As the famous philosopher, Voltaire, said, “no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible,” yet where would the avalanche be without each snowflake? From picking up litter in your neighborhood to making the switch to reusable shopping bags, these seemingly small habits can combine to have a powerful effect. With Earth Day coming up on Saturday, April 22nd, we’re thinking about changes we can make to reduce our impact on the environment. Earth Day is the perfect time to form a new habit. We have a few ideas that you may want to consider this year:
Organize a neighborhood roadside litter clean up. We’re all familiar with the term, “spring cleaning.” It’s a satisfying feeling to put winter clothes away, deep clean the house, and prepare outdoor spaces for new growth. Why not spruce up your neighborhood or well-travelled roadsides along your daily commute with the help of family and friends? All it takes are some trash bags, rubber gloves, and willing volunteers to meet for your outdoor spring cleaning session. Remember to wear brightly-colored clothing so motorists can see you easily.
Add air purifying plants to your home and office. NASA calls these special plants, “nature’s life support system.” Knowing that most folks spend more than 90% of their time indoors, air quality is essential to our health and the welfare of our planet. Air purifying plants help rid your living spaces of toxic compounds, bacteria, mold, and pollutants like car exhaust. The garden mum comes in as NASA’s #1 air-purifier. Mums remove common toxins like ammonia formaldehyde found in indoor air. NASA names the spider plant, peace lily, and aloe vera in their top 10 helpful air cleaners. You can find more helpful information and tables about specific plants and the pollutants they combat by clicking HERE.
If you haven't already added reusable grocery bags into your daily routine, there’s no time like the present. Making the effort to put reusable shopping bags in your car is an easy and worthwhile habit to incorporate. ChicoBag offers cute, comfortable, washable, and durable reusable bags that can haul up to 40 pounds. If you don’t want to spend money on reusable bags, take an old duffel bag or backpack with you instead. You can also get the kids involved by letting them be responsible for bringing reusable bags on shopping trips and for returning them to a designated spot or vehicle after unpacking. These simple steps help create positive habits for generations to come.
Adding reusable coffee cups, water bottles, and other on-the-go utensils is another earth-friendly habit that makes a big difference! For the price of one week’s worth of lattes, you can purchase a reusable mug. Reusable containers could save up to 5 disposable cups and lids over the course of a work week which, in turn, saves nearly 300 coffee cups from going to the landfill over the course of a year! Stanley, Klean Kanteen, and YETI offer reusable travel, trail, and beverage containers that not only help protect the environment, but keep your morning coffee piping hot all day long. [Read on for some great information about Klean Kanteen’s commitment to protecting our planet with their “Bring Your Own” campaign HERE. Many restaurants are becoming more acquainted with and welcoming of this practice. Some coffee shops offer a discount when you bring your own cup!]
Rid your home of “energy vampires.” Even appliances that are turned off, but still plugged into an electrical socket, drain your electricity… and your wallet. Whenever you’re not using an appliance, lights, or chargers, simply unplug them. Power strips help make this process even easier by clustering several of devices at once, making it even easier to turn off idle appliances all at once.
Use Earth-Friendly Cleaning Products. If you must wear gloves when you clean or the bottle advises not to breathe in the fumes, this is a sure sign that a cleaner is not a healthy option. We all want our homes to be sparkling and germ-free, but we don’t have to rely on chemicals to achieve cleanliness anymore. When you get ready to replace your old cleaning products, why not give earth-friendly ones a try? There are many cost-effective, green-friendly options to choose from and today’s the day to give them a go. If you’re looking for an even cheaper option, cleaning with fresh lemon juice or vinegar water is a terrific combo!
Pay attention to how you use water. Every time you turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth, you're saving water. Do you have a leaky toilet? You might be wasting 200 gallons of water a day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Try drinking tap water instead of bottled water, so you aren't wasting all the packaging. Consider adding a rain barrel at your home. Using rain water for washing your car and watering plants is a wonderful way to recycle water. Also, rain barrels help reduce storm water runoff from your property.
Walk or ride your bike to school, work, and anywhere you can. You can reduce greenhouse gases while burning calories and improving your health. If you can't bike or walk, use mass transit or carpool. The planet’s carbon footprint diminishes every time you use human energy, instead of cars, to get around. Your body will thank you, too!
Here are a few ways you can celebrate Earth Day this weekend in our Mast Store communities:
Earth Day at Chimney Rock, Western North Carolina
Join Chimney Rock State Park rangers, biologists, and other environmental educators to learn about the incredible work being done to protect our beautiful landscape. Education stations will be located in Chimney Rock Village behind the Old Rock Café. Kids will have the chance to earn a Grady’s Kids Club annual pass to Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. Fun for the whole family! For more details, click HERE.
Piedmont Earth Day Fair, Winston-Salem, NC
Support the planet and celebrate with your neighbors at the largest Earth Day Fair in the region, hosted by Piedmont Environmental Alliance. Enjoy great food and music, activities for adults and kids, and earth-friendly activities that help families learn more about how we can support a greener city. Piedmont Earth Day Fair is a FREE event, including free parking! For more, check HERE.
Earth Day Goose Chase, Greenville, SC
The Goose Chase at Lake Conestee Nature Park is the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day! Participants will learn about the history and natural beauty found in the park, as well as participate in a few service projects to help beautify the area. The event is from 9 a.m. until noon. There are more details HERE.