As global weather events continue to shine a light on the impact of climate change, designations such as Earth Day take on greater importance. “Invest in Our Planet” is the theme for this year which is observed on Friday, April 22. The day is meant to remind us to appreciate Earth’s precious resources, and raise awareness for the need to care and protect our environment.
We’ve made some progress in recent years with sustainable resources like solar and wind energy, eco-friendly construction and building materials, crop rotation on farms and advances in transportation with fueling resources and availability of hybrid cars. Terms like going green, sustainability, climate change, global warming, and reducing your carbon footprint are a growing part of the vernacular and more people are consideration how they can make a difference.
There are many ways individuals can make an impact in their local community and environment. Here are several recommendations:
- Buy food locally or direct from the farm or farmer’s market
- Plant a garden
- Avoid single use plastics (bags, containers and water bottles) and use reusable water bottles and washable food storage containers
- Prevent food waste – go to the grocery store with a list and buy only what you will use to avoid spoilage
- Compost food scraps
- Recycle cardboard and paper products, as well as glass or plastic containers
- Conserve water – take showers instead of a bath, turn off the faucet when brushing teeth, shaving, or washing your face
- Collect rainwater for watering plants, flowers, or garden
- Organize a community clean-up
- Reduce paper waste by switching to online billing, banking and record keeping
- Conserve electricity by shutting off lights when not needed
- Choose organic products when possible, to reduce toxic pesticides
- Donate clothing/wearable items to charity or join a local gift giving economy such as the Buy Nothing Project
- Purchase sustainable clothing brands
- Get outside – find time for play and to enjoy nature
- Plant a tree
- Plan a ride share or better yet, walk or bike instead of driving
- Purchase energy efficient appliances and vehicles
At Vitality, we not only care about the health and wellness of our employees and members, we also care about the well-being of the environment and have a few green initiatives of our own:
- Educate and offer ways to recycle in the office
- Composting from the kitchen (once we’re back in the office)
- Replaced disposable kitchen items (utensils, cups, paper towels, plates, bowls) with more sustainable options
Just as importantly as the activities noted above, we can also drive sustainable change by “voting” with both our constitutional right and our wallets. Reach out to local and nationally elected officials to express concerns and support policy changes. Also be thoughtful about the purchases you make, and organizations you support.
On this Earth Day, we can all learn some valuable life lessons from a tree: Remain grounded, plant strong roots, stand tall and proud, reach for the sky, bend before you break, turn over a new leaf, and enjoy your beauty!
Janine is an Implementation Manager with Vitality. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science/Sport Management from Rutgers University, as well as many certifications within the fitness and nutrition industry. She loves being a spectator at her daughters’ athletic events, participating in water sport activities with her family, writing on sticky notes, over-consuming almond butter, and taking hot yoga classes. For relaxation, she enjoys baking, taking naps in hammocks, and listening to podcasts.