Get Involved in Earth Day: EVERYDAY!

On April 22, 2010 the world celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. With the current threat of global warming and climate change – a day to recognize the value or our Earth is more important than ever. It’s not exactly a “holiday” (you still have to go to work), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason to celebrate. Take some time to show some love for the planet by taking action.

Step One: Plant some trees.

Nothing says Earth Day like a fresh grove of newly planted trees. If you join The Arbor Day Foundation, they will send you 10 free trees to plant. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, you can plant trees virtually by giving to a cause.

• To plant trees in America, make a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation and help plant trees in National Forests as part of the effort to fight against deforestation. One tree will be planted for every dollar you donate. So, if you can give $50, that equals 50 trees – and you won’t even get your hands dirty.

• To take your efforts to an international scale, Oxfam also offers opportunities to support tree planting abroad. You can give $30 to plant moringa miracle trees or plant 100 trees for $60. You can even plant an entire forest for $500.

• Check out the Nature Conservatory’s Plant A Billion Trees campaign. The effort is working towards reforesting the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. So far, they’ve planted about 6 million trees. Each dollar you give will help plant one tree in Brazil.

If you do plan to plant your own trees, just make sure the new foliage is native to your area. Native plants helps sustain the local bio-ecosystem. For example, a Palm tree probably won’t survive for very long in Chicago, but a Red Maple will.

Step Two: Ditch the wheels.

Take the pollution out of your daily commute by leaving your vehicle at home for Earth Day. Support your local regional transit by riding the train or bus to work. If you live close enough, plan to ride your bike or walk. If you have a really cool boss, consider cutting out your commute completely for one day and ask if you can work from home.

Step Three: Recycle for change.

Literal change. If you save up your plastics and aluminum cans, you can make a killing at your local recycling center. In some states, you can earn as much as 10 cents per item. That adds up fast. If you’re feeling extra inspired, add your recycled change to your “Plant a Tree For Earth Day” fund.

Step Four: Just say no to plastic (and paper).

If you haven’t already made the switch from paper or plastic to reusable bags, Earth Day is a great time to start. Most retailers make reusable bags available for about a dollar each. If you’re the kind of person that needs to show off your style in everything you do, you can spring for the slightly more expensive but infinitely better looking designer bags.

Step Five: Get the kids involved.

Make Earth Day a family event. Educate your kids on what it means to be conscious of the environment and talk about practical changes your family can make to do your part in protecting our planet – things like shorter showers and walking instead of driving can make a big difference.

Take your Earth Day education on the road. Take a trip to your local science museum or spend part you your day cleaning up your neighborhood park. Or find an Earth Day event in your community and get the whole family in on the celebration.

Step Six: Blog for the planet.

Bloggers UNITE has launched a global campaign to encourage bloggers to generate conversation about taking care of the earth. If you’re a blogger, use your voice (and your computer) to spread the word on what people can do right now on behalf of our planet.

Step Seven: Don’t stop with Earth Day. Commit to take action.

Just because Earth Day only comes once a year, doesn’t mean you only have to celebrate for those 24 hours. Make your Earth Day efforts a permanent change. If we all make small intentional changes, we can make a difference together.

Need an idea of where to start? Try some of these action steps from the EPA’s Pick Five Campaign.

• Use less water. Fix the leaks in your house. Take shorter showers. Brush your teeth with the water off. By making water conservation a conscious effort in your home you can save thousands of gallons of water every year.

• Commute without polluting. Find a friend to carpool with. Cut your work week to four days. Use your regional transit. Better ye t- walk or ride your bike. The less you drive, the more you help cut back on carbon waste. Plus, you’ll rack up some major savings on fuel cost.

• Save electricity. Replace your standard light bulbs with energy efficient ones. When your not home or not in the room- flip the lights off. You can conduct a home audit to find out how much electricity your home is using.

• Reduce, reuse, recycle. Purchase products with less packaging. Find creative reuses for recyclable products. And don’t forget – take reusable bags with you every time you go shopping.

• Use chemicals safely. Make sure you keep all chemical products out of reach of children and lock up all pesticides and cleaners. Never ever dump poisonous products down the sink. Trade out your environmentally hostile cleaning products for more Earth friendly ones.

• ReCycle. Don’t trash your TV. Or your computer, or DVD player or any other electronics. You can safely recycle electronics without creating major hazard for your local landfill.by SARAH NELSON,www.causecast.org

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