Before we go into how to go green and save the world for Earth Day 2012, let’s start with a metaphor. Picture your favorite pair of Converse. You love them so much that you wear them all the time, and they’re probably worn in, scuffed, and may have had the laces replaced. You figure, “No biggie, I can get a new pair when they’re worn out.” Soon, you get less careful about what you step in, what you spill on them, and if your dog chews on ‘em.
Now imagine that no more Converse were being made ever, ever again, and you had already kind of messed up what would be your last pair. You’d try to fix them up and take extra good care of them, right?
For the sake of argument, Earth is that favorite pair of sneakers. For a while on this planet, we didn’t realize what we were stepping in–what we were doing. We built factories and produced awesome things like cars, but they polluted the air and started draining our energy and resources. We began to do all sorts of things, from driving to creating medicine to using hairspray. These things made our lives simpler but complicated them later in the form of air and water pollution and a heavy carbon footprint, which has started to lead to global climate change. Now that we’ve seen evidence of the damage we’ve caused–from polar bears losing their habitats from melting ice to lung damage from air pollution to loss of rainforests to oil spills–it’s more important ever to go green, because, unlike a classic pair of Chucks that can be replaced, we only have one planet to live on! It’s something we need to remember not just on Earth Day, but every day.
So how can you–yes, you, cute girl!–save the world? Reduce your waste! The more we all conserve, reuse, and recycle, the better off we’ll be in the long run.
And don’t worry, because it’s so easier than you think. You can start with your average shopping trip. Each year, we go through about 1 billion shopping bags–and that makes 300,000 tons of landfill waste!
Takeaway tip: Carry a cute reusable tote with you instead of using a new shopping bag each time! Not only are they adorable, but let’s face it–they’re a lot sturdier than the plastic bags that rip if you try putting a milk carton in. Another bonus? A lot of stores offer a discount for bags that you reuse!
Paper is another biggie. Did you know that the average American uses roughly one 100-foot-tall tree’s worth of paper and wood products every year? That’s a lot!
Takeaway tip: Yikes! You can cut down on that by continuing to read online magazines like Gurl instead of printed ones—and by using fewer napkins at the take-out spot. Yes, you’re messy, but not that messy!! And let’s be real, how often do you actually use all those extra napkins? Don’t forget to recycle your old magazines and newspapers, too–the more companies can reuse, the fewer trees need to be chopped down!
Your gadgets can also come in handy for saving energy. If we all recycled our old cell phones, we could save enough energy to power almost 19,000 homes for an entire year!
Takeaway tip: You know you’re never going to use that flip phone from seventh grade, so why are you holding on to it?! Recycle it and encourage your pals to do the same!
Another tip? Reuse and recycle your metal. If we all recycled all of our aluminum cans for a year, we could save enough energy to light Washington, D.C. for almost four years–an entire president’s term!
Takeaway tip: RECYCLE! It’s not that hard, and in certain states, you even get a little cash back for your cans. It’s a win-win-win, girl!
Now that you know how you can go green and save the world this Earth Day, you can put your knowledge to use to ease our worries about the planet for a while–that way we can think about other things, too. You know, like shoes.
Do you have tips for going green? How can you save the world? How are you celebrating Earth Day 2012? Share your wisdom in the comments!