Earth Day is April 22nd! Since 1970, people have come together to celebrate Earth Day and focus on ways we can help our planet. The purpose of this day is to encourage a change in human behavior to contribute to a clean environment. Here are a few ways to recognize Earth Day and help lead change!
Eat More Plant-Based Meals
Did you know that our food system accounts for more than a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions? Animal agriculture requires a large amount of water and land, depleting resources and contributing to climate change. In fact, one pound of beef requires 1800 gallons of water! While you don’t have to completely transform your diet to eliminate animal products, consider opting for more plant-based foods. On Earth Day, try having a plant-based meal! You could even make it a goal to have a couple of plant-based meals a week.
“Fast Fashion” refers to cheaply produced and priced garments that are quickly pumped into stores to keep up with the everchanging trends. Some of the biggest stores that use this model are ZARA and Forever21. While the clothing items in these stores are certainly cost-effective and trendy, they come at a cost. The fast fashion industry depletes non-renewable resources, uses large amounts of water, and requires a lot of energy.
In addition to the industry’s negative environmental impact, it also has societal impacts. The U.S. Department of Labor found evidence of forced and child labor in the fashion industry in countries like Argentina, Brazil, China, Indonesia, and more. Rather than contribute to the industry, try to shop sustainably! Stores like MATE the Label, Two Days Off, and Fair Indigo are great places to start. Try to do some research to find a sustainable store that meets your style.
Switch to Reuseable Products
In the United States, consumers dispose of 50 billion single-use plastic bottles a year. Additionally, plastic bottles make up a large percent of trash recovered near the shores of our oceans. On the other hand, think of how many grocery bags you utilize after a grocery trip. Whether you save them, recycle them, or toss them out, they harm the environment. In fact, according to Waste Management Northwest, it takes 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture plastic bags each year in the United States.
A simple change you can make this Earth Day is to utilize reusable products! Consider investing in a reusable water bottle and reusable shopping bags! Swapping from single-use plastic bottles can reduce CO2, save you money, and even help you avoid the chemical contaminants found in BPAs within plastic bottles. Switching to reusable shopping bags can help decrease pollution, protect wildlife, and can even be used for a variety of other purposes like packing for a road trip!
Do a Community Cleanup
Help out in your local community and join a community cleanup! In fact, The Great Global Cleanup is a worldwide event that encourages people to remove trash from neighborhoods, rivers, parks, and more. Check this map to see if there is a community cleanup near you! Additionally, the James River Association has various volunteer events found here. There are many different ways to volunteer in your community. On Earth Day, gather some friends and spend the day cleaning up your local community!
Whether individually or as a group, there are many different ways to recognize Earth Day. It’s important to be aware of our actions and how something seemingly so small can truly leave an impact on the environment. Try to implement one new environmentally friendly habit to help save our planet!
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