April 22nd is Earth Day and now more than ever should we celebrate this day and every day going forward by showing our appreciation for making our planet a better place. COVID-19 has its mark on not only our lives but on our planet. Pollution from medical waste to municipal waste both organic and inorganic generation has had direct and indirect effects on the environment like our air, water, and soil. And with the bearing fact of how contagious the virus was, most countries postponed recycling efforts to reduce transmission which has led to increasing the landfilling and environmental pollutants globally.
Conquering the virus and saving the planet is a huge undertaking, and it must be done collectively. So, for days like this and going forward, let us all do our part in making our planet a better place. Here are some ideas on how you can help and participate this Earth day and going forward:
1. Use green and public transportation: One of the silver-linings that occurred during the pandemic was the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions due to more individuals working from home. With this in mind, if you are doing a commute, carpool with someone to work, ride a bike, or use public transportation to get to your destination. Public transportation has been known to be safe due to government regulations requiring sanitation and mask-wearing.
(Source: Marsha Wakabayashi)
2. Plant something: Planting vegetation such as trees not only cool down temperatures but also clean the air and give off more oxygen.
3. Compost: With most of us eating at home, food is often a huge part of our waste consider composting and in turn use your compost as soil for the tree you planted!
4. Cut out the plastics: That includes straws, water bottles, and plastic bags. Buy portable metal straws, refillable water bottles, and reusable bags! We-Americans use about 100 billion plastic bags a year equating to about 12 million barrels of oil to produce those bags. A majority of these bags are dumped in our landfills and cause a major problem for our marine wildlife. Ditch the plastic and get a customized reusable bag for your errands.
5. Switch up to an online version of books, bills, and invoices: If you are in a position to switch your documents online, do it now! Switching from paper to electronic versions can save up to 1 million trees a year.
6. Get involved: Join a group that is focused on taking care of the environment and see how you can help. Have a family or friend join you. If you’re a Los Angelino, join from a list of these non-profits.
7. Shop at a local farmers market: Buy purchasing from local growers and makers of goods helps eliminates greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and delivery of goods that we receiving into our grocery stores.
8. Switch up the electricals: Changing our bulbs to LED, unplugging electronic devices when not in use, and updating your blinds will not only help reduce your carbon footprint but also save money on your electricity bill!
9. Buy quality gear that lasts from a local brick and mortar: Purchasing quality-made gear will help reduce the need of repurchasing again and again. Since the pandemic, most people have shopped online which led to a rise in cardboard box production. Consider purchasing from a local brick-and-mortar like Outdoor Gear Revival where they offer new and pre-owned backpacking gear.
10. Get outside and enjoy the Earth: Unplug from your electronics and do some recreational activities such as talking a walk, bike, hike, or camping if your situation allows for it. Earth Day is just a reminder of how awesome our planet is, and we must not forget how fun it is to be outside.