April 22nd: Earth Day Celebration
Every April 22nd, since 1970, we celebrate Earth Day-the biggest civic observance in the world. Each year poses it’s own theme with the main goal to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
This 2018’s theme is “End Plastic Pollution” and it couldn’t be addressed fast enough.
Why is this year’s theme important?
It is estimated that 50% of the plastic we acquire is destined to single-use, which leads to about 8 million tons of plastic pollution a year in our oceans. At this rate, by the year 2050, they’ll be more plastic than fish in the sea.
On average, a plastic bottle or a single straw can take about 400-500 years to break down; some plastic can even take up some 1,000 years. Since plastic never fully disintegrates (it just breaks into tiny pieces) it adds up quickly and roughly to 46,000 pieces per square mile or 322 million tons which equals 900 Empire State Buildings!
Though plastic has many benefits and it is very convenient for its producers and consumers, it is ultimately not good for the environment and for our health.
Negative side effects of plastic
Plastic such those containing BPA (Bisphenol-A), an estrogen-imitating chemical, has been known to disrupt human hormonal functions and has been detected in 93% of Americans over the age of 6. This chemical seeps into food or drinks from plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, storage containers, etc. leading to developmental issues in children and fetuses.
Not only is our health affected by consumption of things such as plastic, but according to the U.S., Environmental Protection Agency or EPA (an agency created as a result of Earth Day) states there is a direct correlation between the environment and our well being.
No surprise there since things such as smog or bad air quality can lead to respiratory or heart disease, for example. Also, agricultural pollution in any way, shape or form, can threaten our very sustenance. Luckily, along with creating this agency, the passing of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were passed which have helped in regulating and enforce standards.
On Earth Day we should make a conscious effort to at least educate ourselves and others about how our bodies and minds are deeply affected by the quality of our surroundings. We have an interdependent relationship with Earth and we must try to appreciate it by giving back and preserving our natural resources.
Easy Earth Mindful actions
Here are a few ways to be mindful and join 193 countries in celebrating Mother Earth:
1. Hike, Walk, Swim, Row, Bike: Lower gas emissions while enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.
Go Earthing to center and ground yourself!
2. Repurpose: Make a bird feeder or a watering can out of a milk carton. Maybe even make a plant pot from a can. There are many ideas online for kids and adults.
3. Go Green: Plant seeds, flowers or trees, maybe even make a cute terrarium. Any plants or flowers that cater to butterflies, bees or birds are a plus!
4. Unplug: Try unplugging any device or appliance that does not require frequent use; it helps the Earth and your wallet.
5. Don’t run it: Dishwashers use up tons of water; try washing them by hand for one day or as frequently as possible. Also, running just cold water when you shower occasionally is of great help too.
6. Lose 41 Pounds: Snail-mail per adult per year can add up to about 41 pounds of trash; most of which ends up in landfills; unopened. Many trees, about 100 million a year, are used for this.
7. Local Goodies: Purchasing local produce or goodies is a win in many ways. You will be consuming healthier and fresher products as well as contributing to lower carbon emissions from transporting non-local goods.
8. Go Long-Term: Choose to buy a reusable item such a reusable bottle, coffee mug, sandwich bag, lunch tote, shopping bags, etc. Bamboo toothbrushes are a wonderful new option to reducing waste from plastic ones.
9. Give: Either with your time, talents or money is needed. There’s a wonderful way to get involved through Acts of Green at Earthday.org/take-action
10. Host an event: by organizing a neighborhood clean-up or planting event though there’s usually an event in many towns and cities.
12. Know your Stuff: Read, learn and teach about our environmental impact. Watch a documentary, study composting, visit a recycling plant, etc.
Just remember, Mother Earth doesn’t take a day off, so every day should be thought of as Earth Day. For more information, visit earthday.org