With environmental issues like water contamination, pollution, and climate change, it’s natural to look for ways we can reverse the damage to our planet and keep our environment clean. Many of us think we’re too small to make a difference, but when enough of us take action, we’ve seen the positive results we can create.
Today we’re looking at the steps – big and small – you can take to keep our environment clean and safe.
Let your voice be heard
Your state and local representatives need to hear from you. Never doubt – they’re hearing from special interest groups and big businesses with big money. There are several steps we can take in our individual lives, but let’s face it… your home can’t possibly pollute or waste resources on the same scale as a large factory or corporation. Here are a few ways you can voice your concerns and ask that corporations are held to standards that protect our planet and keep our environment clean and safe:
- Write a letter to your local newspaper.
- Attend your city council meeting.
- Find out who your Representatives and Senators are at CallMyCongress.com. Go to their websites, sign up for their newsletters, find out where they stand on issues you care about.
- Take a look at Get Involved: Index of Organizations, a list of nonprofit organizations, by topic, that are working to create fundamental change by educating the public and engaging citizens in grassroots initiatives.
Refuse single-use items
Straws, to-go cups, disposable razors, and plastic grocery bags are some ubiquitous examples of single-use products in our economy. Finding a reusable option for these items we use once and toss is a simple way to make a big difference.
While replacing all single use products with reusable products is best, it can be overwhelming at first. To get started, Lauren at Minimal Domesticity says to consider whether the product will be used for more than an hour. If, like a plastic grocery bag, the product’s useful life is less than an hour, try replacing it with a more sustainable alternative.
One of the best ways to avoid these products is to refuse them before they enter your life. Unsubscribe from mailing lists and catalogs, bring your own bag, order a drink with no straw, and decline unnecessary receipts.
Plant trees and native plants
Green living areas in our cities and suburbs are vital. Industrialization and suburban sprawl have taken away the trees – our main source of unadulterated oxygen. They’re also beautiful, and they do their part to keep our environment clean.
By planting a tree today, you can make green space and unadulterated oxygen a reality for our kids. The same goes for landscaping with native plants. Not only are they low maintenance, they conserve water, reduce carbon pollution, and support the health of local wildlife. If you don’t have your own lawn, you can donate a tree via charitable organizations like the Plant A Tree Foundation.
Change your travel habits
As much as 90% of road transportation in the U.S. is dependent upon oil. When you walk, bike, or take public transportation, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint significantly. If you must drive, make your errands at less busy times of day so you won’t sit in traffic wasting gas. And try to consolidate your outings – being conscious of how many separate trips you can prevent (this also saves time).
When it comes to vacations, opt for local destinations. Why not see all the beautiful natural resources your own town or state has to offer? If you must travel by air, consider buying carbon credits to offset the environmental impact.
Buy locally & compost
When shopping, focus on purchasing locally grown products rather than imported goods. Buying locally means less transportation, processing, and packaging. And when it comes to food – local means seasonal and fresh! Find your local CSA through Local Harvest and join. Or try your hand at gardening with the 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow from Seeds. Trips to the market won’t be necessary if you plant vegetables and fruit trees in your very own backyard.
Remains of plants and kitchen waste make rich nutrient filled food and manure for plants, helping them grow faster. This process is known as composting. Instead of dumping away your wet waste, you can now use it for the plants in your own home garden. This safe disposal of waste reduces the volume in our landfills. Municipal solid waste buried in a landfill does not receive oxygen and will produce methane. A compost pile, on the other hand, undergoes aerobic decomposition. Because it is exposed to oxygen, either by turning it or through the use of worms and other living organisms, it produces carbon dioxide instead of methane.
With industries dumping waste into our water supplies, our access to fresh, clean drinking water is dwindling. Running taps, long showers, running the dishwasher half-full, and unchecked water leaks examples of unnecessary water waste. Try rainwater harvesting in buckets or a rain barrel which can be used to water the plants in the lawn, clean your cars etc.
Reduce use of chemicals & properly dispose of waste
Instead of purchasing disposal items like plastic plates, spoons and cups, opt for reusable, washable flatware instead. Get an extra set at Goodwill. It doesn’t matter if they match. For on-the-go coffee lovers, carry your thermal to the coffee shop. With this small, simple act, you reduce the amount of trash you’re disposing and your coffee remains hot while doing so.
Many industries dispose of their oil, paint, ammonia and other chemicals openly. This is hazardous to water and air as these chemicals are soaked into the groundwater. When all of these chemicals combine, it’s no wonder cancer rates have skyrocketed. Support regulations and incentives for companies to keep our environment clean. Agriculture is also a known polluter when it comes to chemical runoff. And when it comes to your own back yard, avoid over-fertilizing to make sure you’re not contributing to algae blooms from runoff.
Choose natural cleaning methods, environmentally-safer paints, and recycled or nontoxic home improvement materials to keep your indoor air cleaner (and naturally fresh) and your waste less harmful.
Fall in love with Mother Nature
“There is mounting research that supports the idea that children [and adults] who spend regular time playing and learning in the natural world are happier, healthier, smarter, more creative and better problem solvers,” shares Janice Swaisgood, Children & Nature Network’s National Coordinator of Nature Clubs for Families.
Essentially if we want to be inspired to protect our natural resources, we must fall in love with nature. Go out and wade in a spring, swim in a lake, and walk or play on the beach. Put down your phone, and go outside to see what kind of birds and butterflies are fluttering about your yard. When you find a bird nest and observe (not interfere) with the hatching, growing, and finally flying away… you develop an intrinsic vested interest or ownership in the natural world.
Striking a balance between ethical development and a healthy environment may take decades, even centuries. But together, we can become better stewards of this planet we share as our home.
Additional Resources for Reducing Your Impact and Keeping Our Environment Clean
30 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Environment article by Lisa Borden
Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and You Can Too book by Beth Terry
10 Ways to Reduce E-Waste article by Abigail Smith
The Dangers of Endocrine Disruptors & How to Avoid Them
Top Tips for Green Travel with Kids article by Lori Alper
Top 10 Plastic Free Tips by Jack Johnson
Bringing Environmental Issues into the Classroom article by Tanyette Colon
10 Reasons Children Need Vitamin N
Sierra Club Non-profit Organization
The National Wildlife Foundation Non-profit Organization
Balloons Blow Non-profit Organization
National Environmental Education Foundation Non-profit Organization
Green Child Magazine
Latest posts by Green Child Magazine (see all)
Filed Under: Earth Day, Education, Gardening, Gifts That Give Back, Go Green, Health & Safety, Home, Magazine, Mindfulness, Outdoor Fun, Social Justice, TravelTagged With: conscious living, eco, education, green activism, mindful living, outdoor activities with kids, social justice, vitamin N
By Mohd. Basheeruddin Bilal, Class 9 (Student blogger, FHS Publishing club)
Environment is a place where humans as well as plants and animals live. Keeping it clean and neat is our responsibility. It is necessary to keep our environment clean because we get fresh air, reduce pollution etc. An unclean environment leads to a bad condition of a society, arrival of diseases and many more.
With the ever increasing use of technology and industries flourishing the amount of pollution in our environment is increasing at a rapid pace. Keeping our environment clean is a very important part of our lives in these days. It is important to focus on this as we have to make sure that the environment is preserved for future generations. Water pollution and litter are considered to be two of the main cause of the environment being dirty.
People most of the times throw litter and dust on the footpaths and roads instead of throwing it in dustbins. This is how slowly the litter accumulates and transforms into huge garbage. If this garbage is not cleaned, further it smells stink and welcomes the diseases and then people are affected by it. Thus, if we don’t keep our environment clean there would be many consequences or problems which will be faced by the society and people that live in that environment.
These are some ways in which we can keep our environment clean:-
*Don’t litter: Please don’t litter in your society and roads. Set a good example. Use dust bins, it will help in keeping the society clean. If society is plagued by litter then consult with your society members and other authorities in order to organize an awareness camp. Work with them and volunteers to clean the litters.
*Plant trees: We should plant trees in your society or we can also adapt any tree and take care of that. Trees will help in controlling the pollution at least a little bit. Having lots of trees in your society will help you have fresh air for you and your kids, maintain good health, and with a beautiful green society you can inspire others to follow the track and save the city and environment.
*Be eco-friendly: Restore water, use eco-friendly things, do not dump electronic gadgets etc. Be eco-friendly by using bicycle instead of cars that makes a lot of noise and increases pollution.
*Recycle plastic materials: Don’t just throw away the plastic bottles or plates that you have used, but instead use them and recycle it for the betterment of the environment. Plastic takes years to decompose and is hazardous If the plastics are burnt or thrown away. So, recycle plastics.
So, we should keep our environment clean and green for a smell-free, disease-free live. By implementing on it we can reduce pollution, get fresh air, live peaceful life without any problems.
So, are you all from now going to keep your environment/surroundings clean?