The first EARTH DAY was April 22, 1970. Many consider this the birth of modern conservationism and the “green” movement. The first Earth Day and the environmentalists of the time capitalized on American and global consciousness, capturing the attention of an already active and aware populace. Across the U.S., an estimated 20 million people attended and participated in various Earth Day activities, rallies, and gatherings. On that morning, I boarded a bus with my classmates and headed over to the local reservoir to pick up trash and clear the area of debris.
Some basic conservation measures considered “classic” today were first suggested in conjunction with the first Earth Day – “To help out globally, think locally.” We’ve stated that in some earlier blog posts. Here are some of those “classic” practices – remember these suggestions first surfaced in the 1970’s:
- Leave your car at home and take public transportation at least twice each week. If possible, walk or bike to work, school, or to run errands. You alone could reduce emissions by up to 2 tons a year!
- Unplug dormant or unused electronics and electric devices. This not only saves energy, but $$$ as well.
- When making home improvements, look for products that have low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) found in paints and colorants. Upgrade to energy saver appliances and those with low PVC (polyvinyl chloride) contaminants.
- Donate old toys and games to family shelters and senior centers; donate books to veterans’ hospitals, nursing homes and libraries.
- Share magazines among friends with similar interests, then have the last “reader” place them in a recycling bin.
- Turn off lights when leaving a room; raise shades and pull back drapes to let in more natural light. Letting in natural light also lets in the warmth of the sun, reducing the need for radiated heat in the home, saving energy and $$.
- Cut down on blow dryer use (again, this first appeared in the ‘70s when that Farrah Fawcett hair was so popular) to conserve energy. A blow dryer (circa 1970’s) could use as many watts of electricity as a clothes dryer.
- Abandon the polyester (a petroleum-based fabric) and choose clothes made of natural and eco-friendly fibers, like cotton and linen.
- Save energy at the gym or health club – leave the treadmills, stair steppers and stationary bikes for the great outdoors: walk, run, bike, and hike.
On April 22 – and every day – celebrate the earth and help to improve your environment. As they said in the ‘70’s: “Save the planet. It’s the only one we have.”
Johnny Appleseed Inspired is written by our contributing editor, Terri Grover-Miller