Friday, April 1, 2011

Celebrating Earth Day Doesn't Just Mean Planting Trees

Earth Day DisplayImage by Pesky Library via FlickrBy Jessica L Campbell

With Earth Day right around the corner, we need to be focusing on how to incorporate environmentally friendly tactics into our daily lives. Participating in Earth Day doesn't mean you have to go around planting trees or collecting bottles and cans in your neighborhood. If every single person does just a small part, that's enough to make a huge difference.

Earth Day, which is April 22nd, was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in the 1960's. According to Nelson's testimonial on, he wanted to find a way to bring environmental issues to the attention of the government. Nelson knew there was a large scale need to take action, but getting the public's concerns heard was near impossible.

Instead of forcing the issue, which would only fall upon deaf ears, he managed to use the anti-war movement to gain fuel for his campaign. Sure enough, the movement came together on its own, resulting in the celebration of Earth Day each year. The main purpose of this holiday is to bring attention to the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy environment.

As a part of the American workforce, you have the ability to actively participate in Earth Day. We rely on resources provided by our planet, and every day, we are rapidly depleting the Earth of these vital resources. This is why it is extremely important that we are giving back in any way possible. Even if doing so is on a small scale, every little bit of help is needed. There are effective ways to contribute without spending tons of time and money.

First of all, every little thing that is plugged in is constantly using energy. While it's not plausible to keep unplugging each thing after it is used, this can be done at the end of the workday. When you're leaving the office to head home, put your computer on hibernate mode and unplug it. Just unplugging your computer each evening can make a difference. Also, after making breakfast in the morning, unplug your toaster and coffeemaker. There is no need for a constant source of energy to be flowing to an appliance you only use for literally three minutes a day.

Bring your coffee, tea, water, etc. in reusable cups/containers. Instead of buying a coffee every day that comes in a Styrofoam cup (made from polystyrene foam, which is terrible for the environment and your health), make your coffee at home and bring it in a reusable container. Not only is this going to help the planet in a big way, but it's going to save you a ton of money! There's no excuse not to.

Another great way to participate is to bring reusable tote bags when you go grocery shopping instead of using the plastic bags that supermarkets provide. This eliminates the waste caused by plastic bags. Also, most companies that provide grocery tote bags have environmentally friendly options. These bags are made from non-woven or recycled materials.

In the office, ditch fancy pens, notebooks, etc. for eco-friendly supplies. They all provide the same function, so why not choose to spend your money on something that's helping the environment over something that's harming it. Even business cards can be printed on recycled paper. Using recycled and recyclable materials for business products also impresses your customers because they see that you value the planet you and your clients live on.

While Earth Day needs to be recognized year-round, most people tend to neglect being proactive on a daily basis. It's not as hard has one thinks to make a small difference. If you've been thinking, "I'd really like to do something for the environment but I don't know where to begin," what better day to start than Earth Day?

Get environmentally friendly tote bags for Earth Day!

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