Transforming your home into an eco-friendly paradise for Earth Day 2018
In 1970, a Wisconsin Senator by the name of Gaylord Nelson proclaimed April 22 to be “Earth Day.” Nelson had made a name for himself in Congress as a devoted conservationist, and he hoped that students at schools and universities across the country would spend Earth day learning about environmental issues, and citizens would advocate for environmental policy reform. Nelson’s pet project didn’t turn out too badly. The first year, twenty million Americans participated in peaceful protests, and within months, President Nixon signed off on the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. In the ensuing 48 years, Earth Day has become the largest secular holiday on the planet, celebrated by a billion people in 193 countries.
With a billion of us planting gardens, attending picnics, and participating in demonstrations to honor Earth Day, there’s a good chance that some of that awareness will manifest as new green habits. Putting on a sweater instead of cranking the heat. Drying clothes on the line instead of using a machine. Taking public transportation instead of driving. Adding composting to your recycling regime.
We may not all agree on which environmental issues are the most pressing, or which solutions are the most effective, but it’s an ongoing dialogue and the most important thing is to keep the conversation going. And if we all take regular action, making small changes in our daily habits, then the overall global impact would be immense.
1. A Greener Clean For Your Bathroom
As revolting as toilet germs may be, the impulse to wash them away with toxic chemicals causes more problems than it solves. Not only are the bleach and hydrochloric acid contained in many toilet bowl cleaners harmful to the soil and water supply, but they aren’t exactly beneficial to the individual who is doing the cleaning either. Green Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner is made with a coconut-based cleaning agent, plus essential oils and other natural ingredients. It’s biodegradable, potent against germs, and smells great too. $9.73, amazon.com
2. A Greener Clean For Your Kitchen
When environmentally-friendly dish soaps first came onto the market, they weren’t very good at removing dried-on food stains. Then an Iowa homemaker and mother of nine named Thelma Meyer inspired her daughter to create a line of natural cleaning products that really worked. The ensuing formula, known as Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day detergents, contain no chlorine bleach, ammonia, petroleum distillates, parabens or phosphates, but works as well as old-school toxic stuff. $8.71, amazon.com
3. A Greener Clean for Your Laundry
The chemicals we use to launder our clothes have become some of the most significant household pollutants impacting our fresh water supply and our health. Hormone disruption, respiratory issues and kidney disease have all been attributed to toxic ingredients found in clothes detergents. The Biokleen family of products includes laundry soap, stain remover and a non-chlorine bleach which are all as effective as they are nontoxic. $26.99, amazon.com
4. Give Meatless Mondays A Try
I am a firm believer that bacon is a sanctified foodstuff, and I would be loath to endure a future without it. On the other hand, I have been cutting down on my consumption of meat lately because I’ve realized: 1. Vegetables don’t taste too bad! 2. Vegetables, nuts and legumes are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. 3. Animal Agriculture is responsible for more than half of the global emissions of greenhouse gases. Yikes.
Singer Paul McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella launched Meatless Mondays in England in 2009 to bring to light the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet. The Meat Free Monday Cookbook contains a whole year full of delicious menus.
Mark Bittman’s vegetarian version of his cookbook classic “How to Cook Everything,” has so many options for plant-based meals, you may forget why meat was so appealing in the first place.
One of the main concerns that omnivores have in reference to going vegetarian is whether plant-based diets include a sufficient daily intake of protein. This book by Katie Parker seeks to answer that question with a resounding “Yes!”
5. Recycling Is a Snap With the Right Bin
In many cities in America, recycling is the law, and a violation of municipal waste regulations could result in a hefty fine. This three-section garbage pail makes lawful waste disposal a breeze, and its stainless steel design is easy on the eyes. $68.52, amazon.com
6. Composting Without the Sink
Composting involves collecting plant-based food waste and placing it back into the soil. It is a cost-effective way to replace minerals and nutrients that have been lost over time. But the environmental benefits come at somewhat of a cost: Composting stinks! And it is a great way to attract flies. Thank goodness the folks at Abakoo have it all figured out. Their compost bin is lined with charcoal filters to absorb odors and keep the flies away. $25.99, amazon.com
Happy Earth Day!
Visit earthday.org to learn more about how to get involved.