Earth Day Personal Challenge

Tomorrow is Earth Day.  I have decided to challenge myself to conserve more, not just on Sunday but for the entire week.   I have for a long time now put the earth and our environment before my wants.  But this week I am going to try to reduce my consumption even further. Here’s my plan…

I listened to the rain last night and watched as it rained off and on today. I was thankful for the rain as this winter in the northeastern part of the United State we had pretty close to a snow-free winter.  Diane Balch  has also remarked about the lack of snowfall and the consequences for us as a result.

Whether you believe in global warming, or that humans are contributing to the changing climate I don’t think anyone can argue that we aren’t taking very good care of our planet.   Let this Earth Day be a day to think about the needs of the planet for our children and their children.  What can we do today, and what habits can we develop which will leave a better place for them?

I both watched the documentary and read the book No Impact Man and have decided to see just how far I can cut my consumption this week.  I will keep you posted and at the end of the week will update you on which habits I feel I can live with making a permanent change in my life.

Here’s the goals I have set:

Converting an overgrown field.  Tomorrow  while it will be chilly  the ground will be soft enough from the rain to assist me in removing more weeds, roots and all, as I continue to help convert an overgrown field into a community garden and gathering spot.

Pick up trash along my path. Until this spring I got around town mostly by car.  This spring I  parked the car.  I am enjoying the slower pace of life, but what I haven’t enjoyed is seeing the trash I never noticed from my moving vehicle.  As part of my Earth Week challenge I plan to pick up this trash I see lying along the road.

Conserve more electricity. The average American home has 40 plugged-in devices just waiting to be used.  The words offenders are laser printers, desktop computers (yes even in sleep mode), TV, game consoles, and digital cable boxes.   While I don’t have much of that and would think I am doing well I looked around and counted: 4 lamps, compact refrigerator, desktop computer, and a clock radio (with CD player built-in).

This means I had 7 items plugged in at all times in my home whether I’m using it or not. It is time to make changes,   I rarely use the one lamp, so I have unplugged it.  In addition I have brought out beeswax candles and will use this in place of electric lamps for the week (at least that’s the plan I will let you know how this works out). While using the candles, for this week I will unplug all lamps and will only plug in the radio if I feel I really need music, bringing my total number of plugged in items down to 2, the fridge(which uses $3 of electricity per month)  and the computer which is turned off using a power strip unless it’s in use.

I will have to make a few changes to accomplish this,  I will read earlier in the day using the sunlight to read by and will exercise in the evening when I don’t need the light as much.

Eat closer to nature. Since I am already a vegetarian, this week I plan to eat a raw foods vegan diet.  By doing so I won’t be using any electricity to prepare my meals.  I will also only purchase foods with minimal or no packaging.  This may limit what I can eat as our local produce isn’t available yet.

Little changes  can add up.

  • Change to Led bulbs. You don’t have to challenge yourself to try a similar experiment, little changes will help.  Changing your incandescent light bulbs to LED ones will save you a lot more than you realize.  You would have to turn all your lights off for 3 of every 4 days to match the savings you will get by changing to LED bulbs.
  • Don’t buy, share.  There was a time when people borrowed what they didn’t have rather than buying it.
  • Convert some of  your lawn with native plants, you will use less water and save on mowing all the grass.  Better yet add edible plants in place of the lawn.
  • Go outside.  We spend too much of our time indoors, get outside toss a football, take a hike, have a picnic.  Getting outdoors will remind you what Earth Day is about
  • Plant a tree.  They can give shelter from the heat of the sun, and clean the air we breathe.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room, and consider using task lighting to conserve further.
  • Cooking a meal, make extra. It doesn’t cost as much to heat a little more water to make extra rice or pasta as it would to start from scratch each time you eat.   You will have the fixings for another meal this week.

Want more ideas check out 22 ways to go green for Earth Day.   Pick a couple of ideas and give them a try.  What will you do this Earth Day, share your experiences with us.  Which ones do you think you will continue?  Which felt like a punishment instead?

2 thoughts on “Earth Day Personal Challenge

  1. Great plan! I am the light nazi in our house – I go room to room turning lights off after everyone else. If I could just get the rest of them on board, it would be so much easier. We do your other ideas as well – except for the raw foods part, but we eat local or home grown foods as much as possible.

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    • Growing up my grandfather was the light Nazi, I think every family has one. As for raw food if I try to eat raw only for more than a few days I begin to feel deprived so it’s something I mix in from time to time.

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