Simple Acts to Save Our Planet (Adams Media, 2018) shows you how to be more active in saving our planet every day by performing some “Simple Acts of Kindness”— for the Earth.Treat the environment with kindness with these easy, manageable activities that range from simple home updates, to gardening basics, to supporting the local community. You’ll learn simple techniques to help protect the planet every day, like starting a compost pile to reduce food waste, utilizing travel mugs and reusable containers, and choosing eco-friendly products. By working to implement these simple strategies into your everyday life, you can take an active stand to protect the environment now— and make a real difference for the future.
- Trap and release spiders. The reaction when many of us see spiders that find their way into our homes during the colder months is to immediately kill them. However, spiders play an integral role in controlling the populations of other harmful insects. Humanely trap spiders between a glass or other container and a piece of paper and then safely place them outside. If you want to stop spiders from coming into your house try using a peppermint or citrus essential oil spray to deter them.
- Old forks can double as garden markers. Watching seeds grow in your garden is very rewarding, but sometimes it’s hard to tell which plant is which! You can write the names of the plants on old forks and stick them in the ground for easy marking and keep old cutlery out of the landfill at the same time.
- Make sure to avoid hard stops when driving. Quick starts and hard stops use excess gas. If you have to stop for a stop sign or a traffic light, take your foot off the accelerator and coast before putting your foot on the brake pedal.
- Don’t use a single-serve coffee machine. K-Cups may be a coffee lover’s dream, considering how fast and easy brewing a cup is, but the tiny plastic cups aren’t recyclable. Think about it: if you make one cup of coffee every single day using K-Cups, that’s 365 non-recyclable cups that will enter our landfills. Luckily, an eco-friendly alternative is just as simple: when using a French press, all you have to do is scoop the ground coffee, add some water, and press down on the lid to pour.
- Open car windows when driving at slow speeds, and use air-conditioning when on highways. This will help you get better gas mileage!
- Use a rain barrel in your yard. Rain barrels have increased in popularity over the years as clean water sources have become scarcer. In fact, some parts of the world are set to run out of fresh water in the next century, perhaps even the next decade, and over 2.1 billion people already lack access to clean drinking water. By placing a rain barrel in your yard to catch rainwater, you can use the water to wash your car, water your garden, or even do household chores like wash the dishes. When free water falls from the sky, you might as well use it!
- Join a local tool library. Many cities have what is known as a tool library, where you pay a yearly fee and are able to “borrow” tools, just as you would a book from the library. This is a great way to support your local community’s economy while reducing the number of tools you need to buy. Or simply start your own tool share by introducing yourself to your neighbor and offering to trade power equipment for your lawn care needs. You’ll be supporting a sustainable community right in your neighborhood, and you won’t have to buy a dozen power tools with heavy packaging when it’s possible to simply rent or borrow one when needed.
- Upcycle boxes. You can use old shoeboxes as storage containers for photos or crafts, and empty cereal boxes can easily be made into magazine holders. Try using old boxes to ship things, or add a little imagination for some fun with the kids (big boxes can be used to make forts!). When we get creative and reuse items, it puts less strain on the planet!
- Take a furniture-repair class. When a piece of furniture breaks or is torn, you’ll be able to salvage it instead of immediately taking it to the dump. Learning how to repair upholstery and wood could add years to the life of your furniture, and you can help extend the life of your friends’ and family’s furniture too!
- Protest offshore drilling. Offshore drilling is typically done to extract petroleum, which is in rock formations beneath the seabed. Burning fossil fuels like petroleum contributes to carbon pollution and therefore climate change. Carbon pollution will also settle into the oceans, making waters more acidic and causing damage to coral reefs as well as shellfish and other marine animals. Offshore drilling must be replaced with clean, renewable energy if we want to maintain healthy oceans.
Talk to local farmers. Engage with your local farmers and ask how they grow their crops. It’s easy to walk into a grocery store and not have any connection to the food you’re buying, but by talking to local farmers, you’ll get involved in the process and know exactly where your food comes from!
Excerpted from Simple Acts to Save Our Planet: 500 Ways to Make a Difference by Michelle Neff Copyright © 2018 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.