April 19, 2011
Surrounded by the natural beauty of Vermont, it is easy to remember that we are an integral part of our environment, and that each one of us shares responsibility for taking care of the land, forests, air, water, and wildlife.
Every year on April 22nd, Earth Day, we remind ourselves of the environmental challenges facing our planet. From cleaning up the waters of Lake Champlain, to the effect of climate change on our forests and wildlife, to the growing number of harmful chemicals in our environment we must rededicate ourselves to good environmental stewardship for this and future generations.
This Earth Day let’s commit ourselves to celebrating Earth Day every day. Here are ten simple ways you can help:
1. Waste not, want not. When we reduce what we use, reuse what we can and recycle the rest, we save money and save the planet! Turn off lights and unplug electronics to conserve electricity and save on your electric bill. Office workers in America use, on average, 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year! Think before you print – and save money and paper by using email.
2. Green up Vermont. Every spring when the snow melts we see litter that has accumulated on our roadsides and in our woods and rivers. Help keep Vermont beautiful by joining a cleanup team in your community on Green Up Day (May 7th). www.greenupvermont.org.
3. Buy local. Whether it is buying produce at a local farmer’s market, honey from a local beekeeper, furniture from a Vermont woodworker or bread from a local bakery, buying local helps preserve Vermont’s working landscape, supports a vibrant economy and reduces your carbon footprint.
4. Turn off your car. Idling your car affects Vermont’s air quality, contributes to increased incidents of asthma and also contributes to global warming. If Americans cut idling time in half we would prevent as much as 26 million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year! If you idle for more than 10 seconds you use more fuel than restarting your engine, so idling also wastes money and gas.
5. Kick your addiction to fossil fuels. Vermonters’ leading contributions to global warming (greenhouse gas emissions) come from the fossil fuels we use to heat our homes and businesses and to fuel our cars. Reduce your carbon footprint (and save gas money) by walking, taking a bus, riding a bike and carpooling. Heat your house using Vermont wood with a woodstove or pellet stove. Visit Efficiency Vermont to take advantage of energy saving incentives. www.efficiencyvermont.com.
6. Button up your house. Weatherize your house to save energy, save money and to stay warm. Go to a free do-it-yourself weatherization skillshop and learn what you can do to save energy in your home. http://www.weatherizationskillshop.com/diy
7. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it from your tap! Tap water is cleaner, cheaper and healthier than store-bought water. 1.5 million tons of plastic water bottles are thrown out every year. In Vermont we spend more than 10 million dollars every year to ensure that municipal tap water is clean and healthy.
8. Take a child to a state forest or park. Research shows that a person develops a love of the outdoors and a positive environmental ethic through childhood experiences in nature. We also know that when kids spend many hours every day sitting in front of a television or computer they have a greater risk of obesity, diabetes and depression. There are many great ways to have fun with kids outdoors in Vermont. Take the Vermont Venture Outdoor Challenge and earn a free season’s pass to Vermont State Parks, www.vtstateparks.com/htm/venturevt.htm, participate in a Becoming and Outdoor Family program www.uvm.edu/extension/family/?Pageoutdoorfamily.html and learn how to hunt, fish and camp, or take your canoe to one of Vermont’s many beautiful ponds or rivers.
9. Get involved. Make a difference in your community. Join your conservation commission, energy committee or planning commission. Become a master gardener or urban forester, or volunteer to teach environmental education in your local school.
10. Take time every day to appreciate Vermont’s natural beauty. We are lucky to live in Vermont. Get out and enjoy the mountains, rivers and forests, and celebrate Earth Day every day.
Source: Agency of Natural Resources
Last Updated at: April 19, 2011 07:54:22