“The earth is what we all have in common.”
Earth Day is this Friday, and there are a ton of fun things to do around Wilmington to get outside, enjoy nature, and celebrate the earth. Any excuse for people to get together and have fun is cool in our book, and Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and bring our attention back to important issues, but here are some ways we can celebrate Earth Day EVERY day by leaving a smaller footprint and doing our part to protect our planet.
Bring A Reusable Bag
One of the easiest and most impactful changes you can make in your daily life is to bring your own reusable bag with you when you shop. Keep one in your car, your purse, or near the front door so it’s easy to remember, and BAM! you’re living more sustainably. Most plastic bags are used only once (maybe twice if you use them for doggie bags or trashcan liners) and then end up in landfills or, as we are increasingly becoming aware, in the oceans where they never completely biodegrade and contribute to troublesome pollution and the death of marine life.
The production of plastic bags requires an enormous amount of non-renewable resources, and is a leading cause of climate change. 12 million barrels of oil are needed to produce the amount of plastic bags that Americans use. Eliminating or reducing your need for plastic bags is a great first step in de-plasticizing your own life, and becoming part of a growing movement to eradicate this wasteful practice.
Organize A Clean-Up
No matter how hard we try, garbage (most of which is, unfortunately, plastic) inevitably makes its way out into the environment and litters our streets, parks, and beaches. Let Earth Day be the kick-off for a regular habit of setting aside some time to pick up the trash.
Whether you go solo, bring the family along, or organize a community clean-up, it’s an outdoor activity (which we all know is good for our well-being) that makes a difference. Just grab a garbage bag and some gloves to protect your hands (gardening gloves work great), and you’re ready to go. Not only will you be ridding the area of windblown trash, but you’ll also feel good for doing your part, AND your actions will have an influence on people around you, hopefully encouraging them to do the same.
SEE ALSO: Top Outdoor Activities in Wilmington
Ride Your Bike
Here is another example of an activity that is not only fun, but good for you and the environment. One of the leading contributors to carbon emissions linked to climate change is the automobile, so any opportunity you have to give the environment a break by hopping on your bike is worth taking. If more and more people opt to pedal to work or the store instead of relying solely on their cars, a real change could be possible. A recent study projected that carbon emissions from urban transportation could be reduced by 11% if cities include promoting bicycling as part of their transportation planning. In order to get cities to think this way, communities need to express their desire for this kind of public reform. The more people who want to bike, the more bike-friendly roadways in cities will have to be. In Wilmington, try biking along the 20-miles of the Cross City Trail that weaves itself through multiple parks and main thoroughfares.
Choose Your Food Wisely
It is the most earth-supportive choice to buy organically grown fruits and vegetables and products made with organic ingredients. Non-organic growing practices pollute the earth with an over-abundance of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which result in widespread environmental damage. We vote with our dollars, so when we buy organic we are supporting businesses with a sustainable philosophy and we are sending a message to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that we, the consumers, care about where our food comes from. Check out the graphic below to see how even making a small change to our habits can have a positive effect.
These ideas barely scratch the surface of the many ways we can celebrate and protect the earth in our everyday lives, but they are good places to start. Even as individuals, the little choices we make add up. They can have a ripple effect through out our community, inspiring and bringing people together. We hope you feel inspired to help create change, and we’d love to hear about the ways you’re celebrating Earth Day, every day.