Today is Earth Day. Traditionally, people around the globe celebrate by volunteering their time, planting trees, and attending rallies with fellow environmental enthusiasts. In light of the current global pandemic (you know the one), our team at @FutureEarth has compiled a list of 12 ways you can do your part all from the safety and comfort of your own home.
1. BREAK UP WITH YOUR BANK
According to our friends at Green America, where you bank matters. With mega-banks, your money is funding fossil fuels, sweatshops, factory farms, and other destructive industries. When you switch to an ethical bank, like a community development bank or credit union, your money can create jobs, housing, and social services and build healthy communities and a better world! Learn more here.
According to the Department of Energy, data centers account for about 2% of all electricity use in the U.S. That means the cloud—which powers every Netflix binge, PUBG match, and email—has a lining made not of silver, but of carbon. Fun fact, Amazon is the largest user. All their data centers run on fossil fuels (according to a Greenpeace report). To learn more about making the switch, visit Wired.
3. GREENIFY YOUR SEARCH ENGINE
Ecosia is a carbon-negative search engine that turns your late-night puppy video sessions into newly planted trees around the world. Every time you search “Corgi puppy waddle,” Ecosia donates 80% of their ad revenue from that search to partner organizations that plant trees in threatened environments around the world. (While not all tree-planting practices are good for the environment, Ecosia has been B Corporation certified for the past five years, which means they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance.) They also power servers from their very own solar farm, so there are no carbon emissions from your internet habit. Download the app on your phone or the Google Chrome plug-in now—it literally takes 30 seconds.
4. KNOW WHERE YOUR POLITICIANS STAND
Sunrise Movement is building political power by voting out corrupt politicians and voting in real leaders who will stand up for their communities and a Green New Deal. View their list of endorsements here.
According to Citizens’ Climate Lobby, members of Congress don’t hear enough from their constituents that climate change matters to them. Calling your senators and representative is the first step in building a relationship with your congressional offices and creating the political will needed to solve global warming. Not sure what to say? No problem. Click here for the names and numbers of your representatives and a suggested script for your calls, all based on your zip code.
6. CONSIDER SWITCHING YOUR ENERGY SOURCE
Apartment dwellers in dense urban areas may believe their personal carbon footprint is smaller than that of their suburban counterparts since their home takes up less square footage. But we’re not off the hook: buildings account for about 66% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions, and half of New Yorkers’ energy use happens at home, mainly for lighting, heating, air-conditioning, and stove cooking. And while apartment renters in any city can’t exactly throw some solar panels up on their fire escapes to reduce their personal carbon emissions, they can switch their energy source to a company that generates its electricity mostly from renewable sources like wind and solar. For New Yorkers, that means Con Edison will buy as much electricity from renewable energy companies as we ask them to. What you are doing is essentially demanding that Con Ed (or whoever your provider is) feed the grid with more clean energy, rather than fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. This is referred to as green power purchasing.
Opt for paperless billing! (It’s that simple.) If you haven’t already, make a pledge to yourself today to contact your card services and providers to go paperless.
Social distancing has prompted many of us to eat at home, but not all of us are chef material. Unsure of what to do with meals gone wrong? Try composting. It’s easier than you might think. My favorite compost bin is from MoMA. It fits perfectly on my countertop and has a replaceable filter that, along with circulating fresh air, helps suppress odors from food waste.
Reduce the amount of paper waste you use by instead choosing washable and reusable napkins and hand towels.
We’ve compiled a list of 29 must-reads here. Each book encourages you to think about small (and big) changes you can make to have a greater impact on climate and the environment.
11. GO THROUGH YOUR PRODUCTS
Unsure of how to spend all this extra time at home? This is the perfect opportunity to sort through your personal and household products. Look for keywords like “fragrance” and “SLS” and check your product safety on the Environmental Working Group Healthy Living App. Watch this video where Kourt and I go through ingredients to steer clear from so you can declutter your beauty essentials the clean way.
Knowledge is power. Add these educational movies to your watch list.
Additional actionable ways you can reduce your carbon footprint:
-Unplug electronics when you’re not using them. Once you get in the habit, it’ll become part of your daily routine to check all your outlets to ensure they are unplugged (if not in use).
-Opt for lightbulbs that save energy (like these or these). The next time a light goes out in your home, make an effort to buy an energy-efficient option. Making the swap can help you use up to 77% less energy compared to traditional bulbs.
-If you’re looking to update your wardrobe, buy and shop from second-hand stores. We’re fans of The Real Real—you’ll not only save money but also support sustainable shopping habits.
How do you plan to reduce waste and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle this year? We want to know in the comments on Instagram.