5 Simple Ways to be Kind to the Earth
Jan 30 2017
February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day. It presents us with the opportunity to focus on being kind and reminds us how little actions can improve the world around us. While you hold open doors for strangers and smile at the mail carrier, consider a few random acts of kindness for the earth, too. It can use it!
1. Pack a Waste-Free Lunch
One of the biggest ways we impact the planet is through the amount of “stuff” we consume, including single-use, disposable items. It takes energy and resources to make disposables that are only used for a few minutes before being thrown out. Going no/zero-waste can sound intimidating but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Lower the impact of your lunch by trading out disposable items with reusable or recyclable ones. Swap out your paper napkin and plastic utensils for a reusable napkin and silverware from home (or the resale shop, if you’re worried about losing them). Take them home, wash and repeat. Here’s our list of simple swaps for going zero-waste. For more ideas, check out Waste-Free lunches.org or, for some reusable lunch gear, Reuseit.com or Life without Plastic.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
2. Pick Up 5 Pieces of Litter
You may have heard about the swirls of plastic in our oceans. One simple way to help reduce litter making it into our waterways is to pick up 5 pieces of litter on your next walk. Litter clean up doesn’t have to be a big event. If that seems like a drop in the bucket, just reference the quote above. No act is too little. Eventually it adds up to make a big impact! Read more about SCARCE’s #PickUp5 litter clean up initiative here.
3. Unplug One Thing
We use a lot of energy as part of our daily living. However, conservation is an essential part of energy efficiency. No one’s implying you go without your iphone or laptop but I bet there is at least one thing at home that you could unplug without noticing. How about that cell phone charger, when it’s not being used? (Ever heard of vampire energy?) Or the alarm clock in your guest room/college student’s bedroom that gets used a few times a year (or never, since tons of us use our cell phones anyhow). Or the radio in the garage (who’s listening to that in the winter?). Energy conserved, without hardly trying.
4. Use a Reusable Water Bottle or Coffee Mug
Every hour, 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown out. Each year, about 50 billion disposable coffee cups end up in landfills. That’s a staggering mound of waste. Recycling doesn’t solve the waste problem as styrofoam and even paper coffee cups cannot be recycled. Plastic bottles can be but that still requires energy and water (there’s a reason “Recycle” is the last of the Three R’s). Be kinder to the planet today by using a reusable water bottle or coffee mug. There are so many kinds these days, you can pick one to match your style. Staying hydrated and caffeinated can have a big impact on the planet – but it doesn’t have to. (source: Carry Your Cup)
Bonus: choosing not to use single-use cups or bottles (recyclable or disposable) will reduce litter, too.
5. Say “No” to a Store Bag for Carryable Items
Rethink your bag use next time you go to the store. If you are at the store for only a few items that can easily be carried (in your arms or purse/backpack), tell the cashier that you don’t need a bag. Same thing goes for bags for leftovers at restaurants. If you’re just moseying out to the car, do you really need a bag to hold the one or two containers of leftovers? I’ll bet not. Each bag, however recyclable it may be, requires resources to be produced and recycled. Only use a bag if you really need it. Be kinder to the earth, one bag at a time.
There are so many simple ways to be kinder to the earth. Hopefully, one of these inspires you to get started!
If you want to make kindness your daily MO check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. You can sign up to be a “RAKtivist” (a “Random-Acts-of-Kindness-Activist”) and be part of an online community of like-minded folks, looking to make the world a little kinder, one action at a time.