Gallery: 6 Earth Day Activities That Will Actually Make a Difference

 

2. PLANT A TREE


Simple though it may sound, planting a tree is one of the cheapest and most effective means of removing CO2 from the atmosphere. A single tree is capable of absorbing 48 pounds of CO2 each year while producing enough fresh oxygen for 2 people. Trees also remove airborne pollutants like sulfur dioxide from burning coal, nitrogen oxides from auto emissions, and other particulates, making them a great boon in urban environments. Finally, planting a tree near your house can actually improve your home's energy efficiency - trees provide shade during hot summer days, and during the winter they lose their leaves, allowing sunlight and warmth to stream in through your windows.

1. GO VEGETARIAN

The amount of greenhouse gas produced by the livestock industry is staggering – the Worldwatch Institute estimates that meat and dairy production accounts for 51% of the world’s total emissions once you factor in livestock respiration, land use, methane production, and a whole range of other figures. Faced with this statistic, it’s pretty easy to see how cutting meat out of your diet can reduce your carbon footprint. It’s also important to consider the distance that food travels to your plate, so consider buying locally produced, minimally packaged produce at farmers markets – you can even check to see if any nearby farms offer a weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) box.

2. PLANT A TREE

Simple though it may sound, planting a tree is one of the cheapest and most effective means of removing CO2 from the atmosphere. A single tree is capable of absorbing 48 pounds of CO2 each year while producing enough fresh oxygen for 2 people. Trees also remove airborne pollutants like sulfur dioxide from burning coal, nitrogen oxides from auto emissions, and other particulates, making them a great boon in urban environments. Finally, planting a tree near your house can actually improve your home’s energy efficiency – trees provide shade during hot summer days, and during the winter they lose their leaves, allowing sunlight and warmth to stream in through your windows.

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4 Comments

  1. arose May 12, 2011 at 1:52 am

    Use a highly effective contraceptive method.

    Having a child is one of the most environmentally costly things most people do. (e.g. over a lifetime a child in US generates thousands of tons of garbage, greenhouse gases, uses a lot of energy, water, etc.) But almost half of the pregnancies in the US are unintended (people start that whole process without meaning to). Most of the unintended pregnancies are caused by people not using contraception, or using it inconsistently. A smaller fraction are from instances where the method failed. (e.g. using less effective methods).

    Highly effective methods, like IUD, implant, vasectomy reduce chances of unintentionally creating another consumer of earths resources, and they save money too.

  2. monicaca April 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Happy Earth Day – Behold the Plastiki! David de Rothschild sails from San Francisco to Sydney in boat made of plastic bottles: http://f4a.tv/eUqAMC

  3. cliffchampion April 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    fantastic post. all of these are great suggestions!

  4. treefitty April 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    My three-prong resolution for the next 365 days goes as follows:
    1) Only buy second-hand clothing (excluding socks & underwear, because that’s just gross, but I’ll make sure those are as Earth-friendly as possible).
    2) Learn how to make my own solar panel AND actually make one.
    3) Learn more about biomimicry, and then look for ways in which our technological addictions can start to adopt the principles of biomimicry.

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