When my daughter held her first lemonade stand this past week, I was so caught up in the “milestone” aspect of it all that I totally missed out on an opportunity to add an environmental lesson to the mathematical/economical one.
With only a couple days to go until Earth Day, prepare to get inundated with a billion things we can do — should do — to save our planet. Although there will likely be plenty of events to attend and planet-themed parties to enjoy, one of the best places you can celebrate Earth Day is in your own home!
If our homes are a reflection and expression of our lifestyles and values, then it makes sense that we start making conscious (i.e. green) choices at home. The issues affecting the Earth — from the oil crisis to water shortages to disappearing species — are complex, and can seem distant and insurmountable, but it is essential to understand the correlation between our everyday environments and our larger ecosystem. Everything and everyone is interconnected, and even the simplest act, such as turning the water off when we brush our teeth, creates positive change.
When it’s time to leave home, consider the planet as you make your plans. These simple practices take little effort but can make a big impact on the environment — not just for Earth Day, but every day.
1. Start before you go
Unplug your electronic appliances when you leave home for an extended time, especially those with digital or LCD displays such as TVs or microwaves — these suck a lot of power whether they are switched on or not. The Department of Energy estimates that so-called “vampire” or “phantom” energy waste accounts for 5 percent of total electronic energy consumption in the United States. You should also make sure your thermostat is turned down or off, and reduce the setting on your water heater.
In the ten years since I’ve been embarking on nature travels, I’ve seen a lot of outdoor gear evolve. Hiking boots, thermal undergarments and GPS units are just some of the items that have undergone striking advances.
But the one essential piece of outdoor equipment that has gone through a gamut of changes, caused the most controversy and been the most intriguing is the water bottle.
Buying a kayak qualifies as a “big purchase” for my family, and my husband and I recently took that huge step. Although we’ve had a canoe for a long time, this is our first acquisition of this type of silent-sports, aquatic craft.
Autumn is my favorite season. I love the crisp clean air, cool nights, and beautiful soft quality of the changing light. We are particularly lucky living in a region unique for its extreme foliage show of vibrant reds, intense oranges, yummy browns and bright yellows. Few other places in the world match the brilliance of the Great Northeast.
Take a look around your house. See anything there that, with a little processing, could be turned into fuel to run a car, or even an airplane? If you’ve got ears of corn in the fridge, you might be thinking about those. Maybe you’re even eyeing the sugar jar. But wait. Crank up your imagination. Take a gander at the following things that, once tossed out, can become the inputs for new sources of fuel.