What You Can Do for Earth Month
May 16, 2023
Summer, fall, winter, spring,
The seasons rotate as each brings
Its special beauty to this Earth of ours.
Winter’s snow and summer’s flowers;
Frozen rivers will flow come spring,
There is a renewal of everything.
–Edna Frohock (1906–97)
April is Earth Month and the 22nd was Earth Day! Taking care of our environment is a year-round commitment and should always be on our minds. While common citizens are not the only ones responsible for the Earth, our contributions certainly matter and can be impactful. For this year’s Earth Month and Day, here are some things you can do to celebrate the new spring and our planet:
1. Use Active Transportation
Instead of driving your car to school, work, or on errands, consider taking another route. Take the bus, ride a bike, skateboard, walk, or carpool! These are much more eco-friendly alternatives to driving and may even save money on gas. Some cities’ architecture does not make this easy, but every action counts.
2. Conserve Water
Did you know you can reuse the water from washing your produce? The next time you’re rinsing your groceries, collect the water with a bowl underneath. It can be repurposed and used to water houseplants, flowers, or any other things you may have growing around your home. If you like to eat rice, you can use the water from washing it on your hair as well. Rice water is used around the world and has been connected to increased hair volume, as well as making it stronger and shinier. And of course, whether you’re brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, make sure to turn off the water when it’s not needed.
3. Swap Out Kitchen and Household Products
Inventions like Saran Wrap and Ziploc bags seem to make life much more convenient. However, they are designed to be single-use and are thus detrimental to the environment, not to mention expensive over time. There are many alternatives that are both eco-friendly and cost-efficient. Beeswax wraps can be used as alternatives to Saran Wrap. They are cotton cloths soaked in beeswax and left to dry. The result is a malleable and water-proof wrap that can be used to cover bowls, cups, or groceries to prevent molding or browning. All it takes is warming the wrap in your hands for 30 seconds and rinsing with water when needed. Reusable bags have the same locking mechanism as their disposable counterparts. They are designed to be reused and do not harbor bacteria like an ordinary Ziploc bag would. Alternatives to Q-Tips, baby wipes, or cotton pads are silicone swabs and bamboo-fiber cloths. They are just as soft and can save you lots of money in the long run.
4. Buy Local
Farmers Markets will be opening again for the spring and summer, which is a great opportunity to support local businesses and to reduce your carbon footprint! Shopping local reduces the need to ship food from overseas, which means consuming significantly less fuel, as it eliminates the need for planes and ships. Local produce is typically healthier, fresher, and tastier too!
Photo provided by Lily Van Beek, Student Stories
5. Be Mindful of Your Waterways
Grease, baby wipes, paint, and solvents such as paint thinner should never go down the drain. These will clog your drain or damage pipes, as well as contaminate waterways, local streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Instead, let them dry if needed and dispose of them in the trash.
6. Plant Flowers and Native Plants
To help pollinators and decorate your home, you can plant flowers and other plants native to your area. It is important to know what you are planting, as invasive species can single-handedly destroy ecosystems. Plants that are beautiful as well as native to New Brunswick include blue-bead lilies, coltsfoot, and lilacs.
7. Spend Time Outside
Sometimes we forget how healing it is to be outside. Earth Day is not only about being conscious of how our actions affect the environment, but also admiring and appreciating our planet. Spend the day outdoors under a tree or in the sunlight. Meditate, read, have lunch, or just listen to the sounds around you. If you live in a city, try going for a walk when the streets are quieter and looking at the sky.
It is more important than ever to be conscious of how our actions affect the environment. Everything we do has an impact, no matter how small. If you do not have the privilege of affording new household products or of living in a walkable area, just the recognition of what Earth does for us can make a huge difference!
Author: Tina Liu, Student Stories
Tina Liu is a junior at Saint John High School, interested in writing about topics related to STEM and her local community.
Banner photo provided by Lily Van Beek, Student Stories
- Lisa Sinclair (not, et al. “Earth Day 2023: How to Celebrate Earth Day.” Almanac.com, https://www.almanac.com/content/earth-day-date-activities-history.
- Frohock, E. (1906). “Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring”. Almanac.com, https://www.almanac.com/content/earth-day-date-activities-history.
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