Happy Earth Day 2023!
This April 22nd is the 53rd anniversary of Earth Day, a day to come together and take action for a greener, cleaner planet.
This is a list of things you can do this weekend, or any other day, to take part. While there could be literally hundreds of things you can do to help the Earth, we’ve boiled it down to 10 picks for this year… things for the health of the planet and you. We invite you to share your own top 10 in the comments below. (Some of the links to stores are affiliate links, which help raise funds for our nonprofit work. Those links will be noted.)
Visit your local farmers market and buy your fruits, vegetables and other foods from local organic farmers. Or join an organic CSA (consumer supported agriculture). Organic farming lessens the synthetic inputs that pollute the environment and is better for your health. And buying from local farmers keeps that money in your community, benefitting your local economy far more than money going to some giant corporation out of your state.
Grow your own food. If you have outdoor space, or a window with adequate sunlight, the benefits of growing your own food are numerous: The food you produce is cheaper in the long run and you’ll know for sure where your food comes from and that it was produced organically. Plus, don’t forget you’re avoiding the environmental impact of transporting food from state to state. Those three reasons are enough for us! Even growing an herb or two on your window sill or balcony is something to be proud of! Need gardening supplies or seeds? Here are some companies that we know and trust:
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company is one of our all-time favorites. They quite possibly have the largest collection of heirloom seeds in the country.
- High Mowing Organic Seeds (affiliate) has certified organic and Non-GMO Project verified seeds and gardening supplies.
- True Leaf Market (affiliate) has a range of organic seeds and growing supplies.
Plant a tree. Again, if you have sufficient outdoor space, consider planting a tree. We suggest planting a fruit tree, which will provide environmental benefits, plus food to eat. When the fruit tree matures, you’ll probably produce enough to share with your neighbors. But before choosing a tree, make sure it can survive in your planting zone and that it is not considered an invasive species for your geography. Any online or brick and mortar nursery should be able to give you this information.
If you have a yard, join the No Mow May movement. First promoted in the UK, the movement has swept across the U.S., with some cities officially adopting the program. NMM is about letting your lawn grow out to help the bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects when they need it most. “No Mow May encourages people to limit yard clearing throughout the month of May, as well as lawn mowing to support these pollinators. A lot of them actually hibernate and overwinter in our backyard, so in our leaf piles and rock piles and yard debris. It’s a really important time of year for them as they’re emerging. It’s when they’re very vulnerable and they need food resources,” said Auriana Donaldson, conservation programs coordinator with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.
Ditch the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Synthetic pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides) are implicated in the mass decline of insects like native bees and butterflies and harm larger animals like eagles and owls. Synthetic fertilizers are made from fossil fuels and are a primary source of water pollution. Also avoid fertilizers made from sewage sludge, often called biosolids. Municipalities across the country have been handing out these fertilizers for free. While “free” may be tempting, don’t take it. Fertilizers made from biosolids contain dangerous levels of PFAS “Forever Chemicals”, pharmaceuticals, and other chemical toxins that aren’t filtered out in the wastewater treatment process.
Ditch the nonstick Teflon coated cookware. Though many non-stick cookware manufacturers claim their cookware is PFOA-free or PFOS-free, this is greenwashing at its best. By making those claims, they’re tricking less informed consumers into thinking that the cookware is PFAS-free. Those two PFAS chemicals were phased out years ago. But guess what they use in Teflon now? PTFE. PTFE is a PFAS chemical. That kind of advertising is unconscionable, but not illegal unfortunately. Teflon coated cookware is often tossed away in the garbage, destined for landfills where the chemicals leach and pollute the environment. Your best bet for the environment and your own health is to choose stainless steel, cast iron, or glass cookware.
Ditch the single-use cups. Are you a coffee fiend? Seven in ten Americans drink coffee every week and 62% drink coffee every day. The average American coffee drinker drinks just over 3 cups per day. This amounts to approximately 146 billion cups of coffee annually. Wowzers, that’s a lot of cups! 79% of American adults make their coffee at home, which means quite a lot of people still get their fix at cafes or other retail establishments. Say “no” to single-use plastic, paper and styrofoam cups, which often contain PFAS and other chemicals that pollute the environment. Say “yes” to reusable, non-toxic alternatives like our GMO FREE USA ceramic tumbler, mug, and THERE IS NO PLANET B stainless steel bottle. They’re great for coffee, tea, water or any other drink! And you’re supporting our nonprofit work with your purchases. Whether you get ours or something else, commit this Earth Day to using reusable, non-toxic containers.
Ditch the single-use plastic bottled water. The damage that fossil-fuel based single-use plastics do to the planet is immense. A groundbreaking report published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Annals of Global Health, The Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health, concluded that global plastic production, use and disposal patterns are responsible for significant harm to human health, the environment and the economy, and are causing deep societal injustices, particularly to children. “The level of scientific certainty is absolute. There are still details to be worked out about the exact magnitude, but there is no doubt whatsoever that plastic causes disease, disability, premature death, economic damage and damage to ecosystems at every stage of its life cycle. And the life cycle begins with the extraction of the oil, the coal, and the gas that are the building blocks for 98 to 99 percent of plastics,” said lead author, Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, a pediatrician, epidemiologist and director of Boston College’s Global Public Health Program and Global Observatory on Planetary Health.
We recommend filtering your tap water with a system that not only removes pesticides and other toxins, but one that can effectively remove PFAS chemicals. Experts agree that the most effective system for PFAS removal is reverse osmosis (RO). We use Waterdrop Filter (affiliate) RO systems because they are tankless and take up less space, waste less water, and their filters last twice as long as most other RO systems.
Pitch in to save the Monarchs. Monarch butterflies are an endangered species, redlisted by international scientists. Visit our Save the Monarch Butterflies page where you can take action for these iconic butterflies. Urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the Monarch as an endangered species under the the Endangered Species Act, to give them the protections they deserve. There’s also a video of the amazing life-cycle of the Monarch butterfly that you can watch, and more. Check it out.
Choose sustainable personal care products. Look for skin, hair, and cosmetic products that are certified Organic and/or certified Made Safe. Try to choose products that are packaged in glass or paper (we know, it’s not always available that way). There are way too many products for us to mention here, but keep this in mind: choose natural and organic materials that biodegrade instead of plastics, which break down into toxic microplastics. For instance, choose a natural loofah scrubber instead of those made of plastic. Below is a list of some trusted brands that we use personally.
- Annmarie Skin Care for skin care and more.
- Dr. Bronner’s for soap and more.
- Earth Mama Organics (affiliate) for moms, babies and kids.
- Laritelle (affiliate) for organic hair and skin care.
- Malaya Organics (affiliate) for skin care and more.
That’s it for our 2023 Earth Day list! We know that there’s so much more that we can do. Please comment and list your suggestions below… Have a Happy, Healthy Earth Day!