This was a project celebrating the countdown to Earth Day 2022. In the 10 days leading up to Earth Day, I posted a tip each day on my Instagram (available via this highlight on my profile) and on this page. The goal was to provide people with easy actions they can do to reduce their environmental footprint. I also created a consolidated post to post on Earth Day to further spread awareness.
For the Instagram stories and website hero image, I used a variable typeface called Climate Crisis to show the countdown. The font's axis is based on sea ice data ranging from 1979–1950, and shows the erosion of ice throughout the years through the letterforms.
Earth Day Tips
One of the best things you can give to the planet is your time! It doesn't have to be a huge commitment, but volunteering with a climate organization helps further the cause, raise awareness about climate issues, and is a great spot to connect with other, like-minded individuals. Many non-profits rely on volunteers to stay running and have flexible commitment levels for volunteers. Whether it’s a one time event or a couple hours every month, it can be extremely rewarding (and beneficial for the planet) to spend some time volunteering for the environment. Take a look at the climate organizations listed below (or search for others in your area), and make a commitment today to volunteer for our Earth!
While there are a lot of things we can (and should) be doing for the environment (see tips 3-10), one of the things that can speak the loudest is making a donation to a climate initiative. This allows organizations working on behalf of the environment to continue to do what they do—protecting nature, educating people, and lobbying to create positive change. There are tons of organizations to donate to, all with unique causes and approaches but with the ultimate shared goal of preserving our natural world. Setting up a recurring donation is a great way to pledge your ongoing support to the organizations of your choice—and to the environment. I personally switch up where I’m donating each month, but many organizations offer the option to set up an automatic monthly donation so you don’t have to think about it!
3. Make a Zero Waste Swap
Plastic can sit in landfills (or wherever it ends up) for hundreds of years before breaking down, and even then it turns into microplastics which have been found in the deepest corners of the earth, and now the human body. Not great☹️ That’s why opting for a plastic-free version of a household product can be so much better for the environment! While the plastic-free movement has yet to make it into most supermarkets, there are plenty of places online (and local!) to find zero waste swaps for your household items! In Boise, Roots Zero Waste Market is a great spot for household essentials and bulk/plastic-free food items. There are also a ton of online shops for buying zero waste—check out my resources list below!
4. Try Alternative Transportation
According to the EPA, the transportation industry is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 27% of emissions in 2020. Unfortunately, most American cities are lacking adequate infrastructure to make getting around without a personal vehicle easy. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always impossible. If there are businesses that you frequent near your home, consider investing in a bike or e-scooter and using it to get around. For things that are a little further away, check and see if there are bus routes or a rail system that can get you where you need to go. It might not always be as convenient as taking your own vehicle, but opting for an alternative mode of transportation even a couple times a week can have a huge impact on transportation emissions. Plus, the more people that opt for public modes of transportation, the more likely cities are to invest in it!
Check out the City of Boise bus schedule to see if there is a route near you!
5. Eat Less Meat
The agriculture industry is a major polluter, with livestock being responsible for 37% of all methane emissions in the US! One of the single best things you can do for the planet is reducing or cutting out meat from your diet, especially beef—one of the top producers of methane. If that sounds impossible to you, start by switching to one meatless meal a week or participating in Meatless Mondays. Other easy swaps are opting for a turkey, fish, or veggie burger over a beef one, incorporating beans or tofu into your recipes, or trying out some of the alternative meat options that are available today! There are tons of yummy vegetarian recipes out there (check out Minimalist Baker), but some of my personal favorites are listed below.
Vegetarian recipes to try this Meatless Monday:
6. Ditch Fast Fashion
The fast fashion industry is one of the worst polluters, responsible for 10% of all carbon emissions. Not only does it contribute to greenhouse gases, the production of cheap clothing items requires excessive amounts of water and pollutes the environment with chemicals and micro plastics—all for most of these items to be worn a couple times and then tossed, either ending up in a landfill or shipped to a foreign country. It’s time to stop buying these cheap, poorly made, unsustainable clothing items and instead invest in more sustainably made pieces. While sustainable options can be more expensive, these pieces are generally higher quality and will last longer, making them a better investment in the long run! A more cost-conscious option is to buy secondhand when possible, giving clothing a second life (and adding some unique pieces to your wardrobe!)
For sustainable clothing recommendations, visit Good On You or check the links below for some of my favorite places to find sustainable items.
7. Buy in Bulk
Think about how much plastic and food waste occurs every time you buy packaged food products! Buying in bulk allows you to buy more manageable amounts of food (especially if you’re just buying for one) and to avoid the plastic packaging many food items come in. Here in Boise we’re lucky to have several stores that offer the option to buy items in bulk. Roots Zero Waste Market offers a wide assortment of healthy and organic package free food items, and they allow you to bring your own containers to fill! Winco foods is another great spot with tons of bulk options including pasta, rice, flour, nuts, dried fruit, candy, and even peanut butter and olive oil.
8. Use Reusable Bags
One of the EASIEST eco-friendly changes you can make is to stop using single use/disposable plastic bags. There are so many alternatives available for any sort of plastic bag you might need. Nearly every grocery store sells reusable grocery bags for a reasonable price, and there are numerous options online for reusable produce bag and sandwich bag alternatives. Stasher bags are sturdy, silicone bags that come in a variety of sizes; perfect for all your lunch needs! Glass or metal containers are also a great reusable, eco-friendly option for food storage. Reusable produce bags are another great swap to all those single use plastic bags you pick up at the store—just make sure to put them back in your reusable grocery bags once you unload your groceries so you don’t forget them!
9. Use Clean Energy
In 2021, over 60% of energy in the US still came from fossil fuels, continuing to be one of the largest contributors to climate change. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get to choose where our power comes from, meaning we're all indirectly contributing. However, Idaho Power recently launched a green energy program, allowing customers to purchase clean energy every month! You can choose to either cover your entire usage for the month, or just a set amount every month to keep costs consistent. This is a super easy (once it's set up you don't have to think about it) and affordable way to make a difference!
In 2018, only 4% of food waste was composted, with the majority of it ending up in a landfill. When food ends up in an environment without oxygen (aka a landfill), it’s not able to break down into soil, instead creating methane—one of the most potent greenhouse gases. Composting is an easy solution to this problem that not only prevents the release of methane, but also produces nutrient rich soil (especially great if you have a garden!). There are many outdoor composting systems to allow you to compost at home, but if at-home composting isn't an option, some cities (Boise included!) offer curbside compost pickup so you can dispose of your food waste properly. You'll want to get a compost bin (like this one) to keep your food waste in before it's time to take it outside or to the curb.
Ready to get started? Learn how to start composting here!
Thanks for following along!
Earth Share: https://www.earthshare.org
Idaho Conservation League: https://www.idahoconservation.org
1% For the Planet: https://www.onepercentfortheplanet.org
Climate Action Network: https://climatenetwork.org
Extinction Rebellion: https://rebellion.global
Nature Conservancy: https://www.nature.org/en-us/
Land Trust of the Treasure Valley: https://www.lttv.org
Boise Urban Garden School: https://www.boiseurbangardenschool.org
Boise Environmental Education: https://bee.cityofboise.org/about/get-involved/
Package Free Shop: https://packagefreeshop.com
Earth Hero: https://earthhero.com
Roots Zero Waste Market (Boise Store): https://www.rootszerowastemarket.com/
Zero Waste Store: https://zerowastestore.com
Stasher Bags: https://www.stasherbag.com
The Earthling Co.: https://theearthlingco.com
Zero Waste Cartel: https://zerowastecartel.com
Brave Soles: https://bravesoles.life
Girlfriend Collective: https://girlfriend.com
Good on You (Fashion Brand Sustainability Ratings): https://goodonyou.eco
Minimalist Baker: https://minimalistbaker.com
Black Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas: https://cookieandkate.com/black-bean-sweet-potato-enchiladas/
Crispy Teriyaki Tofu and Broccoli: https://reciperunner.com/sheet-pan-crispy-teriyaki-tofu-and-broccoli/
Mushroom Risotto: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/85389/gourmet-mushroom-risotto/
Greenhouse Gases: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases
How To Compost: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
Energy Sources: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3
Fast Fashion Impact: https://psci.princeton.edu/tips/2020/7/20/the-impact-of-fast-fashion-on-the-environment
Fast Fashion Pollution: https://www.businessinsider.com/fast-fashion-environmental-impact-pollution-emissions-waste-water-2019-10
Cattle Emissions: https://www.verifythis.com/article/news/verify/environment-verify/cattle-cows-the-top-source-of-methane-emissions-in-united-states/536-8d5bf326-6955-4a9c-8ea5-761d73ba464c
Transportation Emissions: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions
Microplastics in the Ocean: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/06/06/729419975/microplastics-have-invaded-the-deep-ocean-and-the-food-chain
Microplastics in the Human Body: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/microplastics-detected-in-human-blood-180979826/
Plastic Decomposition: https://futurism.com/plastic-decomposition
Idaho Power Green Energy Program: https://www.idahopower.com/energy-environment/green-choices/green-power-program/
Idaho Solar Tax Credit: https://oemr.idaho.gov/financial-information/incentives/
Idaho Power Solar Energy Guide: https://www.idahopower.com/energy-environment/green-choices/solar-power-options-customer-generation/
Earth Week Challenge: https://www.beforeitstoolate.earth/7-day-guide.html
Where Fast Fashion Ends Up: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ghana-fast-fashion-environmental-disaster/
City of Boise Bus Schedule: https://www.citygoboise.com/boise-bus