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Earth Day

April 15, 2019 - Earth Day is Monday, Apr. 22! Globally-recognized and celebrated by more than one billion people in 192 countries, Earth Day is considered the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

The theme for Earth Day 2019 is “Protect our Species.” The world is facing mass extinction of species: bees, birds, insects, big cats, lizards, marine life, plant life, and more. The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution, and pesticides, to name a few. The impacts are far-reaching.
[Data retrieved from the Earth Day Network website, URL:  https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/endangered-species/earthday2019/]

The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement.

Every small action matters to the big picture. In honor of Earth Day, here are a few suggestions of actions that are worth adopting into habit every day:

  • Eat less meat. Did you know that the meat industry is responsible for twenty percent of our world’s greenhouse gas emissions? Producing one calorie of meat requires twenty times as much energy as it does for a plant to produce one calorie.
    • Going to a full-time plant-based diet may not be a change you look forward to, but consider starting with one full day of meatless meals or making one meal per day plant-based.
    • Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables makes our bodies healthier; and fresh produce is readily available in supermarkets, at farmers markets, in school cafeterias, and even in fast-food restaurants.
  • Think before you shop. Every product we buy has an environmental footprint.
    • For an enlightening look at the environmental impact of consumerism, watch this video, “The Story of Stuff” (21m, 24s).
    • Reduce, reuse, recycle...in this order.
      • Reduce - do you need it?
      • Reuse - instead of buying another one, can I use an old one?
      • Recycle - can this product and its packaging be recycled?
    • Remember your reusable shopping bags and food containers. Did you know that single-use items such as shopping bags, coffee cups, and plastic utensils make up 89 percent of the plastic waste floating in our oceans? [Webber, J. (2018, May 13) “Single-use Items Make up 89% of Plastic Waste in the Ocean,” retrieved from URL: https://www.livekindly.co/single-use-items-make-up-89-of-plastic-waste-in-the-ocean/]
  • Drive less! This is another win-win habit. Did you know that the manner in which a car is maintained significantly impacts how it affects the environment?
    • Consider walking or riding a bicycle any time you can. The exercise will improve your health and will lessen greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Lower driving expenses by carpooling with co-workers or classmates. Consolidate short trips and adopt a “no-driving” day (or multiple days) every week.
    • Reduce idling time.

Do you have a green act to share? HSD would like to know what you and/or your school is doing to help protect our species and reduce our environmental footprint. Please share your ideas and actions with Resource Conservation Manager Mia Hocking.