2020 tied with the warmest year on record, which previously was 2016. It is no surprise that global average temperatures continue to rise and will keep doing so until we intervene. We must highlight the importance of not confusing weather with climate. Earlier this year our friends at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) wrote a great piece explaining this, 4 reasons climate change is here, even though it’s cold.
This year President Biden will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. This is worth noting because the United States will reconvene the Major Economies Forum, which highlights the administration’s commitment to elevating climate both at home in the U.S. and abroad. The forum, launched in 2009 by President Obama, is aimed at facilitating candid dialogue among major emitting countries, including both developed and developing, to help advance efforts against climate change. Currently the United States is the second largest carbon emitter, only behind China.
While Earth Day comes once a year, we should celebrate it, and act in its best interest, year-round. Here are a few things you can adopt into your everyday life:
Water & Waste
- Turn off water while you brush your teeth or wash your hands (hi, 20 seconds)
- Ditch the plastic and invest in a reusable water bottle
- Waste less and carry reusable straws and cutlery with you
- Only wash clothes and dishes when you have a full load
- Here are 101 ways to conserve water for both individuals and large buildings
- Drive less. Work from home (and be sure to read our recent blog on saving money on energy bills while working from home), get some fresh air and take your bike, or carpool
- Drive slower & be gentle on your brakes for more efficient use of gas
- Take public transportation
- Make sure your tires are inflated and that your car is running efficiently
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
- Did you take up gardening during the pandemic? If so, compost! It’s an excellent, and free, natural fertilizer
- Think before you toss; you’ll be surprised how many items you can keep out of the trash by recycling or composting
- Shop at thrift stores and donate your clothes so they have a second life
- Use reusable products, such as washable zip lock bags, reusable produce & grocery bags, bee’s wrap instead of foil or saran wrap
Upgrade your energy use habits
- Switch to LED lightbulbs which use two-thirds less energy and last longer
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances. The Department of Energy hosts a number of efficient appliances, electronics, and tips that will help you save money and energy
- Upgrade to a programmable thermostat
- It’s no surprise we’re experiencing hotter summers, colder winters (see recent Texas freeze), and more intense storms and rainfall. By making sure your home is well insulated and efficient you’ll reduce indoor air loss and increase your home’s comfort and resilience
Earth Day Network is the global coordinator of Earth Day and they provide numerous ways to get involved.
Closer to home, we highlighted several events happening around Texas, both virtual as we continue to limit social interactions in an effort to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, and in the open outdoors. Here are a few ways you can take action:
Dallas is planting trees.
Woodlands 2021 Earth Day Green Up is removing litter from green spaces.
Houston is having environmental displays and learning opportunities spread out in the park, along with a farmer’s market.
Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is hosting an Earth Day Celebration.
Round Rock is hosting a cleanup of the Old Settlers Park creek as well as other activities, and has free giveaways.
Georgetown is offering Earth Day Seed Exchange and a kid’s free planting event.
No matter what your location is, here are 10 simple ways to reduce energy waste at home and at work!