Ways to Give Back This Spring and Build a Healthy, Sustainable Environment
April brings two fabulous celebrations for our environmental purpose here at Wood from the Hood: Earth and Arbor Days.
Earth Day (April 22) is a global environmental movement of service encouraging a life-long commitment to the environment through volunteer experiences and and environmental education. This year’s Earth Day theme of learning is “Protect Our Species.” Check out EarthDay.org’s library of resources on how to Protect Our Species or consider to Donate to support Earth Day Network’s mission to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide. Want to learn more about Earth Day and the man who led the cause? Check out Time Magazine’s recent article: Meet ‘Mr. Earth Day,’ the Man Who Helped Organize the Annual Observance.
Arbor Day (April 26) is a day dedicated annually to public tree-planting in the US, Australia, and other countries. Many local cities and non-profits hold Arbor Day celebrations, including our friends and partners at Minneapolis Park Board’s Arbor Day family friendly festival featuring tree planting, tree climbing, nature play, games, music, food trucks, beer garden and Arbor Day 5K Fun Run.
Looking for other ways to help the environment throughout the year?
Here are simple and easy tips to help you go green, protect the earth, save money and make every day Earth Day. You can make a difference!
- Join Earth Day Network’s campaign to Protect Our Species.
- Join Earth Day Network’s campaign to End Plastic Pollution.
- Reduce your carbon footprint and take our Carbon Footprint Quiz.
- Plant a tree or donate a tree through our Canopy Project.
- Join a local park, river or beach clean-up.
- Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products.
- Replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with efficient CFLs or LEDs. Reduce your carbon footprint by 450 pounds a year.
- Carpool, ride your bike, use public transportation or drive an electric or hybrid car. Reduce your carbon footprint by one pound for every mile you do not drive.
- Keep your tires properly inflated and get better gas mileage. Reduce your carbon footprint 20 pounds for each gallon of gas saved.
- Change your car’s air filter regularly.
- Teleconference instead of traveling. If you fly five times per year, those trips are likely to account for 75% of your personal carbon footprint.
- Stop using disposable plastics, especially single-use plastics like bottles, bags and straws.
- Recycle paper, plastic and glass. Reduce your garbage by 10% and your carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds a year.
- Donate your old clothes and home goods instead of throwing them out. When you need something, consider buying used items.
- Use cloth towels instead of paper ones.
- Change your paper bills to online billing. You’ll be saving trees and the fuel it takes to deliver your bills by truck.
- Read documents online instead of printing them.
- When you need to use paper, make sure it’s 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
- Set your office printer to print two-sided.
- Collect used printer, fax, and copier cartridges to recycle.
- Convince your school district or office building to choose reusable utensils, trays, and dishes in the cafeteria.
- Use reusable bottles for water, and reusable mugs for coffee.
- Bring reusable bags when you shop.
- Pack your lunch in a reusable bag.
- Organize to have healthy, locally-sourced food served at in your school district.
- Buy local food to reduce the distance from farm to fork. Buy straight from the farm, frequent your local farmers’ market, or join a local food co-op.
- Buy organic food to keep your body and the environment free of toxic pesticides. Support farmers and companies who use organic ingredients.
- Grow your own organic garden, or join a farm-share group.
- Reduce your meat consumption to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry.
- Compost kitchen scraps for use in your garden — turning waste into fertilizer.
- Take a shorter shower and use a water-saving shower head.
- Fix leaky faucets and shower-heads.
- Run your dishwasher only when it’s full to save water and energy.
- Conserve water outdoors by only watering your lawn in the early morning or late at night. Use drought-resistant plants in dry areas.
- Wash your clothes only when necessary, use cold water and line dry.
- Form a “green team” at your office to find cost-effective ways to conserve resources and promote sustainability.
- Volunteer for a local environmental group and/or make a donation.
- Pull out invasive plants in your yard or garden and replace them with native ones.
- Turn off and unplug electronics you’re not using. This includes turning off your computer at night.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Install solar panels on your roof.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator to save energy (and get exercise!).
- Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer to reduce your carbon footprint by 2,000 pounds.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater.
- Contact your utility company and find out about renewable energy options.
- Use energy-efficient appliances and electronics.