There is a reason she’s called Mother Earth. Our planet is a giving planet, and we are a taking species. Earth has been providing for humans, and all living things, since the beginning of time: the air we breathe, fresh water to drink, natural medicine, renewable energy, and materials, I could go on for a while. And to survive, we tend to forget how often we rely on the provisions Earth gives to us as we go about our daily lives, and in turn, we often forget to take care of this planet home. And to my joy, Earth Day is one of those holidays where we are at least reminded to pause, and take a moment to thank the Earth for how blessed we are to live here and see the magnificent beauty of the world around us. The pause also provides ample time to reflect on the way we’ve treated our planet over the past year, and take action steps to change even one way we live that benefits the longevity of Earth.
You’re probably working on your Earth Day Instagram post now, maybe reminiscing over the time you backpacked in Australia before the pandemic or realizing the overlooked, beautiful spaces you discovered in 2020 while stuck in your own town. And for good reason, the world is worth celebrating. The beauty is all around us, whether your day-to-day view is the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a tiny harbor in a southern beach town, the skyscrapers of Seattle, WA, or the cornfields of Kansas. Looking back on the adventures I had over the years is one of my favorite ways to celebrate Earth Day.
But merely loving the smell of crisp mountain air doesn’t quite protect the longevity of Earth. We should take steps together to adjust our daily habits with sustainability in mind. For example, if you know me, you know I love taking long hot showers to end my day. The problem with that behavior is that showers use roughly 2 gallons of water per minute, so a 30-minute shower uses 60 gallons of water (yikes)! Multiply that by 365 days and, well, you’ve got some serious water usage from just one human being. Additionally, a hot shower releases CO2 into the atmosphere, as much as 2.5lb in 10 minutes. So what does that mean for me? I can reduce my showers by 5-10 min and save up to 20 gallons of water a day, and 5lbs of CO2s from being released into the atmosphere. Curious about other daily household habits that increase your carbon footprint? Try out the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator to see what you produce and what you could change to reduce your carbon footprint.
4 Examples of Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
- Walking, biking or taking the bus instead of driving.
- Unplug appliances that aren’t in use or opt for energy-saving power strips.
- Bring reusable water bottles on adventures, and reusable shopping bags to the grocery store (or any store!).
- Shower for 5 min less than you’re used to, build the new habit.
Something I’ve noticed over the last year is that sustainability was slightly overshadowed by the need for safety and maximum cleanliness due to the pandemic. Reusable bags at grocery stores, coffee tumblers at coffee shops, and shared restaurant materials were all swapped for plastic or paper bags, to-go cups, and plastic-wrapped cutlery. Understandably so, we all wanted to prevent any chance of contamination or spread of COVID by all means. Triple bagging a cheeseburger felt worth the environmental impact to avoid any risk for a short time. I think, though, that now is the time to get back on track and start putting sustainable living back up in importance with safety and precaution. It is much more of a long-term action step for the safety of all humans as we need our Earth to survive. (And remember to cut the loops on your disposable masks before throwing them away!)
Working at Spyce, I am often thinking about how our company’s decisions impact our environment. Are we doing all that we can? Could we do more? I want to remind you that everything does count, even walking an extra 50 steps to the recycling bin when it would be easier to toss your Coke can in the trash. Having our packaging be (almost) 100% compostable is a great thing, though we are striving for 100%. Sourcing locally is another step in the direction of supporting the land we live on and minimizing the travel impact of importing goods from far away. But it is important to maintain humility. The Earth is massive, and every day is a bit sobering if you consider the work that needs to be done. But it is always worth it, and it takes baby steps from thousands, and hopefully millions, of people and companies to make the impact we all dream of each Earth day.
So this Earth Day, post your Instagram photo of a magnificent view, start cutting your showers by a few minutes, and reflect on how far we’ve come in a society built around humans rather than the Earth. Say thank you to her.