As Earth Day draws near, our minds turn to ways we can become greener, to reduce the pollution, carbons, and toxins that are destroying our planet, for future generations. Although I am sometimes guilty of driving when I could walk or ride public transit, not always thoroughly sorting my recycling, and enjoying long showers, this time of year makes me mindful of my carbon footprint and if not for myself, but for my beautiful nieces and nephews and the children of my friends.
- Support green companies. Today's lean economic times emphasize the need for selectivity for where our hard-earned dollars go. Forbes just released its ranking of America's Greenest Companies. Even better, shop and spend locally, cutting down costs of delivery and transportation.
- Reduce or eliminate meat intake. Many of my friends do "Meatless Mondays." According to the EPA, cutting down out one meat meal per week would mean a carbon dioxide savings equivalent to taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.
- Support your community gardens. Through its Seed Fund, the Yes To company, which produces wonderful paraben-free skin care and cosmetics, provides incentives for schools to start gardens, motivating students to lead healthier lives and support Mother Nature. During the month of April, Yes To products in participating Whole Foods stores are 20% off, and a portion of proceeds of all sales go to the Seed Fund.
- Move those legs! Take advantage of spring weather and walk, jog, skip, or bike. Feel the sunshine on your face and spare the air of greenhouse emissions.
- Drive less. With skyrocketing gas prices and more incentives for public transit commuter options, it is not just an environmental issue, but financial. More companies are recognizing this need and offering telecommuting for their employees, flexible scheduling to avoid rush hour, and commuter checks. Carpooling is another option for sharing costs of gas and bridge tolls.
Recycle clothing. Hand-me-downs no longer have the stigma they once did. Clothing swaps have become all the rage among my girlfriends, and they are a great, fun, and cheap way to get a whole new wardrobe. My friends have great fashion sense and I'm always delighted to get their cast-off dress or jacket I've always had my eye on! Stores such as Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange are fun places to sell or exchange your clothing and find unique pieces.
With our busy lives, it's hard to be 100% diligent in our environmental efforts, but it's the small steps that add up in time and make a difference. A little really does go a long way, and it's our obligation to leave a legacy better than the one that was left to us. Happy Earth Day!