Many of us consider every day to be "earth day." Still, it's good to have an even brighter spotlight on ways we can improve.
It's easy to get down about the state of the environment, so I go back to a trusty mantra and tell myself again and again, What You Do Matters. It's all a drop in the bucket. And if we all believe that and do even a little bit, together it makes a difference.
In that spirit, here are 7 ideas for Earth Month.
1. Mail old mascara wands to the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge's Wands for Wildlife program. The brushes are repurposed to help groom rescued animals. How fabulous is that?
2. Choose the right appliance for the job. Electric kettles use less energy than stovetop ones. A toaster oven uses up to half the energy of a conventional electric oven. An electric slow cooker makes soups and stews using less wattage than a stove. It truly pays to pick the right appliance.
3. Buy cardboard-packaged products rather than plastic. Something in a box is better than a bag when you have the choice.
4. Stop junk mail. Technology is making it easy to opt out of unwanted ads and offers. Opt out of credit or insurance offers, one click will cancel catalogs with Catalog Choice and I can't wait to try the Paper Karma app -- just take a picture of the junk mail and it will unsubscribe for you.
5. Plant a pot of Milkweed. It's a favorite of our bee friends.
6. Allow foods to cool completely before putting them in the frig. This saves energy and reduces the opportunity for bacteria growth.
7. For you gardeners...
- Sprinkle cornmeal gluten around plants to keep weed seeds from germinating. Just don't use it in the veggie garden -- it keeps all seeds from germinating.
- A pinch of salt at the base of a weed will kill it naturally.
- Use up your old petroleum jelly around the edge of pots and planters to help keep snails and slugs out. (Just don't use petroleum jelly on your body -- it's ew!)
- Use epsom salts as fertilizer for greener, brighter, more growth and flowers.
- Grate a bar of Irish Spring soap around plants and sprouting perennials to deter unwanted furry friends. (That one sounds pretty weird, but if it works!)
Of course there are the basics --
- buying only recycled paper products (like TP and paper towels, plates and napkins if you have to use them),
- using non-toxic (which means non-mainstream) green cleaning products,
- taking your own shopping bags
- carrying your own water bottle (no bottled water!!)
- and obviously eating no/fewer animal products :)
But we can do better than basic. Remember, what you do matters.
Side note, I signed up for the Sierra Club's Nationwide Hike on Earth Day (April 22nd). You can join a group or do an easy solo walk through the park. It's just a way to use our bodies, celebrate being outside and know we're doing it collectively... all for a cause. Check it out.