In the face of climate change, we need to make changes. With these 9 practical tips for Earth Day, you can start today.
In the news, on social media, talking with our loved ones— climate change is on everyone’s lips, and rightly so. The repercussions are felt all around the world in different ways, and it is truly everyone’s business how the health of our planet fares.
This Earth Day, April 22, 2022, you can start with our 9 simple tips to take action against climate change. We all know that our individual choices will not revolutionize the greater systems that contribute to climate change, but our actions and collective impact still matter.
1. Reduce your water consumption
Water is life and is an essential element of our well-being. The average person in the USA uses 156 gallons of water per day1 (that’s about three bathtubs full!)
The amount of water we consume certainly plays a role in global warming, but the energy used for heating water is also a factor. About 20% of the total energy consumed by the average household is used to heat water2.
So here’s what you can do at home:
- Install a faucet aerator on your faucet to reduce its water output by up to 50%
- Choose water- and energy-efficient appliances
- Wash your fruits and vegetables in a bowl instead of under running water
- Use an energy-efficient dishwasher on a quick or eco setting and allow the dishes to air dry vs. steam dry.
- If washing by hand: Soak dishes first, then wash glasses in cold water, and finally greasy dishes in hot water
- Collect water for your plants while waiting for the water to get hot
2. Reduce your electricity consumption
Computers, lights, household appliances— it’s difficult to imagine a life without electricity. Even if consumption has stabilized since 2010 thanks to evolution of energy-efficient technologies, American households still consume an average of 10,715 kWh per year². That’s the electricity you’d need to drive 30,968 miles in an electric car (with an average consumption of .346 kWh/mile). And to put that into perspective – that’s enough to drive around the circumference of the earth, with wiggle room for detours.
- Use an electric kettle to heat water and heat only the amount needed
- Choose a green electricity supplier
- Choose energy efficient appliances and light bulbs
- Wash your clothes as cold as possible and avoid using your dryer, which is probably your most energy-guzzling appliance
- Do not leave your appliances in standby mode. Turn them off when you are not using them.
- Put a lid on your pots and pans to heat your food faster
3. Avoid plastic in all its forms
Light, strong and affordable, the advantages of plastic also have a big impact on the environment and biodiversity. Every year, several million tons of plastic end up in nature3. Whether visible or microscopic, plastic is a threat to all life.
- Buy in bulk
- Choose glass bottles over plastic
- Avoid plastic packaging, bags and disposable objects
- Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping
- Use stainless steel water bottles and travel mugs for your excursions and walks
- Store your food in reusable boxes
4. Reduce your meat consumption
Meat consumption is increasing all over the world. But raising animals, producing and processing food for livestock produces a lot of greenhouse gases and requires a lot of water. In figures, it takes 460 gallons of water to produce 1 hamburger patty—more than the 369 gallons required for whole 2.2 lbs of rice. Nearly 40% of the grain produced in the world is used to feed livestock4.
What can you do?
- Reduce your meat consumption significantly
- Opt for organic meat, which is more respectful of the environment, or chicken and other birds, whose water footprint is significantly less than beef or pork.
5. Use an eco-friendly means of transportation
Whether for shopping, commuting or in bad weather, cars are convenient. Unfortunately, the personal car is responsible for nearly 60% of total CO² emissions from road transport in America. 5
- Use public transport, bike or walk if the distance allows it
- Carpool as much as possible to reduce your carbon footprint
6. Save the bugs!
Between monoculture, pesticides, and global warming, each year between 1 and 2% of insects disappear from our planet6. Our insect cohabitants need our help to find food and survive, especially bees, who are so important for pollination.
How can you help?
- Plant flowers and herbs that attract and support native insects
- Build an insect hotel so that they can spend the winter safely
- Leave a small wild corner with wild plants in your garden, or rewild your whole yard
7. Consume differently
The latest tech, fashion, online shopping, the temptations are simply endless. We buy as fast as we throw away. We buy things we don’t use. According to GreenPeace, 68% of the average wardrobe, for example, hasn’t been worn in the last 12 months7. So:
- Take care of your appliances and clothes to extend their life
- Buy second-hand and have things repaired before replacing them (even your shoes!)
- Buy only as a last resort and only what you need
- Borrow or rent instead of buying
- Buy regional and seasonal products and support the local economy
- Buy organic products
8. Stream less
Netflix and chill? Especially since the pandemic, the popularity of streaming platforms has skyrocketed. But did you know that in addition to consuming electricity, streaming videos online actually emits CO²? We emit about 2oz of CO² per hour of streaming. Watching the top 10 movies on the Netflix platform for the first 28 days after each release would account for 6 billion hours, or 3.3 million tons of CO². So:
- Reduce your consumption of series and movies
- Lower the resolution
- Use streaming platforms’ download option
9. Spread the word
Changing our habits is not an easy thing. Even though many people are well aware of the climate crisis and its impact on all forms of life, many struggle to act. Perhaps because they don’t know how? So, when you learn something new, be sure to:
- Spread the word: every action counts
- Share tips and solutions
Looking for inspiration to create powerful designs for Earth Day? Explore here!
How are you living green? Share your tips in the comments.