Earth Day 2016 is quickly approaching as April 22 is just around the corner! It’s more important to celebrate Earth Day this year than ever before. Over the past few decades, we have made significant progress cleaning up the air and water in the United States. However, as upwards of seven billion people inhabit the Earth, we continue to stretch the carrying capacity of global resources. Weather extremes are increasing, unregulated pollution flows across national borders and into the oceans, and people rely more heavily on natural gas, coal, and petroleum each year. It’s up to us to reverse these alarming trends before it’s too late.
Keeping the Environment Healthy
There are two key steps every American should take for Earth Day 2016. The first step is to plant a tree. Land development, poor forest management, and deforestation contribute to the loss of more than 15 million trees annually. If every person on Earth planted a tree, we’d have 7.8 billion new trees. Planting trees protects global biodiversity, supports local economies, and helps combat pollution and climate change while inspiring more people to join the movement to improve the planet.
Managing Energy Resources Effectively
The second step is to commit to lowering energy use and improving the energy efficiency of your home. Reducing energy use saves you money and decreases the demand for fossil fuels, including natural gas, coal, and oil. When you burn less fossil fuel, you reduce carbon dioxide emission, which contributes to pollution and global warming. Making a few simple changes to your home energy use will reduce your carbon dioxide emission, and consequently your energy bill will significantly decrease.
Turn down your water heater thermostat and refrigerator settings, only run full dishwasher and washing machine loads, and set washing machine loads to cold or warm instead of hot. Whenever possible, purchase compact fluorescent light bulbs. Configure frequently used electronic devices on power strips to switch them off completely when they aren’t in use. When you make home improvements, choose features that increase the efficiency of your home, such as Energy Star appliances, double pane windows, and wall and ceiling insulation.
Before all else, this year begins the five-year countdown to Earth Day’s 50th; let us pledge for our planet’s environmental health and keep going till we have one tree for every person on the planet!