As Earth Day 2023 approaches, the need to take action on climate change has never been more urgent. We are presented with evidence daily that our planet is in danger, and we must all do our part to ensure it remains safe for future generations. You may think there's nothing you can do to help, but some simple choices you make can have a big impact. Fortunately, with simple adjustments in your daily routine at home or work you can make a real difference. Let's take a look at some of the big issues that need attention.
Soil erosion is a major contributor to the effects of climate change. When the soil erodes away, carbon that would normally get locked into it is released back into the atmosphere, further increasing levels of CO2. Soil erosion also decreases agricultural productivity, resulting in more deforestation as land is cleared for agriculture.
Unmitigated, severe soil erosion can result in the loss of food crops, negatively impact community resiliency and livelihoods, and even alter ecosystems by reducing biodiversity above, within, and below the topsoil.
What You Can Do
One of the most impactful things you can do to help protect against soil erosion is to plant more trees and shrubs that are indigenous to your region. Permanent vegetation serves as a natural filter for pollutants. Trees and shrubs are essential for preserving biodiversity by providing food, protection, and homes for many birds and mammals. They can even help mitigate climate change by absorbing excess carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Vegetation reduces the amount of stormwater runoff, which reduces erosion and pollution in our waterways and may reduce the effects of flooding. Taking small steps like planting trees and shrubs, and using mulch or compost to protect the soil can help reduce soil erosion.
Fight Microplastic Pollution
Microplastic pollution is a growing environmental threat. Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that break off from larger pieces of plastic waste or are produced as pellets. The majority of microplastics come from single-use items such as water bottles, straws, and packaging materials. Every year, the world produces 300 million tons of plastic, and most of it ends up polluting the oceans and precious habitats. Plastics are not biodegradable and break down into microplastics which get into the soil, water, animals, fish, and eventually, us.
What You Can Do
Reduce Reliance on Single-Use Plastic
When it comes to reducing plastic pollution, the most important thing you can do is reduce your use of single-use plastics. It's simple. Use glass reusable containers or wax paper instead of plastic wraps or bags to keep your sandwich or lunch fresh. Skip the plastic straw -- drink directly from the glass or cup. Use silverware instead of plastic utensils. Be sure to dispose of any plastics you do use properly. Cut up your six-pack rings before disposal to prevent wildlife from getting strangled. Recycle and upcycle whenever possible. By replacing single-use with reusable items, you can make a big difference in reducing plastic waste.
Ever wonder what all that fuzz is in your dryer lint trap? Lint is a fuzz made up of fine pieces of yarn and fabric, better known as microfibers. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon are often derived from oil or gas and can take centuries to decompose. Fabric like polyesters is a type of plastic, so its microfibers are microplastics. Those microplastics end up in the air, and waterways, leading to more plastic pollution.
Choose clothing made from natural fibers and fabrics, such as cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wool, or upcycled materials if possible. Natural fibers are more sustainable and have a much lower environmental impact. Opting for organic fibers and fabrics supports the environment in two ways: it reduces your carbon footprint and reduces microplastics that are polluting the planet. Your choice can have a positive impact not only on the environment but also on your health.
Stop using glitter
Glitter adds a festive sparkle to parties and crafts, but most glitter is made up of tiny pieces of plastic. It takes centuries for this type of plastic to decompose, meaning it accumulates in the environment indefinitely. Glitter is found in makeup, nail polish, art supplies, and more. By replacing glitter with biodegradable alternatives like fabric or paper-based glitters, you can help reduce the amount of plastic polluting our planet.
Most of us aren't planning on going off the grid, growing all our own food, and living a completely self-sustaining life. But, there are small ways you can help conserve our planet’s natural resources.
What can you do
Install energy-efficient lightbulbs in your home to reduce electricity consumption. Turn off the lights when you leave a room or use power strips to ensure electronics are not using electricity while turned off.
Get your steps in by walking on short trips instead of driving. Carpool if possible. Plan your trips to take the most efficient route. Use public transportation whenever possible.
Reduce your water consumption
According to the World Resources Institute, over two billion people currently lack access to safe, clean drinking water and 1.8 million deaths occur yearly due to inadequate access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. Simple changes, like taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving, and only running full loads of laundry in washing machines will all make a difference. You can also install low-flow shower heads and toilets to reduce the amount of water needed for use.
Volunteer or Donate
Volunteer or donate to an environmentally-focused organization in your community. Many organizations are actively working to protect the environment and they rely heavily on donations and volunteers to achieve their goals. Donating money or time can make all the difference in making our planet a better place for future generations.
Voting is one of the most effective ways to protect the environment. By electing local and national candidates who prioritize climate action and supporting legislation that helps preserve our natural resources, we can ensure a greener future for future generations. Moreover, voting provides us with an opportunity to make our voices heard and send a powerful message on the importance of protecting our planet.
Finally, encourage your family and friends to take action on Earth Day 2023. Share the steps you take to be more sustainable with them so they can learn from your example. By inspiring others and working together, we can make a real difference in protecting our environment this Earth Day 2023.
Have a simple step you've taken to make a big change? Comment below and share your ideas!
By Susan K. Edwards, Reiki Master, Licensed Spiritual Healer-Coach
The Rock Shop, sells healing crystals, books, aura cleansing salt soaps, aura scrubs, aromatherapy, and candles for any of your ritual needs. Contact the shop or stop in for more info. Susan is a Licensed Spiritual Healer Life Coach, Reiki Master, Certified Ho’ Oponopono Instructor, and Light Worker. She and her husband own the Nice Rock Shop at 311 Broadway Street, Paducah KY. Subscribe to her YouTube channel, Nice Rock Shop, follow her on social media, or contact her at NiceRockShop@gmail.com. The website is NiceRockShop.com.
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