Happy belated Earth Day! In honor of our beautiful planet, I’m sharing four simple ways you can be more earth-friendly. I am no eco-expert, but over the years our family has slowly integrated earth-friendliness into our routines, and honestly? It’s not that difficult. I am the queen of low maintenance, so I’m not going to share anything that will add a huge extra load to your plate. We’re all busy. And even though we know it’s important to take care of our planet (because if she goes, we go…), we can easily get overwhelmed and not do anything. So hey, start small. Add in just one or two of these things, and then in a few months, add in another. It’s just not true that being eco-friendly has to be hard. In fact, a lot of the easiest things we can do can also be green things. If you’re already doing some of the easier things, I’ve even provided a few bonus ways to step it up.
Caring for our planet is a spiritual practice. Consider the beloved hymn “How Great Thou Art” says, “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made…then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, how great thou art.” Integrating earth friendliness into our lives is an act of thanksgiving, and it’s a central way we can fulfill the command to be good stewards of the earth. It’s a spiritual practice that lets our souls sing! And it’s a way we live in service not only to God but to the generations that will follow us. So. Here are your easy, breezy, anyone-can-do-these tips!
1. Recycle more. You can recycle so much more than you think you can. Seriously. Before you put anything in the trash, make sure it’s not something you can toss in the recycle bin. If even Dallas accepts a wide range of items in our recycle bins, odds are where you live does, too. This is so easy, it’s a matter of releasing trash in one bin or another. Keep the bins near each other and this could not be any easier. BONUS: Become a lazy composter. Get one of these to toss in your fruits and veggies in the kitchen, and set up one of these in a corner of your yard. If you think about it, you can throw some yard clippings and leaves on top from time to time, and if you’re really into it, use a shovel to stir up the pile now and again. I do literally nothing with mine, but hey, I’m diverting so. much. stuff. Eventually, my gardener friends come and take it from me with happy smiles.
2. Swap out your laundry detergent for an eco-friendly one. Think about it: if there’s one cleaning product we use the most, it’s got to be laundry detergent. And that great-smelling chemical stuff is not only loaded with toxins that get into our water supply, it also uses petrochemicals, which require petroleum. That’s because during WWII all the actual soap agents were being used to make explosives (true story) so chemicals derived from petroleum became the norm. So what I’m saying is that normal laundry detergent is not actually soap. Switch to plant-derived soap, and you save the use of gallons of petroleum. Anyone with allergies and asthma will especially thank you. My favorite is Seventh Generation, and you can get it in most stores in the same aisle as the bad stuff. EASY. Just grab the new kind, and consider yourself earth-friendly. BONUS: Swap out all of your chemical cleaners for plant-based and earth friendly ones. Thanks to Branch Basics in Austin, this could not be easier, because they have kits! I’ve just started using these and I’ve loved them- especially the glass cleaner! Extra bonus, they have a coupon right now. Just mention EARTHDAY20 now through April 27th and get 20% off.
3. Eat less meat. You do not have to stop eating meat altogether, but if you are one of those people who eats meat more than once a day, try out a vegetarian meal every once in a while, even just one of those a week. Instead of chicken on your salad, get avocado or edamame or extra nuts and seeds. And don’t forget that spinach has protein. Your healthy salad probably already had enough protein in there to begin with. Start simple. One meal a week, try to take out the animal protein. Just one little meal. You know what? If you do that every week, you are saving a truckload of earth resources. Raising animals takes a LOT of resources, and then you have to kill the animal, package the meat, transport it, etc. It’s a high cost. Every time we choose to eat less meat, we are making a huge difference. There are so many places that have vegetarian options these days, and they are delicious. BONUS: Try being part-time vegetarians, which is what we tend to call ourselves. Limit your animal protein intake to 3-5 times a week. Heck, I’ll even email you some of my favorite (easy and fast) vegetarian recipes if you want to give it a go. Let me know in the comments or email me and I’ll get them to you.
4. Carpool. If you live in a city like I do where driving is necessary (a LOT), find ways to carpool. Do you work with someone who lives nearby? Carpool to and from work. If you have kids, coordinate carpools to and from school, to and from practices, to and from birthday parties. If you and your friends are going out to a concert, meet up and carpool. You win because parking is easier when you’re just looking for one space, gas bills get cheaper, and, if you’re a parent, you spend considerably less time each day transporting from one place to the other. The earth wins because it lessens the amount of gasoline we use (and you know how complicated that whole endeavor is), and the amount of pollution in the air. BONUS: If you’re in a city with public transportation options, use them! If you’re in the market for a new car, consider a hybrid and/or check fuel efficiency.
Easy, right? Pick one that seems do-able, and let’s do this!