This year’s theme for earth day is “Restore our earth” so we thought of giving you some practical ideas how you can restore our earth.
1. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Every single product we buy has an environmental footprint and by putting more thought into what we buy we can do our part in the global pollution battle we are currently facing. Disposing of waste like glass and tins at a recycling station instead of normal household waste means these items can be recycled. You can also find alternative uses for these items like using glass jars for pantry storage. Jars and tins can also come in handy in the garage.
2. Conserve Water
The conservation of water is very straight forward really: the less water we use, the less wastewater will eventually end up in our oceans. Fix leaking taps or pipes immediately and do not leave the water running when brushing your teeth. Although singing is recommended in the shower try to keep shower time to a minimum.
3. A light bulb moment
Light-emitting diode or LED bulbs are super energy efficient because of their narrow band wavelength. Although they are more expensive than CFL (compact fluorescent light) lamps, the long-term saving in electricity far outweighs the initial cost. Compared to the same incandescent light bulb which will last 1,000 hours an LED light bulb will last 25,000 hours. Although Belinda Carlisle suggests leaving a light on, switching lights off when you are not in the room is a savvy energy saving move!
4. Plant a tree or two
Planting indigenous trees has a multitude of positive effects on our planet. One young tree can absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) at a rate of 5 kilograms per year. A 10-year-old tree can absorb up to 21 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, acting like a carbon sink! As if that was not reason enough for us to plant trees, they also absorb other gases like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Imagine what the impact would be on nature if everyone plants just one indigenous tree per year.
5. Say no to plastic
The ever-growing impact which plastic pollution has on our oceans and marine life is a constant reminder for us to say “no” to plastic. By introducing small changes to our everyday lives, we can overcome plastic pollution, one paper bag at a time. Bottled water is a major contributor to this global issue and by opting for filtered tap water we can drastically curb the number of bottles ending up as landfill and in oceans. Get in the habit of carrying re-usable shopping bags with you, use paper or biodegradable straws and opt for paper cups instead of plastic.
6. Waste less food
Food waste is a major contributor to the landfill space problem we are facing in South Africa. Unlike other waste, we can dispose of food waste in such a way that it has a positive influence on our earth. If you are not going to eat the leftovers donate it to a person who will enjoy a meal. Appropriate leftovers can be fed to pets and other animals and organic waste can be used for composting.
7. Start a vegetable garden
Carbon emissions from a vegetable garden is zero compared to food transported to and from grocery stores. Growing your own vegetables and herbs does not only mean you can grow delicious and wholesome organic vegetables, but it is also great for the environment.
8. Disposing of batteries for recycling
When batteries are not disposed of in the correct manner, they contribute to water and air pollution. When used batteries are thrown in the trash, they end up in landfills where they decay and leak. As batteries corrode, their chemicals soak into soil and contaminate groundwater and surface water. Our ecosystems are compromised when filled with battery chemicals. Did you also know that improperly disposed lithium batteries can be very unstable? Lithium batteries can cause landfill fires that can smolder for many years. As a result, the toxic chemicals released into the air negatively affect our breathing and contribute to global warming. The vaporized form of improperly exposed batteries also gets trapped in the atmosphere and pollutes lakes and streams in the form of rain. Although re-chargeable batteries are more dangerous to dispose of, using them means less batteries will end up in the trash. Both chargeable and non-chargeable batteries can be recycled and should be dropped off at battery recycling facilities around the country or at any Battery Power Zone branch.
9. Laptops vs desktop
Apart from the many advantages which laptops provide, they are also much “greener” than desktop computers. Desktops use much more energy than laptops and therefore produce more carbon than laptops. It is believed that laptops can be 80% more energy efficient than desktops so next time you are in the market for a computer think of the effect your decision will have on our environment.
10. Plant a bee garden
Planting flowers that bees like is becoming more and more important as a lack of habitat is causing our bee number to drastically decline. As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem and food supply. Without bees, we will have empty gardens and plates. By planting some of the following we can BEE sure of a happy garden: daisy, lavender, buckwheat, sunflowers, fennel, rosemary, tulips etc.