Happy Earth Day! The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 when a senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, decided that it was BS that environmental issues weren’t brought to the forefront in the media or political realm.
I know that everyone is on edge right now. This time doesn’t need to be spent being the most productive version of yourself. You don’t need to renovate your house, learn 10 new hobbies, save the world, or get your “summer body” (what the f**k does that mean anyways?) It’s okay to just be. To stay safe and stay home. With that being said, here are 5 acts that take minimal effort but when put into place make a significant difference.
1. Develop a routine
File this one under self care. Life has slowed down for the majority of us, more like come to a screeching halt. If it hasn’t, that means that you’re essential to our livelihood and are helping us survive and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
For those of us at home, take this time to develop a morning ritual. Whether it’s getting your workout in before your day starts or reading a chapter of your current book while savoring your coffee. Rituals set the tone of our day, allow us to connect with ourselves, and promote self discipline.
Once everything goes back to normal, we have two choices. We can return to the chaos that we used to know, or we can create our new normal. One where we honor our time and our needs. One where we take the time to make that pour over coffee and a nice breakfast in the morning instead of hitting the drive through. Take the time to read your book, lift heavy weights, meditate, write in your gratitude journal, go for a run. Whatever makes you tick, do that.
This is my current routine. Lemon ginger tea and a good book, currently: Untamed by Gennon Doyle (highly recommend) . My best friend, Amanda, turned me on to the idea to "create before you consume" which is discussed in depth in Marie Forleo's book Everything is Figureoutable (also highly suggest). It's the idea of doing something for ourselves before consuming other people's lives. Read a chapter, workout, meditate, or ________ before you look at your email or even social media. You'll be surprised at the difference this makes.
2. Turn the water off while you're shaving
The average shower uses 2.1 gallons of water per minute. So if we can turn the water off for even *1 minute* every time we shower, whether that be while we shave or wash our bodies, that would be saving almost 15 gallons of water per week, 60 gallons per month, 720 gallons per year. Small, consistent changes really add up in the long run.
Side note: this may be a post quarantine activity, seeing as shaving is on the on the back burner at the moment, or maybe that’s just me.
3. Start Recycling
Recycling can be a little confusing with all of the numbers, rules, and faux pas. Here are the basics that we're likely to encounter on a daily basis.
Recyclable: plastics #1-7, bottles/cans, glass jars/bottles, newspapers
Not Recyclable: grocery bags, saran wrap or plastic baggies, plastic produce bags (i.e what bagged spinach comes in), styrofoam
File this one under social distancing, self care, and earth care. Growing your own food, or any plant for that matter, in my experience, leaves you with a huge sense of accomplishment. Not only are you learning a new skill, you’re connecting with nature, reducing plastic by not purchasing at the store, and nourishing your body with trustworthy organic produce. Gardening doesn’t have to look like 10 foot beds and hours of maintenance. In fact, the best season I ever had was when I planted my veggies in pots and kept them in my driveway.
5. Pick up trash (safely) on walks
It’s disheartening to go for walks, whether it be along the road, on the beach, or in a park and see debris scattered. My Earth Day goal is to walk my parent's road with them and pick up as much litter as possible- don’t worry we have gloves, masks, and even those long-claw-grabber-thingys. This may be a task to save until the pandemic is over, but next time you’re on a walk, bring a bag and do your good deed for the day.
Whatever it means to you to honor our earth, do that.