Happy Earth Day! Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of the environmental movement in 1970. Since its fruition, we have seen great progress in climate action, science and education, and environmental legislation. Despite these advancements, there is still work to be done. At Herrera, we strive to build a more sustainable environment through education, action, and connection. Here are ways you can make every day Earth Day to become a more responsible steward of our planet.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reducing waste and reusing items remain the most effective ways to protect the environment. Staying mindful of the raw materials needed to produce items such as clothing, food, packaging, toiletries, appliances, etc. may help you make more sustainable decisions as a consumer. Ways to reduce waste include buying used products (clothes, appliances, furniture), purchasing reusable containers, opting for products that use less packaging, composting wasted food, and making repairs on products instead of throwing them out. Donating items also prevents usable goods from ending up in landfills, while helping those in need.
In addition to reducing consumption and reusing items, following steps to recycle products after use can reduce waste sent to landfills and incinerators. Recycling also prevents pollution, conserves natural resources, and saves energy. Currently, Herrera’s team participates in recycling programs through Ridwell and Terracycle to sustainably manage waste. Check out these programs to see how you can get involved!
Conserve Energy and Water
Adopting green practices to conserve energy and water not only saves you money on utilities but saves the planet. In the United States, the average per capita water use is 170 gallons of water per day while total U.S. energy consumption per person reached approximately 305 million British thermal units (Btu) per year. Though the U.S. makes up 5% of the world’s population, it consumes 24% of the world’s energy. Thankfully, there are several simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your impact on the environment.
For a more energy-efficient home, consider switching out traditional lightbulbs for LED bulbs, investing in energy-efficient appliances, installing solar panels, unplugging electronics when they are not in use, and turning lights off when you leave a room. To save water, small changes such as turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, only running the dishwasher or washing machine when full, and taking shorter showers can help you live more sustainably.
Transportation contributes a large amount of pollution to our environment. The EPA estimates that the typical passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of CO2 into the air per year. To reduce your carbon footprint, consider walking or biking whenever possible. For trips that require a vehicle, carpooling with others can reduce the number of cars on the road, further preventing the emission of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Investing in a hybrid or electric vehicle may also help cut your emissions while saving you money on gas.
Get Involved In Your Community
Taking advantage of local environmental volunteer opportunities is a great way to give back to the community. There are many programs available for picking up litter, assisting with beach and forest conservation work, and protecting local species. For those interested in actively promoting environmental policy changes, joining an advocacy group allows you to educate your community on issues related to climate change and legislative solutions. Regardless of how you choose to get involved, even the smallest actions can make a big difference in protecting our environment.