See what I did there? With the Daze? And the Days? Ehh? Ehhhhhh??? Yeah, okay, it was silly, but hang in there.
So, Earth Day was yesterday. I think we all know enough about it by now that I don't need to give you a linky to go read up on it. Google it if you have been under a rock and still aren't sure about what it is. I sat for a good while yesterday, trying to think of a good post to put up here. The thoughts ranged from great projects that took place (Greeblemonkey spear-headed a great one that I mentioned before and it did pretty well, from early returns) to just saying - "Hey, Earth. Happy you day."
But, today, I thought of how I wanted to pay some homage. Hopefully it doesn't come across too preachy or "holier-than-thou", because I'm neither of those things, but maybe we need to do a little preaching, or no one will take action.
Having an Earth Day is a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand, it raises awareness of problematic environmental issues, and gives people an opportunity to take some action. But, on the other hand, it allows people to feel they are doing enough if they take action that one day a year. Being "green" minded is a much more healthy approach, and allows you to do smaller things all year that end up having a much bigger impact. So, I think having smaller "Earth Days" (eh? See, Daze/Days...THERE it is. Damn, I'm funny) is more useful.
On that note, here are a few things that we do at Casa de Monkey that are in this "green" minded theme, and hopefully will inspire you as well:
1. Use cloth bags when you go shopping. Americans use millions upon millions of plastic bags every year, and although they are better than they use to be, they still take time to break down. Bring along a good cloth tote bag, and you'll be creating less waste.
2. Walk/ride a bike more often. Instead of hopping in the car to go the corner store for that bottle of water and bag of chips, toss on a backpack and take your bike or hoof it. You'll end up feeling better about your health, save money on gas - which can't hurt with the prices today, and create less pollution.
3. Use recycled paper and plastic products. If you recycle your plastics and paper, you're only doing half the job. While that does help, to truly get away from wasting those products you're sending in to recycle, you should look to buy products that are made from those recycled items. There's lots out there, and you may already be doing it without even knowing.
4. Start a vegetable garden. When you buy vegetables in the grocery store, don't forget that you are paying for not only the veggies, but for the oil used to transport them to your location. The further away they are (I'm talking to you Brazillian bananas), the more that money goes towards oil prices. If you grow your own veggies, you avoid a lot of the preservatives and pesticides used by larger companies, avoid unneeded hormones added to some veggies and can take some pleasure in producing your own food. If you can't grow your own veggies, see if your area has a farmer's market or food co-op that you might be able to use. They're great alternatives and tend to use local produce.
5. Replace your regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. The new compact fluorescent bulbs cost much less in the long run, because they last much longer than standard light bulbs. This creates less waste in the landfills. As a bonus, they save you a bit on your energy bill because they use less energy. Which, depending on what energy company you use, may mean less oil/petroleum use as well.
Okay - thanks for the opportunity to stand on my soap box and say a bit. I hope more people will take an interest in the kind of impact we have on the planet, and try to minimize it as much as possible. Every little bit helps, after all. If you have some ideas - small things we can all do throughout the year - please share them by posting them in the comments.