Today is April 22, also known as Earth Day! It is the day each year when special emphasis is placed on how we can take better care of our planet. Many of us will remember public service announcements about planting trees and the catchy phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Throughout my middle and high school years, I looked forward to Earth Day presentations and activities because I have always been fascinated with this beautiful place we have the privilege of calling “home” and how we can do a better job taking care of it.
That said, though Earth Day is the day to recognize the need for taking care of our environment, we should not be thinking about this important topic only once a year. There are many simple ways we can cherish this Earth on which we live. Here are just a few:
- Cut down on your electricity usage by turning off lights when not in use. Consider replacing bathroom, closet and switches in other areas that are often forgotten with motion-sensor switches.
- When possible, decorate your yard with plants/trees native to your area. These plants are accustom to the seasons, climate, weather, etc. where you live and may also require less water or less chemicals to flourish.
- Consider planting a bee and butterfly garden. Studies show that the populations of these very important pollinators are declining, and we need them to pollinate plants, including the foods we need to survive.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle! Many cities and towns are now offering recycling pick-up along with the weekly trash pick up or have recycling centers where you can drop your recycling off. Many apartment complexes now offer recycling bins as well. Not sure what you can recycle? Check out this list of items to get you started!
- When possible, use alternate transportation such as carpool, bike, walk, or public transit.
- Evaluate how much food waste you and/or your family generate and consider methods you can implement to decrease the amount of food you throw away. For food waste, consider giving still viable foods to animals/pets (only those that are not harmful to the animals) or start a compost pile to help nourish your yard and garden.
There are many more ways, often very simple things that will make our lives easier, to do our part in cherishing our home. We all must share this small planet called Earth, not only with one another but with all of God’s creatures. Contrary to many greedy opinions, we are not the owners of this earth. We cannot just do whatever we want with the land, animals, and natural resources. We are merely stewards, caretakers if you will, and we can either be bad, greedy stewards that destroy or we can be good, caring stewards that nurture and protect.