With an increased focus on sustainability and making eco-friendly choices on the rise due to climate change, it's no wonder folks are looking to take the necessary steps to be environmentally conscious as they go about their daily lives and take in the splendor of nature. In honor of Earth Day, consider these ways to celebrate and steps you can take towards a healthier environment.
JOIN OR ORGANIZE A NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP
Unfortunately, there's often litter found along the sidewalks and in parks, especially after the snow melts. Consider heading out to do a solo cleanup day! You could even make a day of it and gather some friends to conduct a cleanup of your neighborhood or nearby park and get some food and drinks afterwards to celebrate your good deed. While you could certainly organize a bigger cleanup event, you don't have to in order to have real impact on your neighborhood. Either way, you can feel good about helping to prevent trash and litter from hurting wildlife and causing soil contamination and ending up in our sewers and waterways.
Remember to put on some sunscreen and gather your supplies: Gloves, trash grabbers, trash and recycling bags, closed-toed shoes, water to stay hydrated and some clothes you don't mind getting a little dirty. Of course, be sure to contact your local Public Works Department to learn about disposal of any hazardous waste.
IMPROVE YOUR PERSONAL SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS
From the smaller moments to bigger actions, take time to ponder what steps you could take to lead a more sustainable life. This could be anything from walking and biking more often instead of driving, to choosing to use less single-use plastic items, to skipping housekeeping while traveling. Whatever small steps you take can help add up to a greater impact over time.
CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Make your voice heard and reach out to your local representatives and senators! As one of their constituents, make sure they know where you stand on issues that affect the environment, climate and the community. Ask what they're doing to help improve sustainability on a local level. By reaching out, you can help play a part in influencing future policy that makes the environment and a more sustainable future a priority.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.