Earth Day might only come once a year but you can easily practice green initiatives every day of the year. Here are some simple things you and your family can do to help our environment.
- Practice recycling in your own home. In many European countries it is mandatory. Refuse and recyclables must be placed specially bags but bags that hold recyclables cost mere pennies compared to the cost of the general refuse bags. In our house Sidney takes a leading roll in sorting what item goes into each recycling bin and is quick to point out when one of his parents accidentally places the wrong item in our blue recycling bin.
- You can bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store. Here in Belgium the major grocery chains don't even provide you with any plastic bags at the checkout. Instead, you are expected to bring your own bags or buy reusable large totes from the store.
- And speaking of the store, when running errands, combine your trips or better yet, walk or bicycle to your destination. You will not only save on gas and reduce carbon dioxide emissions but the exercise is good for you too.
- Go plant a tree. One city we lived in used to give away free trees to residents each Earth Day. Glenn and I took advantage of this offer one year picking up three small (OK very small) red maple saplings that we planted in our front yard.
- You can eat local. By supporting local farmers you are not only helping the local economy you are eating fresher foods because they haven't been shipped half way around the world to your dinner table. This also reduces energy costs, lowers carbon dioxide emissions, and the food generally tastes better.
- Participate in, or better yet, organize a community clean up. Clean your streets, neighborhood park or waterway. When we lived in Albania our family participated in a beach clean up that removed tons of waste and debris from a nearby shoreline. Our efforts only put a small, temporary dent into the beach but as with most efforts, they start small before picking up momentum.