Haley Schryver, Editor
Happy Earth Day!
Every year on April 22nd, we are reminded to celebrate our Earth, and reflect on how our actions impact our environment. Earth Day was created in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson after he witnessed a devastating oil spill the previous year. Senator Gaylord decided that the best way to create awareness and affect change was to go directly to the people. He sparked the public consciousness about air and water pollution, and as a result, by the end of that year, was the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Now we observe Earth Day each year and work to create a cleaner environment. There have been many policy victories as a result of the growing awareness brought about by this national holiday, but Earth Day is not only about major legislative victories; it is about doing your part to reduce your personal impact on the environment and make positive changes. Here are some ways you can celebrate Earth Day, everyday.
1. | Eat Local and Organic
Organic agriculture is key to having a sustainable food source, in addition or organic being the better choice for your overall health. Organic farming is also a great way to increase biodiversity, which protects the soil and is a great way to protect the sustainability of our ecosystem. Eating locally-grown produced food is estimated to cut transportation emissions by 4 to 5 percent.
2. | Quit the Fragrance
Air fresheners and other scented products contain chemicals that not only contribute to air pollution, but they can also seriously harm your health. They contain phthalates and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which potentially pollute groundwater, and the EPA recommends that you reduce your exposure to these substances.
3. | Use Natural Cleaning Products
There are many effective, non-toxic options when it comes to cleaning products. There are hundreds of unsafe chemicals found in cleaning products, some of which are carcinogenic, so natural options are always the safer bet. Many of these toxic products are petroleum based and made of water pollutants, so it is best to avoid these products altogether.
4. | Ditch the Plastics
Plastic bags, bottles, and storage containers create incredible amounts of waste that end up in our oceans, rivers, and forests everyday. Plastics are no biodegradable, so while they may seems to break down, they toxic chemicals they are made of are released into our soil and water. They are a also danger to our health as they contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and other potentially carcinogenic compounds.
5. | Walk or Cycle
One of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases is car pollution. In the United States, car transportation accounts for nearly 20 percent of all U.S. gas emissions. If you have a short journey, consider walking or cycling instead of getting in your car. Exercising outdoors is also a great way to improve your mind and body.