We just celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd. Let’s continue to protect the environment every day to help the world to be a happier, healthier place to live. Check out the list below for ideas on how you can keep looking out for the Earth all year long.
These suggestions will help you protect the Earth while you travel.
1. Ditch the wheels. Instead of driving, walk or bike where you need to go.
2. Avoid idling in your car. Turn the car off when you’re waiting.
3. Take advantage of public transportation, both within the city or for longer trips.
4. Keep your car running smoothly. Getting regular maintenance means that you’ll use less gas, resulting in fewer pollutants released into the air.
Be Wise with Water
While it’s true that about 70% of the Earth’s surface is water, that doesn’t mean we should take it for granted. The Water Project has lots of information about water conservation but read on to learn ways to be responsible with our liquid resources.
5. Shorten your showers.
6. Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth.
7. Keep it clean when you clean--avoid harsh chemicals that can pollute the water.
8. Fill, but don’t overload, the dishwasher so you make the most of the water being used. For an energy-saving bonus open the door and air dry dishes instead of using the heater.
9. Install a rain barrel to collect and save rainwater for your plants.
Be Vigilant with Your Voltage
Use these tips to help you save electricity.
10. Turn off all the lights when you leave the house.
11. Put a timer on your thermostat so you don’t run the heat or air conditioner when the house is empty.
12. Air dry your hair instead of blow-drying.
13. Clean out the lint trap of the dryer and the air vents in your home.
14. Try rechargeable batteries.
15. Use LED light bulbs instead of regular ones.
Scale Down Your Mail
Find ways to move to electronic rather than paper mail.
Save the Earth While You’re Shopping
Here are some things you can do when you go to the store.
19. Plan your shopping trips in advance, so you only purchase items that you need.
20. Bring your own reusable grocery bags to the store.
21. Buy products that use recycled materials.
Keep Helping When You’re Hungry
Here are ways to be environmental friendly when you are having a meal or snack.
22. Eat fruits and veggies that are in season locally. About 20% of produce gets wasted because it isn't the right size, for example. Consider buying fruits and vegetables that don't make it to the grocery stores by using a farm to produce delivery like Hungry Harvest.
23. Use washable containers instead of plastic baggies to pack snacks and lunches.
24. Waste not, want not: Every 3-4 days have your family do a refrigerator raid to eat leftovers instead of tossing them.
25. Use Seafood Watch to help you make sustainable choices when buying seafood.
Be Wise About Waste
When you are throwing away trash, think of these things to help save the Earth.
26. Don’t litter! Hold onto your trash until you’re near a garbage can.
27. Follow EPA guidelines to properly dispose of household chemicals like paint, oil, batteries, and cleaners.
28. Recycle whenever you can.
29. Instead of tossing out organic waste like fruit and veggie pieces, try to compost. Read this article from Glad to learn how to get started.
Choose to Reuse
The adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” can lead to big benefits for the planet if you find ways to both share your extra “treasure” and take advantage of things that others no longer need.
30. Donate your old glasses.
31. Donate your old electronics like computers and phones.
32. Donate your old clothes and shoes.
33. Borrow textbooks from an older student or ask your school if they have a book loan program.
34. Carry a refillable water bottle instead of buying bottled waters.
35. Find ways to repurpose empty bottles or jugs. For example, rinse out an empty jar of jam and use it to create a pencil holder.
Make Your Own
Get rid of all that excess packaging that comes with store-bought items and try these do-it-yourself ideas.
36. Fruit Drink: Add slices of fruit to water instead of buying juice boxes.
37. Pet Materials: Use newspaper or shredded paper instead of buying cat litter or pet bedding.
38. Room Refresher: Paint or stain an old table instead of buying something new.
39. Wrapping Paper: Unleash your inner artist and decorate paper that you have at home instead of buying wrapping paper.
40. Body Scrub: One option that is both exfoliating and delicious is this one made from brown sugar and coconut oil.
Below are some ways to enjoy yourself while you’re protecting the Earth!
41. Download an e-book instead of getting a paper copy.
42. Save some electricity by turning off the TV and video game console and playing a board game instead.
43. Organize a toy or book trade with a group of friends. Everyone brings a toy or book that they no longer use and trades it for something “new” from a friend.
44. Use both sides of the paper when you’re drawing.
45. Create recycled art from things like popsicle sticks or toilet paper rolls.
46. Visit the library instead of buying a new book.
47. Plant a tree.
48. Clean up your favorite park. Download our Family-Friendly Guide to Park Cleanup for tips on how you can help your family contribute to clean parks all year long.
49. Let your pup get in on the fun! Check out this post from BarkBox that gives 33 ways to make dog toys from items you probably have at home!
50. Tell a friend about these tips and pick a few things to do together. More people will be helping the Earth, and you’ll get to have fun with a buddy!
Hopefully, some ideas on this list have inspired you to do your part to help the Earth! At Sanford, our science classes keep our students engaged with the Earth all year long by providing opportunities to do things like catalog bird species, plant gardens, and track the migration of monarch butterflies. In honor of Earth Day, our Upper School SEAL (Sanford Environmental Action League) students will organize various campus-wide events to support the Earth. Sanford School follows environmentally sustainable practices and focuses on making choices that are good for the planet.
Beth Whipple is the fifth and sixth grade middle school science teacher. She received her bachelor's degree from Davidson College. She earned her master's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.