Sunday is Earth Day! Here are some things you can do to celebrate the earth:
Start a community garden – Many apartments are now featuring community gardens. If you have one, get involved with it! You’ll appreciate the fresh produce and the time you get to spend chatting with your neighbors. If your apartment complex doesn’t have a community garden, suggest starting one to the apartment manager. If there’s no area for a garden, consider starting one in your neighborhood – here’s how.
Grow a patio garden – If starting a community garden is impossible or you don’t want to commit to such a major undertaking, grow your own container garden on your patio. You can grow all types of vegetables in a container, including tomatoes, peppers, radishes, lettuce, and cucumbers. Gardens not only provide you with fresh produce free of pesticides and other chemicals, they add beauty and a sense of privacy to your space.
Recycle – Yes, it can be annoying trying to separate your trash, but it’s worth it. It is good for the environment, saves energy, reduces the need for landfills, and helps conserve natural resources. This Sunday, give recycling a try! Most apartment communities offer recycling; if yours doesn’t, find a recycling center near you.
Ditch the plastic – We drink 30 gallons of bottled water a year per person – that's a lot of plastic. According to National Geographic, it takes 17 million barrels of crude oil per year to make plastic bottles. Switch to a reusable water container and save money as well as the environment. While you're at it, take your own canvas bags to the grocery store. It can take years (sometimes hundreds) for a plastic bag to break down – and while it does, toxins from the plastic are seeping into the soil and into the rivers, lakes, and oceans. If you can't take your own canvas bags (or you forget them), be sure to recycle your plastic bags. Many stores will recycle them for you – look for a container or box near the entrance of the store.
Use your feet – Only going a short distance? Leave your car at home and hoof it! Walking (or bicycling) is great exercise, so put on your walking shoes. Even suburban communities are encouraging foot traffic by installing sidewalks and bike lanes. You'll feel better, save money on gas, and help the environment.