Happy Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, a celebration of our planet and a day to reflect on all that it gives us and all that we do to make it less likely to continue to provide for us into the future. While we are unlikely to be entering a neo-Malthusian period, we are putting an ever increasing strain on the fragile ecosystem. Here, from the Vancouver Sun, are ten things that you can do to make a difference. How many of these are you currently doing? I hereby publicly commit that I will ride my bicycle to work until the end of the semester (that’s only about two weeks from now, but still two weeks is two weeks.)

1. Leave your car at home for a day (or a week or a month) and try walking or biking. If work is too far away to walk, take public transit or carpool. One city bus eliminates the emissions of 40 cars.

2. Turn off the lights, the computer and the television when they are not in use. Using only highly efficient and money-saving appliances can reduce the electricity consumption of an average household to one-10th of the national average.

3. Try eating meat-free at least one day a week. A meat-based diet requires seven times more land than a plant-based diet. Livestock production is responsible for more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world.

4. Choose foods produced organically, locally and in season. Support your regional farmers and farming industry: buying locally and in season is better for the environment than buying foods that have been shipped hundreds of kilometres to your local market.

5. Put a composter in your backyard or use your green bin to reduce household waste. Composting organics has two key benefits: it reduces the amount of waste going to landfills and when added to your garden, helps nourish soil and plants.

6. Turn off your car’s engine if stopped for more than 10 seconds. If every driver of a light-duty vehicle avoided idling by five minutes a day, collectively, we would save 1.8 million litres of fuel per day, almost 4500 tonnes of GHG emissions.

7. Set your thermostat above room temperature in the summer and below room temperature in the winter. For each degree you adjust, you can save 5% on your utility bill and 1% on your energy use.

8. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). A CFL uses only 25% as much energy as an incandescent bulb and lasts 10 times longer.

9. The simple act of recycling has more impact on the environment than the average Canadian thinks. The amount of wood and paper North Americans throw away each year is enough to heat five million homes for 200 years.

10. This is a great opportunity to brag. Tell someone what you’re doing to make the world a better place. Support the cause. Encourage them to get involved too.

Source: Earth Day Canada