Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22nd, 1970. It was at a time when the environment was just a dumping ground for wastes and toxins and a group of people brought together a consciousness that was just awakening – the environment is extremely important for OUR well being! It also introduced the concept that Earth Day is Every Day.
What can you/I do so that Earth Day is Every Day?
There are lots of lists out there on how we can reduce our impact on the planet, our home but it is not enough. Changing your light bulbs, not flushing the toilet, washing in cold water, etc are good little action we can make but we need to do bigger things and more often.
Vote: Every four years we go to the polls to vote for a person/party and for three levels of government. The people we elect are supposed to reflect the direction that the majority of people want to see. There has been a shift in focus from social and environmental wellbeing to the economy. They talk about the trickle down effect but that doesn’t seem to be happening. The majority of wealth is being concentrated in a small group of people and therefore doesn’t reach the majority of us. And, what good is an economy when the world and our society is trashed?
Vote with your wallet: EVERY product and service we spend money on is a vote for that product or service to succeed. If a company is doing something you don’t want to chose not to spend money with them. For example, if you found out that a chocolate company was purchasing their raw materials from slave labour how would you feel about buying their chocolate bars from the shelf or a company was buying their clothes from a factory in Bangladesh where they were working in poor and unsafe working conditions. What you spend your money on is a vote for those conditions and that world. What world do you want?
Become an Advocate for our Home: Voting at the polls happens every so often but being involved in running our society means that we become more involved. That means picking up the phone or writing a letter or email and letting your concillor, MLA, MP, business owner/manager, etc whenever they are doing something that does not fit in with the ultimate goal – a safe, balanced, just, peaceful, respectful and healthy world for everyone everywhere (this includes all living creatures and ecosystems).
- You can start this weekend with the March for Science and the Resilience Festival (see below)
#MakeItAwkward for the planet: When you see a person littering, unconsciously idling their vehicle, bullying another person, being racist, etc – step forward and let them know that this is not acceptable in your society – #MakeItAwkward!
Eat Less Meat: According to the Worldwatch Institute and the UN FAO the meat industry is the single largest creator of greenhouse gasses. It makes sense to reduce our consumption for this reason alone but there are other reasons like personal health, health of the animals that are produced by the industrial meat industry, pollution, overuse of antibiotics, loss of biodiversity, rainforests, etc. Try Meatless Monday to start off with and whenever possible choose
- Try Meatless Monday to start off with and whenever possible choose
- Check out Environmental Working Group site regarding “Green Meat“
Drive Less: Consider substituting walking, using transit, bicycling or carpooling as better options to using your car for some of your trips.
- The majority of our staff cycle or walk to work
- We have the most amount of parking for bicycles for our size than any other business in Edmonton.
Refill Don’t Landfill: Whenever possible reuse containers to refill products at stores. Buying from the bulk bins will normally save you some money but it also saves the resources of the container.
- Did you know that Earth’s General Store has an extensive variety of bulk items that can be refilled at our store from maple syrup to tamari, agar agar to xylitol, shampoos and conditioners to household cleaners? You will even get a 5 cent ‘reward’ for your good deed.
- Even national stores like Bulk Barn have finally initiated a refilling program – good on them!
- If you have forgotten your own container please check out the bins where other customers have dropped off their surplus containers
Invest in Solar or Wind: Do you have a home that has a good solar potential? Can you put some panels up on your roof? Do you invest in companies then move your money from destructive technologies to healthier initiatives like solar?
- Earth’s General Store became Alberta’s first grocery store to get a portion of our electrical needs from solar panels we installed on the south side of our building.
Plant a garden and grow some of your own food – Organically, of course: Even if you only grow a few containers of tomatoes you are going to enjoy the satisfaction of connecting with real food that YOU grew. We need to connect more with this process.
- Earth’s General Store offers a wide variety of organic seeds.
- Come to our Get Growing Day on Sunday, May 14th and pick up some bedding plants from local organic growers.
STOP!: Slow down. The pace that we are maintaining is not healthy and it is distracting us from those things that are important.
Reduce, Reduce, Reduce: Buy fewer things. Declutter. Buy Second hand when you need to get things like clothes. Use the library for books. Stream films, music, etc since it is better to move electrons than matter.
Be a Conscious Consumer: Understanding what impact your purchases have on the planet and other earthlings will help us make better-informed choices.
Reduce the amount of plastic in your life: Most plastic is thrown out in short order. It has become a disposable product. Plastic does not degrade like ‘natural’ products. It accumulates in our environment especially the oceans (see this short video) The plastic that we see in our environment is the large plastic but there is lots of microplastic getting into the environment. Fibers from people’s clothing, microplastic that is in personal care products, any plastic that is worn down, etc all end up in our environment somewhere. Consider switching over to more natural products, consider how you clean your clothes, don’t buy personal care products with microplastic (there are lots of products that use natural ingredients that serve the same purpose), etc. the choices are quite endless.
Please do all the other things that will reduce your own environmental footprint.
- Take your own reusable shopping bag when shopping. Take an extra one for all the extra things you might buy.
- Turn off lights and electronics when not being used.
- Install LED or Compact Fluorescent lights in your home or business
- Use cold water when washing your clothes.
- Air dry your laundry. Outside is best.
- Switch your cleaners to plant based ones.
- install a rain barrel in your garden
- Use a reusable mug wherever possible (at our downtown cafe we give you a 50 cent discount when you use your own reusable mug)
- Use a reusable plate and cutlery when you go to festivals and at grab and go food establishments
- Learn how to preserve foods – sauerkraut, jams, etc.
- Check out some other things you can do on the Internet.
The Resilience Festival is happening on April 22nd, 2017 and also hosting an Earth Day Party. A good day to take the family and learn about all sorts of earth-friendly actions you make in your life.