So, it's Earth Day on April 22nd and there are all kinds of opportunities to participate and show how you love the Earth. What I'd like to suggest this year is that you pick one or more and stick with it all year. Rather than making a once a year effort, because it's Earth Day, how about choosing on thing this month and making it permanent? I have completed a top 5 list of permanent Earth Day commitments you can make this month that are healthy for the Earth and healthy for you:
1) Get rid of plastics. I blogged about BPA and solutions to avoiding it (click here to read). BPA-based plastics are just the tip of the iceberg. All plastics are leaching into our water systems and our physical bodies. These are chemically produced, so when they begin to break down, the molecules are then floating around - we are ingesting them, breathing them and soaking them in through our skin. Plastic molecules do not break down completely. They will be in the Earth, floating around for many future generations. Glass does not do this. Begin to replace all plastic containers with glass for storage. Avoid using plastic bags completely. There are alternatives to plastic shopping bags, plastic food storage bags, and plastics when buying (such as buy bulk with your own container).
2) Buy as much certified organic food as you can. Non-organic food is filling the soil with pesticides and despite claims that non-organics will feed the world with the super seeds and super fertilizers and resistant varieties of plants and pesticides, this has proven after 30 years to NOT be the case. These pesticides are found in the blood stream of children. Organic has proven that it can compete with conventional and produce enough food. What needs to happen now is that consumers need to demand that the federal government stop subsidizing conventionally grown and genetically modified produce (mainly corn and soy) and start subsidizing organics. If you can't afford all organic, begin with the "Dirty Dozen".
3) Walk, bike, paddle, or find another way to travel. The very best part of biking or walking to a class, the library, or work is that the time you would spend traveling and exercising is now the same time. Yes, you will most likely take longer to exercise your way to your destination, but the time savings and gas savings is well worth it. Once you learn how to plan this and make it happen, it becomes an easy routine. When I would bike to work, I had a couple of lists. The first listed what I needed to remember to pack in my bag for the day (for example, a change of clothes, lunch, bike lock key, etc.) and the second listed what layers of clothing were required for certain temperatures and weather conditions.
4) Quit drinking soda. The first reason to quit drinking soda is related to #1 above. Unless you are buying bottled soda, it is all leaching plastic - cans are lined with BPA plastic as well. This would benefit the earth immensely just by shear resources used to create and then trash needed to break down, not to mention the plastic issue. The corn syrup used to make soda is made from corn, of course, because corn is subsidized by the government. This is why it is so cheap. The production of corn has gotten to be so profitable in this system, that farmers are producing just that and in huge quantities, requiring more and more pesticides and genetically-modified strains for the increasing number of pesticide-resistant creatures attacking the product. When there is no diversity, on a farm year after year and acre after acre, the critters get pretty good at attacking the plant! If you switch to diet soda, then you are exposing yourself to a whole other set of chemicals I do not recommend and you are fooling your body's natural insulin system, creating hormonal (insulin is a hormone) issues down the road.
5) Reduce meat consumption and eat only grass-fed, organic. The environmental impact of meat is tremendous, especially beef. The resources used to produce meat are way more expensive than what is being charged. Conventional meat requires the use of antibiotics and often hormones to create the product that will fit the factory system of production this country has. The waste products are polluting are water systems. Meat is not especially healthy for us either as I covered in my blogs recently (click here and here to read). Try reducing to just 3-4 times per week.
These are just 5 of many and they are only my recommendations. If something here doesn't fit your lifestyle or the space you are in your life now, then try other changes. Anything will make a difference and we all need to start somewhere! I encourage any change you are willing to make to create a healthy you and a healthy planet!