Scheduled each year on April 22nd, Earth Day began in 1970 as a celebration of our planet and recognition of the interdependence and fragility of our eco-system. While we've made great progress in cleaning up our waterways, clearing the air, restricting toxic pesticides, and promoting environmental consciousness, we still have a long way to go.
While the new year presents a time for reflection on personal goals for the coming year, Earth Day marks an opportunity to consider lifestyle changes that can improve sustainability of our communities and our world. Assess your personal impact on the environment by taking an ecological footprint quiz.
The advent of spring brings a renewed interest in gardening. If you don't already, take up composting. You'll generate chemical-free nutrients for your soil and reduce waste sent to landfills. See our website for a how-to guide to composting. DwellSmart offers both conventional garden composters and automated kitchen composters.
Consider other ways of reducing your waste stream. Why buy bottled water when you can filter water in your home and use reusable water bottles? Eliminate hundreds of plastic bags each year by using canvas or nylon shopping bags. If you haven't started recycling, there's no time like the present!
Earth Day coincides with time for Spring Cleaning. Get rid of products that feature the ominous skull-and-crossbones warnings. These products are generally bad for your family, your pets, and the environment. You can greatly improve your indoor air quality and reduce sinus problems by banishing toxic cleaning chemicals from your home. See our green cleaning guide for more information.
There are many small steps you can take that have a large impact over time. You probably have a few more incandescent bulbs you can replace with CFLs - see our selection of dimmables, 3-ways, flood lights, and bug lights. Conserve water with a low-flow showerhead or a rain barrel. Clean your refrigerator coils to increase fridge efficiency and replace your furnace filters to increase A/C efficiency. A programmable thermostat is easy to install (in fact, I did it myself) and can easily pay for itself in a year.
This is a great time of year to get out and enjoy the earth. Spruce up your garden, plant a tree, or put up a bird feeder. Go for a hike in the mountains, a walk in the woods, a trip to the beach, a bike ride around a park, or just a walk around your neighborhood - and celebrate earth day!