Today is Earth Day! So what things could you be doing to be greener?
Earth Day takes place on April 22, 2015 and was originally launched in April 1970 as a way of raising awareness of green issues across the globe.
Now it’s estimated that some 1 billion people do something to mark Earth Day every year making it the largest civic observance in the world.
And away from the day itself, the Earth Day Network – some 22,000 partners in 192 countries – work hard to promote green economic policies at home and abroad as well as informing and energizing populations so they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children.
So what can you do to contribute? Here’s some of my top ten tips for being greener at home and away:
- Telly still on and no-one’s watching? Switch it off. Don’t leave it on standby as this still uses energy, switch it off at the plug. The same goes for other electrical products including lights, phone chargers, hair straighteners and home computers. Apart from the money you’ll save (remember ever penny counts!), you’ll also be reducing the risk of a fire.
- It’s not rocket science, but some people will still insist on leaving windows and doors open when it’s blowing a gale outside. If you’re feeling a draught, close them. Draught getting under the door? Do what your granny did and get a draught excluder…they do work! Also, dress for the weather. It’s unbelievable, but there are some folk who insist on walking around in summer clothes when it’s below zero outside. Dress appropriately for the weather and dress in layers so that if you are too hot or cold you can put on or take off a cardie or jumper. You do not have to increase the temperature of the room too much, it’s amazing what wearing a vest and a cardigan can do…okay you might feel you’ve turned into the aforementioned granny, but who’s to know and you’ll be nice and snuggly!
- If you need to go out, layer up. Wear hat, scarves, gloves, thermal underwear…it all helps. And don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear too!
- Regarding your house – insulate your attic space, lag pipes and look at other ways to insulate. Did you know you could possibly get a grant to put insulation in your roof, a new boiler or cavity wall insulation in your home? See: www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures/overview for more information.
- Salads and cold meats are for the summer. It’s winter, stick to warming soups and stews for your main meals. There’s nothing like a hot meal to warm you up.There are lots of places where you can get good free recipes for warming winter fare including Love Food, Hate Waste which will give you the correct portion sizes so you’llnot waste food too! If you have a freezer, you can also save energy by cooking your meals in batches and freezing them (once they have cooled). This means you are using your oven or stove top to make a few meals at once. This is a particularly good way to do things like mince, stews and Bolognese sauces. Then you have healthy, nourishing meals ready to defrost for a future meal. Talking of freezers, did you know that it’s more energy efficient to fill your freezer so that it’s not just freezing air? Regarding your fridge, air needs to circulate so it’s more energy efficient to not overfill your fridge.
- Plan your meals that way you only buy enough food for your needs and none will be wasted.
- Don’t hibernate, get out and walk. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should stay indoors all the time. Get out during the day (remembering to turn off any electrical goods such as the telly or computer) and go for a brisk walk. Not only will you be benefitting physically from this, but a walk outdoors will also lift your mood. With those two combined, you are less likely to become ill over the winter months. Do your walk with a friend, start up a walking group, go window shopping on yourown. Just get out and keep active. Note: leave the car at home! Challenge yourself to walk every short journey (less than a mile) and leave the car at home, saving on petrol and pollution.
- Save water by showering rather than taking a bath – this saves a lot of water. Make sure your dishwasher (if you have one) and washing machines are full before putting them on. Put water hippos (you can make your own by filling a plastic bottle with water or sand and sealing it) in your toilet cisterns so that less water is used during each flush. Also, don’t run the tap for the entire time you brush your teeth, just when rinsing your brush.
- Got some clothes or a household item you no longer want? Well there are lots of things you could do with them rather than throwing them out in the rubbish. Clothes and shoes – upcycle, donate to charity, give to a friend, have a clothes swapping event. Furniture, books, CDs, DVDs and other household items – donate to charity or give to a homeless organisation. Old towels – cut up to use as household cloths. These can then be washed in a hot cycle in your washing machine and used again and again. Old newspapers – use to line the bottom of animal cages (remember to remove any staples), recycle, use as ‘funky’ wrapping paper, use to make seed pots (see online how to do this).
- Close curtains as soon as it starts getting dark to conserve heat within the house. If you can, put up heavy winter curtains. These are expensive but it’s amazing the difference they make to the temperature of a room. Can’t afford new curtains? Buy secondhand from charity shops or jumble sales. If you don’t like the pattern you can always use them to line existing curtains.
- At 4.6 billion years old, life has only existed on the Earth for the last 150 million to 200 million years.
- Earth is the third planet from the sun and is the fifth largest planet in our solar system.
- It has an average diameter of 7,926 miles and is the only planet in our solar system to have water in its three states: solid (ice), liquid (sea, rain, rivers etc) and gas (clouds).
- The Earth orbits the Sun in 356 and a quarter days and travels at 66,700 miles an hour.
- Its core is molten and is 7,500 degrees hotter than the surface of the sun.
- Only 29% of the surface is actually ‘earth.’ The rest of the planet’s surface (71%) is made up of water.
- And finally Earth is the only planet in our Solar System not to be named after a mythical God.