10 Simple Ways to Give Back on Earth Day

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Kim Chwalek

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I'm a 25-year old girl based in Denver, Colorado. Kim Collective is a space where I share about beauty, faith, food & home, style, travel, well-being, and everything in between. Thanks for stopping by!

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Happy Earth Day!

As I’m writing this, our global economy is experiencing a massive shutdown. Industrial activity has tempered, storefronts have closed, and people have retreated to their homes to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their countries from the spread of COVID-19.

During this challenging time, it is difficult to feel grateful or hopeful. Nevertheless, our beautiful home–the one planet we have to provide us with clean air, healthy food, fresh water, abundant resources, and continuous inspiration–is healing. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations have plummeted in China and Europe, wildlife have flourished in Yosemite National Park due to undisrupted breeding, and Los Angeles’ skies are the clearest I’ve ever seen.

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By taking a pause, we are able to envision a cleaner future. Now, more than ever, it is time to regulate the use of fossil fuels, chemical toxins, and agricultural pollutants that harm our respiratory, heart, and neurological system, contribute to air, water, and land pollution, and cripple our ecosystem’s biodiversity. While it is easy to become frustrated, disillusioned, or even skeptical in modern times, there is always a way to protect what we love.

As I look around, I’m grateful to be alive. I’m grateful for the beautiful places I’ve traveled to and the incredible people I’ve met along the way. There is beauty in believing in a better future. The health of our planet ensures the health and happiness of friends, family, neighbors, and strangers alike. All in all, here is a list of 10 simple ways you can give back to our beautiful planet.

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Jane Goodall

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

1. #MeatlessMonday

You might want to consider going vegetarian or vegan for one day a week. Reducing your meat consumption is not only good for our planet, but good for your overall health. If you have trouble, try cutting red meat first. While it only takes approximately 39 gallons of water to produce a pound of vegetables, it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. Confused? Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFOs) require a lot of land, water, and food. Before a cow can eat, crops (corn, soy, and barley) must be planted, irrigated, and synthetically fertilized in separate plots of land. Then, the feed must be transported by vehicle. By limiting your intake, you are dramatically reducing water usage, land usage, and methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Also, you’re saving an animal’s life!

2. Sign a Petition

Hey! These only take a few minutes. Click on each petition link to support a great cause!

  1. Make Earth Day A National Holiday: Sign the petition here.

  2. Stop Mining Operations in Homonhon Now: Sign the petition here.

  3. Ban Global Wet Markets and Illegal Slaughterhouses: Sign the petition here.

  4. Save our Sharks in South Africa: Sign the petition here.

  5. Don’t Let Wyoming’s Iconic Wild Horses Become History: Sign the petition here.

  6. Go #AllinforClimateAction: Sign the petition here.

  7. Save The Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Sign the petition here.

Maui, Hawaii.

Maui, Hawaii.

3. Adopt a Houseplant

I’ve gone overboard with purchasing houseplants. I have four in my bedroom! Houseplants transform carbon dioxide into oxygen, giving us cleaner and fresher air to breathe. They are also known to help with allergy relief, stress relief, and sharper focus. It’s a win-win!

4. Set a Plan for #NoPlasticWaste

Only 9% of plastic is actually recycled. Nevertheless, a lot of us treat the trash can like a magical incinerator. We don’t realize that plastic ends up in the landfill to decompose for a thousand years. To reduce your waste footprint:

  1. Say “no” to fast-fashion. It may be cheaper, but what is on the other side of the supply chain is not pretty. We’re talking sweatshops, chemical contamination (dyes, perfumes, bleaches) in community water supplies, overworked and underpaid employees, and poor quality materials. If it wasn’t made to last, don’t buy it. You’ll save more money in the long-run.

  2. Remove single-use water and coffee cups. Yes, my coffee lovers. Please, make yourself a cup on your own. Those little plastic pods will take hundreds of years to decompose.

  3. Buy your groceries in bulk. Save money and save plastic!

  4. Think twice before taking a plastic bag! Package your food in glass containers, use reusable containers, or package supplies in cardboard boxes.

Margaret Mead

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

5. take a walk + Pick Up Trash

If you’re feeling stuffy in quarantine, take a walk outside and pick up stray trash. Sadly, if the trash is not dealt with by your city, it may end up in a body of water. Do your part! Be a good neighbor.

6. Donate to a Non-Profit

A few highly-rated charities to consider:

  1. The Conservation Fund

  2. The Nature Conservancy

  3. Sierra Club Foundation

  4. Earth Day Network

  5. Greenpeace Fund

Antelope Canyon, Arizona.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona.

7. “BYOB” and “BYOC”

“Bring Your Own Bag” and “Bring Your Own Cup!” If you can spare to bring a reusable bag or cup to go grocery shopping or grab coffee, you will save a lot of unnecessary plastic or styrofoam.

8. Cut your electricity bill

Speaking from experience, it’s not a good feeling to know that you were charged electricity overage fees. If you aren’t in a room, get in the habit of immediately turning off the lights. If you are cold, put on a sweater instead of turning up the temperature. If you are hot, don’t unnecessarily blast the air-con. If you are a TV-addict, try picking up a book once in a while! Here are a few options for you: 10 Best Books to Read.

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Gaylord Nelson

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

9. Use Natural Cleaning Alternatives

Here’s a recipe for an All-Purpose Natural Cleaner:

  • 1 Cups Water

  • 1 Cup White Vinegar

  • 1 Lemon

  • 15 Drops of Essential Oil

You can also try this recipe for another great all-purpose cleaner!

10. Set a Date to Volunteer

The easiest way to give back to our Earth is to plant a tree. Currently, the Arbor Day Foundation is the largest non-profit dedicated to planting trees. A few other organizations are One Tree Planted, Trees for the Future, Plant-for-the-Planet, and International Tree Foundation. If you live in Los Angeles, consider volunteering with TreePeople!

Thank you for reading my list of 10 simple ways you can give back on Earth Day. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it on social media or leave a comment down below! Stay safe out there!

XO, Kim

 

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