11 eco-friendly things to do for Earth Day (and every day!)

Apr 22, 2014

Greetings, Earthlings! A happy Earth Day to you all!

This year marks the 45th annual Earth Day celebration, which is held every year on April 22nd and every day in my heart. Making changes towards sustainability can feel daunting at times, however, small drops really do make a mighty ocean. And people around the country aren’t just making these changes once a year, they’re making them daily.

These small changes are all a part of what we’re calling The Quiet Revolution. From the increase in cooperative businesses, to the change in consumer interest from more to better, freelancers are carrying the torch of New Mutualism, in the hopes of creating an economy that allows for a sustainable environment and a truly independent workforce.

So for today, and every day, here a few easy changes you can make for this lovely planet we call home.

1. Get rid of junk mail

Even if you recycle your junk mail, the cost of the raw materials, printing and shipping add up to a pretty big footprint. Chances are you’ll only give that J Crew catalog one glance and a wistful sigh anyway, right? You can reduce your footprint and give your mailbox some room to breathe using PaperKarma. This fabulous “green” app allows you to simply take a photo of your unwanted mail, and then be automatically removed from the distribution list.

2. Change your lightbulbs

Switching to a compact florescent or LED bulb will lower your energy costs and consumption all while saving you money! Check out this handy guide for changing light bulbs.

3. Recycle

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to make a difference. It reduces waste in landfills, saves energy, and cuts back on the use of natural resources, among various other benefits. Recycling laws will vary by city/state so make sure you are up-to-speed on the particular regulations in your area.

4. Use reusable water bottles/coffee cups/shopping bags

There are some staggeringly terrible facts about plastic bags, including that over 1 TRILLION plastic bags are used every year worldwide! Cities throughout the world are banning or fining the use of plastic shopping bags, so you might as well hop on the bandwagon early. As for plastic bottles and paper coffee cups, their environmental impact is also abysmal! Reduce and reuse!

5. Wash laundry with cold water

Not only is washing in cold water way better for your clothes and their colors, but it saves a TON of energy!

6. DIY

Here are some ideas for things you can DIY instead of buy! One of my favorites (and a great money and earth saver) is making your own cleaning supplies.

7. Carbon offset air travel

On average, just one US round trip flight can produce up to 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution! Many airlines allow you to offset the carbon footprint of your trip when you purchase the flight. If not, though, you can also use carbon offsetting services for air or auto travel.

8. Eat less meat

Much like air travel, animal agriculture accounts for a large percent of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Sierra Club: “If Americans reduced meat consumption by just 20 percent, it would be as though we all switched from a sedan to a hybrid.”

9. Eat/shop local

There are a ton of great reasons why you should eat locally grown food. One of the many reasons is that buying local reduces the environmental impact of products by reducing the distance they have to travel to reach your plate.

10. Get involved with an environmental non-profit

There are so many environmental organizations worldwide that are making great strides in the fight against a host of environmental issues. Find one that speaks to you and get involved! Whether it be a monthly donation or volunteer work, any help is good help.

11. Plant these (flowers and plants) to help save bees

There are a whole lot of reasons why we need bees! The bee population is declining due to a variety of environmental issues. While we can’t all be apiarists, we can do our part to help them thrive. One artist drew up this lovely and handy guide to bee friendly flowers and plants!

Freelancers, what changes are you making this Earth Day (and every day)?