What can you do around the house to celebrate Earth Day, April 22nd?

Briefly, Earth Day began in 1969 as a conservation movement and a way to educate the public on what was happening to the environment.  Over the years the idea of setting aside one day to celebrate the Earth became more and more popular.  Today Earth Day is an opportunity for writers, movie makers, manufacturers and others to offer ideas that people can put to use in their everyday lives to save our endangered environment.  But what can the average citizen do on an ongoing basis to support the Earth Day movement and, in the end, reduce your own carbon footprint?  Here are some simple ways to create a more environmentally friendly home:

  • The idea of recycling is not new.  We have all been well trained to separate and put recyclable items  into that big blue bin.  But did you know that you can also recycle items like old appliances, computers and other electronics? One of the best ways to recycle is to reupholster old furniture.  A new “coat” of fabric will do wonders for an old piece.  Contact your local trash company or check out this website for the proper way to recycle these items.
  • Reducing your water usage is very important.  Manufacturers have introduced low flow toilets, shower heads and hot water heaters.  But simple things like turning off the water when you brush your teeth; taking shorter showers, not pre-rinsing dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, can save water as well.
  • Let the light in.  Open your window coverings and allow as much natural light as possible to enter the room.  This will eliminate the need to turn on the lights during the day and can also warm the room during the winter.  On the other hand, during the summer you can keep a west or south facing room cooler by closing those blinds, planting trees and shrubbery that will block the sun, hanging an awning etc.
  • A big part of Earth Day is informing the public about the welfare of the thousands of animal species on Earth that are affected by our careless way of living.  Trash and other debris like oil and gasoline are thrown into the sewer systems and these ultimately make their way to the ocean waters.  Would you want to drink that stuff?  Well, neither do the animals.  Be careful when tossing out any item that could be harmful to other living creatures.
  • Buy locally.  This is not something people think of very often as being earth friendly but it reduces the amount of energy used to transport items and it supports the local economy.

A little common sense is usually all it takes to make the right decision when it comes to saving energy, recycling products and reducing your impact on this earth.  Be sure to check your local community papers for street fairs and other celebrations that may be taking place on April 22nd in your hometown.