to make a difference.

I like to think in terms of numbers. I frequently use the example of a water bottle. To help curb plastic production and reduce plastic waste, use a refillable water bottle. At first glance this might seem like a drop in the bucket (pardon the pun). Yet how many times do you drink a bottle of water each day? Let’s say once, just for easy math. So in a year, if you use a refillable water bottle you’ve save 365 plastic bottles from being produced and disposed of. What if everyone in your family did that? Everyone in your office, school, or on your team? See? The numbers do add up!

Here are just a few things everyone can do:

  • Shop at thrift stores instead of buying new
  • Avoid fast fashion
  • Buy refurbished electronics
  • Shop locally
  • Avoid food waste
  • Reduce meat consumption
  • Walk or use public transportation as often as possible
  • Avoid plastic – bring your own straws and to-go containers; buy in bulk; use bar shampoo and conditioner
  • Buy less
  • Switch to LED lightbulbs
  • Grow native plants to support biodiversity
  • Turn off your car engine – no idling
  • Click here for even more ideas on the EarthDay.org website

Each action alone may seem small and consequential. Think back to that first Earth Day. Each person who showed up may have questioned whether doing so would make a difference. Alone, maybe not. But together they added up to millions who certainly left a lasting legacy.