The theme for Earth Day 2021 is “Restore the Earth.” When something is restored, it is brought back to an earlier and better condition. When it comes to restoring something as massive as the planet, it’s going to take all of us to get it done. Here are some actions we can all take to help cool the climate, reduce pollution and litter, and help wildlife thrive. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, it will take time to restore our planet, but at the very least, we can leave the Earth in better condition for future generations by taking just a few simple actions today.
Cool it! Plant some trees
The science is clear, the Earth is getting hotter, and that comes with disastrous consequences. Excessive heat is caused by carbon in the atmosphere retaining heat from the sun. The simple fix is to remove some carbon from the atmosphere. Thankfully, nature has supplied us with simple yet effective carbon capture devices, trees.
You can plant trees in your own yard, volunteer with reforesting organizations to help them plant trees, or donate to The Canopy Project. If you choose to donate, one tree will be planted for every dollar donated.
Improve the Earth’s health by improving your own
Many people include a lot of meat in their diet, too much in fact for good health. You don’t have to cut meat out entirely, instead consider switching to a diet such as The Mediterranean Diet This simple yet delicious diet has been shown in studies to help with weight loss, prevent heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes. Meat is expensive and its production is carbon-intensive. By simply reducing the amount of meat in your diet, you will improve your health and the Earths at the same time! [Author’s note: I switched to the Mediterranean diet two years ago and I’ve found I feel better and have more energy.]
Minimize your use of electricity in the evening
The amount of energy we use varies throughout the day, but it peaks in the evening between 5 and 6 PM. That peak usage forces the use of fossil fuel power plants. You can help reduce the need for fossil fuel usage by minimizing your electricity consumption in the evenings. Try to run major appliances during the day. If you have solar power for your home, you’ll be able to save by using the electricity that your system produces by running major appliances during the day.
In dry climates, consider evaporative cooling
When it gets hot, the air conditioning comes on. Air conditioning uses a lot of power, thankfully there is a more energy-efficient alternative, evaporative cooling. Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, use water to absorb heat. A fan blows air through a type of mesh that has water running through it. That causes the water to evaporate, which in turn cools the air. On a dry, hot, day, a swamp cooler may be able to cool the air by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. That can cool one hundred degree temperatures down into the ’80s. Evaporative cooling won’t cool the air as much as an air conditioner, but it uses a lot less electricity. The only downside to a swamp cooler is that it doesn’t work when it is humid.
[Author’s note: I use a swamp cooler in my southern California home]
Use green energy
Going solar is one of the biggest things you can do to help restore the Earth. You can continue to power your home using the greenest energy possible even after the sun goes down by choosing an electricity provider that uses mostly renewable energy. If you have home solar, you can also consider installing home batteries that can power your home in the evenings. In California, electric rates are highest in the evenings, batteries can help you avoid those expensive peak rates and they provide power to your home in blackouts.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair
Restoring the earth requires more than just smart energy usage. We need to stop using more resources than the Earth can sustainably provide. Try to avoid single-use plastic bags. Keep reusable bags in your car so they are convenient for you to use. One nice bonus of reusing bags is that if you have a ‘plastic monster’ under your sink, or lurking in some cabinet, you can stop it from growing by reusing your plastic bags. Avoid single-use plastic bags whenever possible, and recycle the ones you can’t avoid.
Fix broken things, fix the planet
Modern society has been characterized as a “throw-away” society. One big reason for this is we’ve stopped fixing things. Before you decide to throw something away, try to find out if it can be fixed. If you can fix something yourself, you might even save money over buying something new.
Public pressure in recent years has led to carbon reduction efforts at the national, state, and local levels. It has even made some companies choose to reduce their carbon footprint. Calling or writing your elected representatives, petitioning companies, and demanding action may not seem like it could do much, but if we all do it, a lot will get done. It has worked and if we all demand action, it will work.
Home solar power is carbon negative
It takes just two years for a solar panel to generate enough electricity to cover the carbon used to manufacture, distribute, and install that solar panel. A Freedom Forever solar system is guaranteed to produce reliable solar power for 25 years. The oldest solar system in America is about 40 years old and it still works! By going solar, you automatically make a long-term commitment to cutting carbon emissions. By choosing to use your solar power wisely, you may also cut your utility bills. It’s a win for you and it’s a win for the Earth. Consider going solar and making your own long-term commitment to restore the Earth today.