There was once a golden field in the misty reaches of time where Republicans and Democrats met on some common ground. It was not unshakable common ground─it consisted of unsteady, sandy soil prone to liquefaction and erosion─but it was common nonetheless. And that common ground was the environment. Yes, once upon a time, Republicans and Democrats agreed that leaded gasoline, asbestos, industrial waste, nuclear waste and other scourges of the earth were, in fact, not good things. They came together to create a little token of green in their partitioned worlds. Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin joined forces with Republican Representative Pete McCloskey to create the first national environmental teach-in, forever now known as Earth Day.
The idea caught on. On April 22, 1970, people gathered in university classrooms and auditoriums, on street corners, and in public parks to have a conversation about wild places, animal habitat protection, and the cleanup of toxins. Later that year, in what is commonly referred to as President Nixon’s One Good Thing, the Environmental Protection Agency was created. Not only that, but Washington State resident and environmental powerhouse (and sometimes Republican) Bill Ruckelshaus headed the new agency.
Earth Day is the perfect day to remind ourselves and teach our children about the importance of habitat protection for animals, the need to address climate change, the simple beauty of planting that one perfect tree.
So we, at Bellingham Alive challenge you to make today the first day of an eco-friendly and earth-conscious life.
Listed below are 14 simple ways to embrace a greener lifestyle at home and the office every day!
Save Money and Power
- Power off devices and unplug appliances when they are not in use. Be sure to do a quick check to see if your appliances have an energy saving mode. If so, try it out, most people don’t notice the difference until their power bill arrives.
Save the trees, ditch the receipts
- If you opt for paperless billing, you’ll save paper and have all your receipts filed and stored automatically online. Most businesses can email receipts directly to your email if requested.
Eat Fresh and Pay Less
- By packing your lunch for work or school, you can avoid the lunch rush and reduce food container packaging waste by using reusable containers. When in a rush, make sure to grab items at the store that are packed in recyclable materials. Take the final step, toss them in the blue bin!
Good for you and the Earth
- Processed meat production causes massive amounts of waste and chemical use. Reducing the amount of meat you eat has positive environmental and health benefits. Buying from local farms is a better alternative to buying from major producers. Sourcing meats from a meat department that wraps in paper rather than Styrofoam makes a small but important difference.
Give your cosmetic bag an enviro-chic makeover
- There are many makeup brands and products that are organic and yes, recyclable. RMS beauty, Burt’s Bees, and Ecco Bella are examples of brands that give back to the environment and produce eco-friendly products. Reach for glass containers rather than plastic! Try replacing three of your everyday products with products that are friendlier to the environment.
- Thanks to the plastic bag ban in Bellingham, most folks have gotten used to bringing their own bags, but for you stragglers in the county, bring your own bags when shopping. It sounds simple because it is!
Hop in the H.O.V or grab a bus or pull up a helmet
- Carpooling just twice a week you can cut your carbon emissions down immensely. Local bus service is safe, friendly, and convenient, all the way from the north county to Skagit. Biking to work or school is a perfect way to get fresh air, exercise and reduce those emissions.
Don’t throw away your batteries, recharge them!
- Buying rechargeable batteries reduces waste and saves your money in the long run. If you do have to throw away your batteries, make sure to find proper disposal sites.
- Don’t wait for those old bulbs to burn out, get a jump on the energy savings by using LED or CFL energy-efficient bulbs. They can use up to 80% less energy and they last longer too. Go a step further, try recycleonline.com for those old bulbs and more!
Say No to Micro-beads
- These tiny pieces of plastic are causing more harm than good. They are tainting our water supply and disrupting marine life. Check labels to avoid using products with micro-beads. Need the exfoliation? Try a salt or sugar scrub.
Green your K-cup
- K-cups have been so hard on the environment, the inventor of the Keurig has regrets about the environmental consequence of those little things. Keurig is making the switch to recyclable polypropylene #5 plastic by the end of this year. Until then, try replacing your K-cups with biodegradable or refillable pods.
- The further your food travels, the more preservatives and packaging it requires. Trucking and shipping food also creates greater carbon emissions. Buying fresh, local produce helps the environment and your health. Just one more small change that helps!
Be More Recycle Conscious
- The folks in the recycling industry claim they can recycle everything but a cigarette butt. Before you buy products, research whether or not they are recyclable and where to dispose certain products. There are so many common products that are not recycled simply because no one knows they can be. Here are a few items that are recyclable: iPods, makeup containers, ink/toner cartridges, toothbrushes, old cell phones, and razors.
MADE IN THE U.S.A.!
14. Take the 2 week challenge! Can you buy 100% made in the U.S.A. for two weeks! Help create local buying habits and reduce the use of fossil fuels by attempting this one!
Happy Earth Day from all of us at North Sound Life!