It’s one of my favorite days of the year – Earth Day! I grew up with a dad who was very focused on green living long before it was popular, and as a result this is a topic I am very passionate about. We recently returned from a spring break trip to Seattle and other areas of Washington state (more about this later), and it made me fall in love with Mother Nature all over again. Being where you can see the mountains, ocean, and amazing forests all in one place was completely awe inspiring.

Every year around Earth Day, I take some time to reflect on the things we are already doing that help the environment and also consider where there is room for improvement (there is always room for improvement!)  Last year we drastically reduced our use of disposable paper towels and napkins by purchasing reusable versions. We used to go through a lot of paper towels but no longer! I’m very proud of the changes we have made.

This year my goal is to buy much more of our produce as possible from farmers markets. Even though I adore the market, in the past this hasn’t always been feasible for me due to a variety of factors (primarily my busy schedule), but at this point in time I have a little bit more flexibility to make this happen.  As with so many things, I think just making the initial adjustment will go a long way toward making this into a habit that sticks.  I’m also trying to look at where we could conserve in a more general sense, and make do with what we already have.  I need to ponder this more often than I do.

Updated: I just remembered one other thing I have been working on the past few months. We get a ridiculous number of catalogs in the mail that we never signed up for.  We used to immediately recycle them, but it’s still a waste of paper nonetheless.  Lately I have been making a habit of saving them up, then going to each company’s website and filling out the form to end or drastically reduce their catalog mailings. It takes some time, but I’m hoping it helps cut down on waste a bit.

Sometimes the enormity of caring for our world can seem overwhelming.  It helps to realize that there are many small changes we can make in our day to day lives. Even one person making a change will have an impact, but just imagine if we all committed to a greener lifestyle what an amazing result it could have.  Our eating habits and home kitchens are one of the places where we have the potential to create a lot of waste, and therefore have a lot of room for making an impact by conserving resources.

Some things you can do: 

  • Use reusable grocery bags (and don’t forget reusable produce bags as well!)  No need for plastic. For all those who own reusable bags but forget to bring them to the store, put them back into your car IMMEDIATELY after you unpack the groceries.  Then you’ll never be without them.
  • Recycle as much as possible.
  • Buy local, eat local.  Supporting local farms and food providers benefits you, them, and the entire local economy. (Check this site to find farmers markets near you!)
  • Cook at home instead of going out to eat. So many benefits I can’t begin to list them here!
  • On a related note, bring your lunch to school or work instead of buying food.  It wastes less packaging, tastes better, and is usually healthier. (My Let’s Do Lunch series was created for this purpose.)
  • Give up paper towels, napkins, and disposable dishes or utensils.  Stock up on reusable alternatives – they’ll last you a long time and save money in the long run.
  • Don’t use plastic water bottles.  Buy a reusable bottle and refill it instead.  (And don’t drink other things that come in plastic bottles such as soda or juice – they aren’t good for you anyway.)
  • Start a garden and grow your own food.  So fun and rewarding!
  • Can and preserve your own foods so you can buy less processed food and its associated packaging.
  • Give up your daily coffee shop trips and brew your own treats at home. (Here are a few things I make at home to avoid the coffee shop.)
  • Make your own yogurt and fruit mix-ins to avoid the waste of all those individual yogurt containers.
  • If you have kids, set the example and teach them all of these behaviors. Teach them to love and care for this earth because they will inherit it from us. 

My other favorite thing about Earth Day here on the blog is getting the opportunity to share some of my favorite items and resources that have helped me live a greener lifestyle.  Check out the many giveaway opportunities below:
All US Residents: 

Indy residents only:

What are you doing to celebrate this wonderful Earth today?