Every year, we celebrate Earth on a single dedicated day—Earth Day. But how can we show our planet a bit more love and support throughout the entire year? David Bauer, CEO at Matters Media, explains how we can make small, positive adjustments to our daily habits that can have a huge impact on this place we call home.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day has been observed annually on April 22 for almost 50 years. It was created to support environmental protection all around the world, and many events have occurred on this day, from peaceful demonstrations to more historic events, such as the 2016 signing of the Paris Agreement by over 120 countries.
Why is it important to celebrate the Earth all year long?
While Earth Day plays a very important role in raising awareness of environmental issues facing our planet, it is imperative that people continue to do their part every day. The health of the planet affects everything around us, including the food we eat and water we drink, the climate we live in, the energy we consume, local and global economies, and our children’s future.
What are your top tips for being more eco-conscious throughout the year?
- Be informed and understand the issues. Take the time to understand issues like the difference between climate and weather, or how rising ocean temperatures affect coral reefs and severity of storms, or why eating less meat is better for your health and the environment. Understanding your impact makes changing daily habits a lot easier.
- Set tangible goals to lower your impact and celebrate your accomplishments. As with anything, setting unrealistic goals and downplaying small accomplishments are the easiest ways to fall back into old habits. It is impossible for everyone to live a fully sustainable lifestyle overnight, but setting realistic goals—like using nut milk in your coffee instead of cow’s milk, or trying a Meatless Monday once a month—can go a long way. Green Matters created the hashtag #EarthAfterEarthDay because small steps taken by many have a much larger impact than big steps taken by few.
- Understand not only where the products you consume come from, but also where they end up. People are very fixated on how a product is made—and rightfully so—but can sometimes overlook where that product ends up after it’s disposed of. Trash is entering landfills and the oceans at alarming rates. Understanding where products such as plastic end up is vitally important to the impact someone has on the environment.
- Participate with or donate to organizations fighting to protect the planet. While individuals making small changes can have a huge impact, organizations are making an impact at a larger scale. Organizations are putting together mass cleanups of forests, beaches, and oceans, and fighting for legislation around wildlife and conservancy—donating to them is a great way to make your money go a long way if you don't have the time to participate yourself.
- Appreciate nature and everything around us. It is really hard to make a change if you don't really appreciate what we are making the change for. Spend time outside and embrace what Mother Nature has to offer. It will really help you appreciate what everyone is trying to save, and could give you motivation to reduce your environmental impact.
Small steps taken by many have a much larger impact than big steps taken by few.
What are your top tips for making greener purchases without breaking the bank?
For food, buy dry goods in bulk where you can is an easy way to save money and waste (especially if you bring your own containers or bags!). Also, if healthy and more sustainable items are more expensive at your local grocery store, look to online delivery services that offer a wider array of products at different price points, such as Thrive Market.
With regards to produce, buy seasonal produce that travels a shorter distance to get to you and has a lower environmental impact. Portion control and keeping leftovers is an easy way to save money, as well as lower your personal waste.
Shopping secondhand for clothes and other household items is a great way to find things at a cheaper price point and reduce the environmental impact of those products, since they will have a longer shelf life.
Look for appliances that do not use excess energy and water. This can lead to cost-savings as well, because the decreased usage leads to longer-lasting appliances and generally less maintenance.
Purified water filters really rack up savings in the long run, especially if you are using plastic water bottles, which are more expensive and very harmful to the environment.
What educational resources does Green Matters offer for readers?
Green Matters focuses on educating and informing readers by covering topics that can easily be applied to everyday life. The content is easily digestible on our website, email newsletter, and social channels. We do not view [the environment] as a political topic—it is something that affects us all. We understand that sustainable solutions are needed, but they must make sense for people to adopt them. We strive to build communities and start conversations around building a sustainable future. Check our our weekly Green Tip on Instagram and browse the website to learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle that suits you.