“Save the planet! It’s the only one with cornbread.” reads a small hand painted sign at the top of a door frame at Prater’s Mill in Varnell. Whenever I see that quote I smile and think of all of the things, my most favorite things, that are only available on this planet we’ve named Earth. Chocolate of course tops the list. Along with my toy-size dog (though she’s not a thing at all but an important member of the family), my favorite blends of green tea, and Japanese mochi ice cream balls.
It’s strange to think of the planet as needing saving. After all, a place nicknamed Mother Earth, located at just the right distance from the Sun and filled with life-sustaining water, soil, and air, has actually given us life. In effect Mother Earth is constantly saving us, sustaining us, and supporting us. We can’t live without her! Perhaps that quote should be, “Save the planet! It’s the only one with (insert your name here).” And boy, does the planet need help!
While things may look fine in our own backyard, there are many issues hurting the planet we share. Depletion of and misuse of natural resources, ever increasing amounts of waste, air pollution in developing counties, water pollution going from streams to lakes and rivers, garbage floating in ocean gyres, and coral bleaching leaving dead zones beneath the waves. And, we can’t forget the disappearance of honey bees and pollinators affecting our food supplies.
Saving the planet may seem overwhelming at first, but the truth is that anyone can do it. The key is to support Earth-friendly practices that have already been established. Each one of us can do something on a daily basis, big or small, to help conserve and protect this place we call home. Saturday, April 22, is the 47th anniversary of Earth Day, a great time to start implementing some of the following eco-friendly practices.
1. Don’t Drive: Take a walk or ride your bicycle to work, the store, church, or a friend’s house. You’ll conserve gas and reduce the amount of air pollution you create.
2. Plant Something: Whether it’s a flower or tree, planting plants help clean the air, provide shade, and provides food and shelter for many animals. Plants also beautify our environment, which is a win-win for everyone.
3. Change Your Bulbs: Switch from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs to save energy. You’ll reduce your electric bill and save money in the long run.
4. Recycle Electronics: Don’t throw away you old cellphones and laptops. They can be recycled along with other electronic devices at the Old Dixie Hwy. Landfill and Convenience Center’s electronics drop off box.
5. Choose Local Foods: Buying locally grown food reduces your environmental impact because the food has travelled a shorter distance compared to food delivered by a tractor-trailer to the grocery store.
6. Upcycle: Transform something you were about to throw away into something useful. The possibilities are endless! Make a birdfeeder out of a milk carton, or a stamp from a wine cork.
7. Clean it Up: Pickup litter (trash in the wrong place) anytime you’re outside. Whether it’s your trash or not, picking up and taking it to the right bin will help keep our environment clean and safe.
8. Reduce Clutter: Get rid of the things you no longer use and keep only what is useful and beautiful in your home and office.
9. Energy Efficient: Improve one area of your home to make it more energy efficient. You can look into changing your appliances, cooling, heating, and lighting.
10. Go Reusable: From reusable shopping bags and sandwich bags there are many reusable products available today to replace single use disposables. Make the switch to at least one this month.
11. Recycle: Give your garbage another life by recycling when you can. Locally you can recycle plastic bottles and jugs, glass bottles and jars, paper, aluminum cans, and bi-metal cans.
12. Pay Online: Instead of mailing in a paper check for a bill, pay online. Many banks offer an online bill pay service and can even email you statements. You’ll reduce the amount of paper you use and save money on postage.