Make the day really mean something with our green guidebook, which includes everything from tips and strategies to recipes and projects.
Majora Carter, Founder of Sustainable South Bronx, Says...
Think before you toss. Really think.
Before you throw something out or recycle it, take a moment to consider where it’s going to end up and how it’s going to get there. Chances are it will be placed on a diesel truck and dumped in a poor neighborhood, next to a fossil-fuel-burning power plant. It doesn’t matter that you are “recycling” or that your banana peel is “organic” -- it all ends up in the same place. Think about how to divert it from the waste stream altogether, whether by composting or finding a second use for it. And hold that image in your head every time you buy something. Once you can visualize that daily waste stream and all the energy used to support it, and you can imagine the impact on the people who live alongside it every day, you’ll understand environmental justice a little better.
Cook your kitchen scraps.
You can make something delicious out of everything from carrot tops and beet greens to fennel fronds and mushroom stems. Watch our deputy food editor Greg Lofts transform broccoli stalks into a sensational salad.
More Ways to Go Green in the Kitchen
Join a community garden.
Grow fresh vegetables and meet your neighbors at the same time! Community gardens are as much about beautifying and preserving the land as they are about strengthening local networks. For people of all ages, they serve as a natural classroom to demonstrate where food comes from and what it takes to nurture plants and trees. They also act as“pocket parks” -- green spaces that provide shade, cleaner air, and a place to gather. (Find one near you at communitygarden.org.)
Eric Ryan, cofounder of Method Home-Cleaning Products, says...
Plant a tree.
Commit to planting a tree in your yard or neighborhood each year. A properly placed tree can reduce your cooling costs in the summer and improve the overall health, aesthetic, and value of your home. Look for these species, because they’re some of the best at absorbing and storing carbon dioxide: horse chestnut, black walnut, white pine, Douglas fir, and red oak.
More Ways to Go Green at Home
Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, Says...
Earth Day grew out of a period in our history when rivers were on fire, when you couldn't see across the street because of the smog, when we started to notice environmentally related birth defects. These were the signs of 150 years of industrialization going south, and the problems were obvious. Look, changing a lightbulb might sound silly, but think back to World War II, when everyone became a cog in the wheel and played their part. Women like my mother worked in tire factories. People bought war bonds. It was millions of people doing the right thing. And that's what needs to happen now, because this is a war -- a war against flagrant abuse of resources, a war against greenhouse gases. Everyone needs to play a part.
Do something outside.
We need to think of nature as our living room. You don’t have to be an uberadventurer; just step out your back door. Sit in a hammock and enjoy the fresh air. Keep a blanket in your car for impromptu picnics. It doesn’t matter what you do outside. Just get out there.