Earth Day is April 22nd! What can you do to help our planet? According to an article originally featured on the Baltimore Aquarium website, there are just nine (yes, nine!) actions that will change the world. When these nine basic actions are taken together by thousands of us, it has a significant impact on our environment.
- Skip a car trip each week – The average American drives over 250 miles each week. Replace a weekly 20 mile car trip by telecommuting, biking, or combining errands, and you'll reduce your annual emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by nearly a thousand pounds!
- Replace one beef meal each week – Meat production is extremely resource-intensive. Livestock currently consume 70 percent of America's grain production! Feedlot beef is particularly wasteful. For every 1,000 of us who take this action, we save over 70,000 pounds of grain, 70,000 pounds of topsoil and 40 million gallons of water per year!
- Shift your shrimp consumption – Today, nearly 70 percent of the world's fisheries are fully fished or overfished, and about 60 billion pounds of fish, sharks, and seabirds die each year as bycatch - animals caught accidentally as a result of wasteful fishing techniques. For every 1,000 of us who stop eating shrimp, we can save over 12,000 pounds of sea life per year.
- Declare your independence from junk mail – Surely we don't need to twist your arm to do this one! Begin by using the Center for a New American Dream's online form to get yourself off junkmail lists. For every 1,000 of us who succeed in halving our personal bulk mail, we will save 170 trees, nearly 46,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, and 70,000 gallons of water each year. Check out Eco To The People for even more ways to reduce your junkmail influx. (As an aside: I have contacted individual retailers who send me multiple catalogs such as Pottery Barn and Oriental Trading Company. They have all been very polite in removing my name from their database.)
- Replace four standard light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) – Want a hundred bucks? Replace four standard bulbs with low-mercury CFLs, and you'll reduce your electricity bills by more than $100 over the lives of those bulbs! More importantly, you'll prevent the emission of five thousand pounds of carbon dioxide.
- Move the thermostat 3°F – Heating and cooling represents the biggest chunk of our home energy consumption. Just by turning the thermostat down three degrees in the winter and up three degrees in the summer, you can prevent the emission of nearly 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
- Eliminate lawn and garden pesticides – Americans directly apply 70 million pounds of pesticides to home lawns and gardens each year and, in so doing, kill birds and other wildlife and pollute our precious water resources.
- Install an efficient showerhead and low flow faucet aerators – Of all natural resources, water is the most essential. But available supply is diminishing rapidly as human populations swell and inefficiently drain precious aquifers. For every 1,000 of us who install faucet aerators and high-efficiency showerheads, we can save nearly 8 million gallons of water and prevent over 450,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year!
- Inspire two friends – Last and most important! There's an easy way for you to triple the positive impact you are making with these nine actions: convince two friends to join you in your effort! Ask your friends to join!