Emily G – Edgemont Youth Press
From Greta Thunberg to David Suzuki, several environmental activists have commented on the alarming state of our planet over the past few years. Climate change, deforestation, and resource depletion are issues that no longer seem that they should be pushed aside or left to deal with in the future. They’re all current problems; problems that are impacting the lives of people around the world. This April 22nd is Earth Day, and I think it carries even more meaning this year. Maybe we can all make a few adjustments.
- Little things count
Making big changes can seem quite overwhelming and we often get caught up thinking that doing these little things won’t make a global difference. But, I think a better way to look at it is that your actions influence others, and good actions can spread like wildfire and inspire other people. Picking up garbage you see on the ground, turning off the water when you brush your teeth or unplugging electronic devices you aren’t using are little things that, when repeated, become good habits. Here are ten other little things to try:
- Opt for a vegetarian or vegan meal a few times a week
- Use a reusable water bottle
- Use more environmentally friendly, non-toxic cleaning products
- Bring your own reusable bags when going grocery shopping
- Print double-sided, or read documents online instead of printing them out
- Buy a reusable straw
- Buy energy-efficient light bulbs
- Compost your food waste
- Run your dishwasher only when it’s full
- Take shorter showers
- Sort your stuff!
You often hear all the mind-boggling stories about the stampedes of people who trample over each other in shopping malls, rushing to snatch the best deals for Black Friday. It seems that we’ve become more and more obsessed with owning better, newer stuff – and throwing what we don’t “need” in the trash. This accumulation of stuff only makes us more stressed, and perfectly usable items of clothing or furniture end up in landfills. Here are a few things you can do about it:
- Hold a garage or yard sale. They are great ways to give your belongings a new home, while getting to know your neighbours (and making some cash along the way).
- Use the power of the internet! Kijiji and Ebay have always been popular, but new websites like Depop or Poshmark have been emerging into the online buying and selling game for clothing.
- Donate and shop second-hand. Thrift stores are always looking for donations, and your items could go into the hands of someone who truly needs it.
- Look into buying more items from sustainable clothing brands. Ethical clothing brands have become more apparent in recent years, and these companies are doing a huge part in the fight against fast-fashion.
- Help your community
Environmental conservation is not an individual effort, but a collective one. Supporting local businesses, shopping at farmer’s markets, contributing to community gardens or volunteering in roadside cleaning initiatives are only a few ways to make a difference and strengthen your relationship to your community. As quoted by High School Musical: “We’re all in this together”.
Earth Day is only one day out of the year. But, what if we make every day Earth Day?