Small changes, big impact.
There are days when it feels like the world is tearing apart at the seams and all we can do is watch from the sidelines. As global temperatures rise, glaciers are melting and animals are fleeing their natural habitats. According to National Geographic, if we continue on this path of environmental destruction, our future generations will face a slew of unpleasantries–all of which sound like the main conflict in an apocalyptic thriller–including an increase in hurricanes and destructive storms, floods as well as droughts, and limited fresh water.
It’s scary stuff, but there are actions we can take in our daily lives that have a positive impact on this planet we call home. On April 22nd, the 48th annual Earth Day will take place, encouraging the world’s inhabitants–that’s you!–to “consume less, play more,” and we’ve got a handful of ways to make small changes in your day-to-day life that can have a big impact on your eco footprint.
Here are six simple ways to celebrate Earth Day 2018.
Join the ‘No Straw, Please’ movement.
The #nostrawplease movement encourages people to stop using plastic straws, and is a simple yet effective way to immediately cut down on waste. The movement gained popularity after a video of a sea turtle with a straw lodged in its nostril went viral, and since then, both large chain eateries and independently-owned bars alike are saying so-long to straws. Still, if you end up somewhere that offers them, take it upon yourself to politely decline. (EarthDay.org has a handy plastic consumption calculator to figure out how much of the synthetic material you’re using.)
And cut out the plastic water bottles, too.
Did you check out that aforementioned plastic consumption calculator yet? Because it has a spot to track your plastic water bottle waste, too. Instead, buy a reusable bottle that speaks to you, and get in the habit of packing it everywhere you go. You’ll feel good about limiting your plastic use, but not only that, some coffee shops offer a discount if you BYOB (Bringing Your Own Bottle), so it’s a win-win.
Get outside and plant a tree. Seriously.
Reforestation does long-term good for the planet. “Trees filter the air and help reverse the impacts of climate change,” explains the EarthDay.org website. “In just one year, a mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen as 10 people inhale.” Organize a tree planting day at your child’s school or gather some neighbours and plant new foliage at a local green space or in someone’s yard. If that sounds too labour intensive, you can always put your money where your mouth is–$1 equals one tree planted when you donate to the Canopy Project (a legit organization which is part of the Earth Day Network).
Drive an eco-friendly vehicle.
Opting for an eco-conscious vehicle that uses electricity or electricity and hydrogen-based fuel as your daily driver can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Acura has a couple of outstanding hybrid options–the performance sedan RLX and the midsize SUV MDX–that drastically reduce fuel consumption. For example, the non-hybrid 2018 RLX is rated at 11.8/8.1/10.2 L/100km city/highway/combined while the RLX Sport Hybrid is rated at 8.4/8.1/8.4 L/100km).
Go paperless wherever possible.
Paper bills feel incredibly dated and so wasteful. Switch all of your services–think hydro, water, internet and television, banking–to paperless bills. According to the Financial Post, in 2014 Bell Canada said the company was saving around 30,000 trees a year because of its customers going paperless.
Install a Smart Home System.
A tech device like a smart home system will make you feel like James Bond, as you secretly control all of the electronic devices in your house from some exotic Caribbean beach (or, in reality, your office). Smart home systems allow you to lower your electricity consumption by dimming or turning off unnecessary lights that may have been forgotten, or even setting the temperature a few degrees lower to conserve energy. Not only will you be happy about a lower hydro bill, but the planet will be smiling, too.