April 22 is Earth Day, the annual event when we’re reminded to think about where we live. Not our town or even our country, but the Planet Earth.
Outdoor celebrations and political speeches all have their place, but the message we should have taken to heart by now, 48 years after Earth Day started, is that caring for the only home we have is not something we can do just one day a year.
By now, we should have incorporated earth-saving measures into our daily lives. Preserving our environment has taken on more emphasis lately as global change continues to make headlines, but like most things, change really does begin at home. Much of that change involves simple things. Here are a few.
When you shop, bring along cloth or paper bags, rather than using plastic to cart home your groceries, [if you do use plastic reuse them]. When your meals are done, recycle and compost to minimize the trash going into landfills. Instead of buying water in plastic bottles, use your tap water filtered if you choose and take it with you in a non-plastic container. You’ll keep the chemicals in plastic from building up in our landfills and in our bodies, you’ll save money, and you won’t have to worry about the latest horror stories over what we might be ingesting along with the water.
Plant a garden, and consider raising it organically. Not only will you have fresh food, but you’re more likely to eat in a more healthy way. If a garden is not possible because of time or living arrangements, shop at farmers’ markets. Food sold close to where it’s grown, in season, usually means fewer chemicals are used in processing, and less fuel is used to get it to you.
Our towns have clean-up days scheduled, whether it’s Beautify Londonderry effort or the roadside cleanups in most communities. Spend a little time picking up litter and keeping our roadsides tidy, and our towns really will be prettier places.
We can all do our part, whether it’s by using energy saving light bulbs, reducing air conditioner use in summer, getting all your errands done in one trip to save gas, and driving the speed limit for fuel efficiency.
Making these small changes will do far more than attending a rally on Earth Day can accomplish.
After all that’s really what all the Earth Day celebrations are about making such reminders unnecessary because they’ve already become part of our daily lives. We cannot depend on the government or others to do it for us. “Lead by example”.