April is all about the planet earth. As we enter the 21st century, we face many environmental crises. Including global warming, deforestation, endangered wildlife, shortages of potable water and widespread pollution, all which negatively affect our planet’s resources and can have adverse effects on our long-term lifestyle and health.
April 22nd is Earth Day, a day to highlight and promote efforts dedicated to the protection of the environment. But, Earth Day should not be limited to one day. It takes a lifetime of commitment to ensure that our resources are protected for our children, grandchildren, and furbaby. And it takes constant reminders to keep us on task, as well as being aware of our surroundings and changes in nature.
Last month I was in Honolulu, HI and the island was absolutely beautiful! During my trip, I got to snorkel near Coconut Island, home of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Being in Hawaii I imagined my snorkel trip would be full of colorful coral reefs and sea life. But instead, I saw grey-brown colored reef or known as bleached coral, with some tropical fish swimming around here and there . Not exactly exciting and definitely not what I had in mind. But I was lucky enough to see a few sea turtles! What I was told by my tour guide afterward was what I saw was the healthiest coral reef in Honolulu.
The causes of bleached coral include overfishing, changing in ocean temperature, exposing to chemical sunscreen, etc.. Unless we do something to address these issues, coral reef will disappear!
Why you should care about the environment:
- A clean environment is essential for a healthy living
The overall temperature of Earth’s atmosphere is increasing. Yes, global warming and climate changes are real.
- The future generations may face dangers due to problems caused by us and they will appreciate it if you did something to prevent it.
- Biodiversity is important. Refers to the variety of plants, animals, and other living things in our world. According to the EPA, it can be negatively influenced by natural forces and human activities.
Nature gives us so many things for free. The least we can do is show our appreciation by protecting and preserving our environment.
- Earth is our home so we better take care of it.
Here are 15 simple things you can do to help make our planet greener:
1. Eliminate the use of plastic
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in one year alone, the U.S. produces a staggering 32 million tons of plastic waste and only around nine percent is recovered for recycling. There are an estimated 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the ocean and according to a recent study authored by researchers at Plymouth University, a staggering 700 different marine species are threatened by its presence.
This year, our goal isto eliminate the use of plastic in our household and say no to straws when going out.
2. Start carrying a bag for life
In many countries of the world, there has been a phase-out of lightweight plastic bags. In the United States., there is no national plastic bag fee or ban currently in effect in the United States. However, few states have banned plastic bags for wholesale and retail businesses.
3. Use glass instead
4. Replace disposable to replaceable/reusable
5. Go compostable and biodegradable
6. Go green and DIY your cleaning product
All you need is some vinegar, water and essential oil.
7. Coral reef safe sunscreen
Researchers found that the oxybenzone in just a single drop of sunscreen can wreak havoc on fragile coral reef systems. Reefs all over the world are at risk.
8. Green beauty
Ditch your chemical filled beauty products and replace natural and organic beauty products. Not only is it good for the environment, it is also benefiting you as well. Skin is largest organ of the body, is a giant sponge capable of absorbing all kinds of things, which are immediately carried into the bloodstream. What would you like your organ to absorb?
9. Support green business
Support business that biodegradable or use recycled material packaging.
10. Reduce your meat consumption and eat more veggies.
The meat industry produces huge amounts of harmful emissions, and vital ecosystems around the world are being destroyed at an alarming rate to make room to graze cattle and grow the food they eat.
As part of my New Year resolution, we are reducing our meat intake to two days a week. The other days we are allowing ourselves to eat fish and eggs. When choosing our meat choice, we typically stick with chicken. Sorry chickens!
11. Get a bike
It’s obviously not feasible to swap your car for your bike completely, but if you live in a built-up area, it’s often the quickest way to get around.
This year, I got myself a bike. Not only could I go biking with my other half around town, we bike for errands or just a cruise. It is also a great exercise.
12. Reuse your plastic bottle
If you do end up with a plastic bottle in your household, here are some creative ways you can reuse it. All you need is some creative skill and craft skills.
13. Go natural and ditch synthetic
Synethics harms the environment and can be a health hazard to you. Ditch synthetic and swap with natural and green.
14. Get interior plants
Benefits of interior plants include: reducing carbon dioxide levels, increasing humidity, reducing levels of certain pollutants, such as benzene and nitrogen dioxide, and it enhances your mood!
This year, we brought our first aloe plant together from our local farmers market. We look forward to purchasing more interior plants.
15. Eat organic
Organic food production strictly avoids the use of all synthetic chemicals, it does not pose any risk of soil and underground water contamination like conventional farming which uses tons of artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
I know eating organic can be costly. Check out how I eat organic on a budget.
Did you know:
- There’s an 80,000-ton monster lurking in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California and it’s still getting bigger.
- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a rapidly growing hot spot for ocean plastic, carrying 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in what is now the largest accumulation of ocean debris in the world
- In 2010, a California grey whale washed up dead on the shores of the Puget Sound. Autopsies indicated that in its the stomach it contained a pair of pants and a golf ball, more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, duct tape and surgical gloves.
- 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found.
- At least two-thirds of the world’s fish are suffering from plastic ingestion.
- Worldwide, 13,000-15,000 pieces of plastic are dumped into the ocean every day.
- A plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate. An animal that dies from the bag will decompose and the bag will be released, another animal could harmlessly fall victim and once again eat the same bag.
- Most commonly found trash includes plastic bottles, plastic bags, cigarettes, food wrappers, plastic utensils, straws, beverage cans, paper bags and styrofoam cups.
- Chemicals in sunscreen that come off while swimming or travel through sewage systems when washed off in the shower are “bigger than climate change” in causing coral reef damage.
- The footprint of an average American:
Get Involved and Donate to Help:
There are many organization out there that are dedicated to healing the planet earth. Here are a few dedicated to ocean cleanup:
Hawaii Ecotourism: To protect Hawaii’s unique natural environment and host culture through the promotion of responsible travel and educational programs relating to sustainable tourism for residents, businesses, and visitors.
Plastic Ocean: Plastic Oceans is working to change the way we deal with plastic waste by challenging society’s perception that this indestructible substance can be treated as ‘disposable’.
Rozalia Project: Focused on achieving all three goals along with our partners, interns, guest scientists, volunteers and hopefully you. A clean ocean, protected ocean, and a thriving ocean.
Clear Blue Sea: Ensure the survival of the marine ecosystem and the health of the maritime economy by removing macro and micro-plastic debris from our oceans and returning the marine environment back to clear blue seas.
Big Blue Ocean Clean Up: To drive positive change for clean oceans and coastlines that support all marine wildlife and sustainable living.
I often get friends says to me what I am doing is not enough to make an impact so why bother with it. While that may be true to a certain degree that I cant do it alone, I know I am making an impact. Probably has a far greater impact on way more people than I realize. If you believe our planet needs help and you want to contribute, take actions and take a lead. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or what they are saying to you, follow your belief that you are making an impact. Sooner or later, those people around you will be inspired and impact by YOU.
If you made it through this far into my post, I would like to thank you for taking your time to read this post. I hope you are ready to take some actions or continue with your good work!
We want to hear from you. What are some ways you do to help heal our planet?
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