The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 (read our interview with one of the founders here!). Since then, every April 22nd, individuals across the world plant trees, pick up trash, and care for our planet — and the Senior Planet community is no exception. We recently asked our newsletter subscribers to share their own sustainable practices; not only on Earth Day itself, but year-round.
According to a poll of 100+ participants, popular efforts include recycling and composting at home (90%), and using reusable goods like multi-use water bottles and grocery bags (90%). We also presented an open-ended form for participants to share their own environmentally-friendly practices in greater detail.
Where to start?
When it comes to sustainability, figuring out where to start can be intimidating.
“We’ve started an ‘Eco Club’ in my community…”
Some, like Danelle A., use a support system offered by a communal program. “We’ve started an ‘Eco Club’ in my community”, she says, “where we have two compost bins and share tips on home energy savings and whole food, plant-based recipes.”
Others, like Debra M., find benefits in making a strong commitment. “I have followed veganism for 13 years, that is: the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and a philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. I advocate for legislation that educates and supports animal welfare.” Debra says that “eating vegan helps stop animal suffering and improves our own health.” She also volunteers at a local Colorado animal sanctuary called Doolittle Farm Sanctuary, and submitted the photo at right of one of the sanctuary’s pigs “painting” on a canvas.
The ins and outs
Not quite ready to commit to a major lifestyle change? Focusing on one small step is a valuable way to make a difference. There are many ways to get started inside your own home. Carol D. switched to energy-efficient LED light bulbs, and limits the use of aerosol sprays. Bev O. suggests purchasing refills for gel pens, and using cloth towels and rags instead of paper towels.
There’s plenty to do out in the yard as well. “I help care for the earth by controlling stormwater at my house,” says Kenneth B. “The root cause of major erosion in our streams is uncontrolled stormwater runoff. I have tried to do my part by installing rain gardens and conservation landscaping to control stormwater on my own property.” Salma K. shared an impressive milestone: she’s watered her garden with only recycled water from her kitchen sink — for 19 years!
Thinking outside the delivery box
Others in the Senior Planet community have found ways to put an eco-friendly spin on common habits. For those in the NYC area, Susan I. shared a food delivery website and app that is helping to reduce the almost 1 billion takeout containers thrown out by New Yorkers every year: “We do takeout with DeliverZero which uses recyclable plastic containers that are sterilized and reused again and again.”
Claudia F. submitted a clever repurposing idea to bookmark for the holiday season: “When we’ve had real Christmas trees, we cut up the branches and lay them across flower beds as protection for the freeze and thaw.”
Creativity in conservation
Protecting the planet can also inspire creativity, innovation and fun. Cara C. is channeling her inner artist: “I am working on a project using the hundreds of plastic bottle and jar caps that I have collected after consuming milk, peanut butter, vitamins, etc.” Stanley R. even wrote an Earth Day song, which you can listen to here:
What about tomorrow?
Earth Day might only last 24 hours, but the momentum doesn’t need to end once the calendar flips to April 23rd. Fortunately, we don’t need to wait a whole year to start making our world a better place. Senior Planet Montgomery is offering online lectures and workshops this quarter in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesdays at 3pm EST. Click here to join next Tuesday, April 27th for a session on “Programmable and Smart Thermostats.” EarthDay.org has this interactive map of events to help you discover more opportunities and events in your local community, both online and in-person.
Thanks to everyone who submitted their best-practices for Earth Day 2021. Didn’t get the chance to share? Post your ideas in the comment section below!