Welcome to spring and the marvelous month of April. Earth Day is on April 22, and Arbor Day is on April 30. What can we all do to make April special? Small actions by many can make a big difference. So how can we all make a daily difference? Whether you have meatless days, pick up litter, leave your car at home, plant for butterflies or go plastic-free, make everyday Earth special.
Everyday Is Earth Day
By Kelly Roper
Every day is earth day, Or at least it should be. We should take steps every day to save our planet, don’t you agree?
Try walking when it’s practical, And skip driving a car. It will help cut down emissions And raise air quality by far.
Reuse, renew, recycle, Think of how much you throw away. Our earth can only hold so much trash, One day there’ll be the devil to pay.
And when it comes to littering, It’s not enough to clean up after yourself. Leave places better than you find them, And pick up litter left by someone else.
Don’t spray your garden with pesticides, Protect the birds and the bees. Choose natural ways of deterring pests, That won’t carry poisons in the breeze.
These are easy things we all can do, To protect the earth for future generations. If we continue to ignore all the warning signs, We’ll face sad and irreversible ramifications.
May March sunshine on your shoulders make you happy!
Happy March! Be kind to the Earth, be kind to yourself, and be kind to others! The Actions for Happiness calendar ( below) has many good suggestions to be more mindful and spread kindness.
March brings me joy. The longer days and the hope of spring are motivators to get outside and notice the changes, even if it is just melting snow. Everyday the outdoor world is waiting to be explored, your own neighborhood is perfect. Even 5 minutes of mindful observation will lighten your mood. Breathe, smell the earth, let the sun, rain and snow tickle your face, touch the wind, talk to the trees, hear the sunrise/night fall, smile and be kind.
This March pay attention to how you can reduce your carbon footprint: Can you reduce idling your car or drive less? Can you eat less meat and waste less food? How can you reduce the waste and plastic you generate? Can you buy less things and be a smarter consumer? Just doing a little bit can make a positive difference. Thank you and good luck!
Covid-19 has been a plastic disaster. As we climb out of this abyss we must take single-use plastic seriously. We also need to hold companies accountable for bad packaging.
Why as taxpayers and citizens are we paying the price of this environmental disaster of plastic while the creators of this packaging have no responsibility? The landfills in the county where I live are full, and plastic trash can last for hundreds of years, maybe forever! What are the manufacturers of this plastic thinking other than profit? As consumers we are also at fault. If we keep buying this plastic packaging they will keep making it!
How can we all reduce our landfill trash? Surveying my garbage I find I have way too much plastic that cannot be recycled, and most of it is # 7 plastic that cannot be recycled. Why would companies use plastic that can’t be recycled? I decided to ask them. I sent an emails or telephoned Wyman’s Blueberries, Bob’s Red Mill, Morning Star and Gardein. A few companies admitted they wished their packaging was better, but it was a freshness and a cost issue to stay competitive. What about the costs to the environment and our health?
#7 plastic is a mixture of different plastics and it is designed to make it hard to know what it contains. It can contain harmful chemicals like BPA. Don’t purchase it, and don’t purchase any plastic that can’t be recycled!
Model a new way forward: “When we use disposable items, we send a message: this is what we want, keep it up, make more of this. When we refuse, and choose reusable, we model another way forward. Our choices can make a difference. Let’s make them count!” PlasticfreeTuesday
Also choose reusable masks and gloves!
Bob’s Red Mill was the most disappointing of the companies I contacted. They sell lots of products, many that are hard to find, and have a monopoly on some products. Bob’s has a trusted reputation of being healthy and sustainable. I am sad they use awful # 7 packaging, and at our house we won’t purchase their products or any #7 plastic until their packaging improves.
The good news is that by being a smarter shopper it is possible to find items that are packaged in recyclable #4 plastic. These #4 bags need to be dropped off at grocery stores for store recycling. They should not be placed with your normal plastic recycling because they disable the sorting machines.
Lets hold plastic producers accountable and avoid harmful plastic. It is always best to reuse bags and containers when possible, but sadly that often is not an option. However, with new awareness we can do better, one plastic item at a time.
“Consumption is a big challenge for us as humans–we need, we want lots of things…The vast majority of products end up in landfills, and over 60 % of fabric fibers are synthetics derived from fossils fuels so they don’t decay.” Designer Christian Siriano
SO, How can we become better consumers? We have incredible power with our consumer dollars. How can we use that power wisely? Why would you reinforce corporate greed with your purchases? Everyone wants to save money, but you are not saving money when you purchase lots of cheap things that will end up in the land fill next year!
Lots of environmental repair is needed, and I hope you will join me to help in 2021 and resolve to be a better consumer. Look at your habits and just make one change. See reading list below.
One of the most important forms of power we have is our ability to decide where and how we spend our money. When you pump LESS gas, and purchase less meat you’re saying something. When you contact businesses about their extreme plastic packaging, you’re doing something. When you shop local, support local farms and climate-smart brands, you’re making a difference by revealing a growing market for whom business as usual will not cut it. At our house we only make purchases at places that pay a minimum wage. If we can use our dollars to shop for quality, support local, green, and homegrown businesses. We can keep dollars in our own communities and make a statement. Buying less makes a statement too.
The thought of having plastic microfibers in the food I consume stirs me to reduce my plastic consumption and motivates me to become aware of my plastic and other unsustainable purchases.
Where can you start? First work to stop purchasing single-use plastic. Shop with your reusable bags, use a reusable water bottle, refuse straws/plastic utensils, and find an alternative to baggies. Maybe stop using sauce packets. Become aware of all the packaging that can’t be recycled.
Start working on one thing and go from there. You will not be perfect, but you can make a difference! Maybe you can start with an alternative to dryer sheets and hand wipes. I just discovered somethings I purchased during the pandemic are in #7 plastic(not recyclable). I’m contacting these companies, and ending my #7 plastic purchases! Education and awareness make such a difference. I hope the reading list below will heighten your awareness also!
Say no to fast fashion and purchase items that will last a long time
“Victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance” Diwali celebration
These are challenging times as Covid-19 continues to harm our communities and families. To make things worse we are living in a time of misinformation and darkness. Many refuse to accept the truth. As the American election takes place it is my wish we move out of the darkness of lies and fear into a new beginning of hope, science, understanding and truth.
It is a hard when we have an American president that doesn’t see reality and truth. Somehow, and it will be hard, we must accept the results of the election with non-violence and hope for a better world. Every vote must be counted, our democracy depends on it, and then we must accept the results. Important November days to celebrate and look forward to with hope:
November 1, World Vegan Day
November 3, American Election Day
November 10, World Science Day for Peace and Development
November 11, Veterans Day
November 13, World Kindness Day
November 14 Diwali “Victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.
November 15, America Recycles Day, make it a day to reuse and reduce
November 26, Day of gratitude, Thanksgiving Day
Below the Actions for Happiness people have a calendar for New November with many good suggestions to try something new:
The last 3 months have been a real setback to plastic-free living, but now some of the confusion settling down, and we can start to renew commitments to reduce plastic. 2020 which should have been a success story for plastic reduction became a total disaster with all the medical waste, and businesses sliding backward on their commitment to reduce and recycle plastic bags. I was in shock when stores wouldn’t let me use my reusable bags or let me refill my containers, but there is no evidence reusables cause Covid, but be sure to wash them!
Even with Covid cases soaring, we know more, and have learned better ways to be safe. It took about a month of trying different store policies until we were able to come down just right with grocery stores where we felt safe, and had store policies I could tolerate. We all know everyone should wear masks, wash hands and respect everyone’s space.
I am still able to fill my containers, but not in the quantities I could before the pandemic. By using refillable containers over the years I have kept from using thousands of plastic items. I feel good about that,7 and will someday be back to serious plastic-free living. Plastic is poisoning us. It is in our water, air, and in our food, and it is important to reduce the harm we do to ourselves, wildlife and the Earth.
Reuse as much as possible and avoid using single-use plastic products. Recycling plastic has become questionable in many communities. therefore refuse and reusing plastics are the best practices to work towards. It could be much easier if manufacturers would do their part in cutting down on plastic! Below are the principles I never had to abandon, so far, during the pandemic, and I hope they are suggestions to help you reduce your plastic footprint also:
Never purchase products in Styrofoam. If you purchase meat, use the fresh meat counter. Also, avoid black plastic, which like Styrofoam is hard to recycle.
Cook your own meals instead of using take-out. Challenge yourself to make meals from products that came in paper, metal or bulk, and without plastic packaging.
Always travel with a reusable filled water bottles.
Never use baggies. Put sandwiches and leftovers in reusable containers.
Choose glass bottles instead of plastic.
Never use single-use masks or gloves. Reuse!
There is no evidence Covid-19 is spread by reusable bags, shop stores that let you use reusable bags and work to reduce plastic.
Survey your trash. Is it full of plastic? What can you change?
Sadly all the shopping restrictions have made plastic-free shopping more difficult. Even my food coop won’t allow me to fill my own containers, but as we shop we can still work to purchase items with a minimum of packaging and strive for less waste. Hopefully, in a few months things can safely start to get back to normal.
Spending the day at home makes it easy to be plastic-free. Always use real dishes, utensils and glasses/cups. Read about my plastic-free day here.
Make Tuesday the day to use up food left-overs from the week. Create wraps, soups or a stew from your left overs. Before the Coronavirus 40% of food was wasted in the United States. With so many hanging out at home I suspect that number is now lower. Let’s save water, labor and energy, and continue to reduce our food waste.
“Learn strategies to reduce food waste at Save the Food, (www.savethefood.com) and commit to taking action. Some ideas: improve your meal planning and stick to your grocery list, store food to make it last, reorganize and inventory your refrigerator or pantry, and keep track of perishable items and use them up before they spoil.” Hennepin County
Join me for a plastic-free day. Reducing single-use plastic consumption is an important way we can make a positive difference for our earth. Start with one plastic-free day a week to change the way we live our lives. Join me for a plastic-free day
With a little planning and organization the night before you can have a plastic free day.
First pack your lunch in a reusable plastic-free container, and bring your reusable cup and utensils.
Next bring your reusable shopping bags to shop for dinner. Making a sheet pan dinner is easier than take-out. Here is a list of sheet pan dinners to last you almost a month. Purchase produce items without plastic wrap and plastic bags. Choose a new grocery store if yours doesn’t offer bulk produce of carrots, onions, potatoes, apples and broccoli. For a protein source visit the meat counter to avoid plastic wrap and Styrofoam trays. Eggs can be purchased plastic-free. Here is a sheet pan dinner using a can of garbanzo beans, and vegetarian sheet pan dinners here.
Why is it important we avoid plastic? Just a 9% of the single-use plastic in the United States is recycled. Plastic breaks into tiny particles, and is eaten by fish, turtles and other marine life. Plastic is made to last, and will stay on Earth hundred of years and maybe forever. I can’t imagine the future of our Earth if we don’t contain this harmful monster.