In an era of heightened awareness for sustainability and care for the earth, Earth Day means many things to many people. Here, in Belize, the celebration of Earth Day is a reminder of how fragile our planet is, but also how taking care of our immediate space will greatly impact the rest of the world.
The things that can positively or negatively affect our ecosystems are truly simple everyday choices. Sure, we may not be able to revolutionize entire cities with energy solutions, but small choices like opting out of single-use plastics (we are working to eliminate these at the resort), turning lights and A/C off when you don't need it and trying to source your food locally, you can make a local impact on a global cause. Read more below on 10-Tips for Eco-friendly habits!
- 1. Turn it off – Our parents always told us, "Turn off the TV!" or "Turn off the lights when you leave the room!" It usually was to save them on their energy bill. Now it is even more important. Some additional places to remember this practice is when leaving office spaces and hotel rooms.
- 2. Switch to renewables – You can determine the supply of renewables such as renewable energy by demanding it of your local utility company. Kassie Rohrbach is deputy director of "Ready for 100," a Sierra Club campaign helping mobilize people to demand community-wide clean energy, is cited in a recent article, "Citizens demand for their own homes and towns can help build a clean energy economy on a much larger scale."
4. Don't waste food or compost when you can – Organic matter turns into dirt that can either then be used for fill or also used as a wonderfully nutrient-rich base for planting.
5. Recycle everything – However if you can opt for compostable, use those instead as recycling is not always a safe fall back. We used to think that recycling would solve the world's trash problem. Only making selective choices on what to buy in containers will accomplish that.
6. Drive Less - If you can make the journey by foot, bike or public transport, then do it. Driving, unless you're in an electric vehicle, isn't very eco-friendly and can really add to your carbon footprint. When you do have to drive, make sure that you get the most out of your vehicle by keeping the speed down, ensuring tires are properly inflated and that the engine is running smoothly.
7. Try to cut out plastic – This may sound redundant but it is worth the double mention. Cutting out plastics will not only clean up our land and shorelines, it will reduce the amount of energy used to create the plastic and also to recycle it if it gets to that point. Multiple use containers and just shopping in bulk without needing a container (I.e. for produce) is a great way to reduce the impact you have with the trash you create
8. Use eco-friendly cleaning products – Remember CFCs? They have since been banned, but there are thousands of other toxic chemicals used in cleaning agents. Try to opt for biodegradable and plant-based cleaners on your next shopping trip.
9. Try reducing your consumption of meat and non-native fish. - Even if it's just for two or three days a week - reducing your demand on non local meats can have quite a significant impact on reducing your carbon footprint.
9. Buy local – gogreen.com has many reasons why buying local is a good eco-friendly idea. To name one, buying local reduces your food miles: By shopping locally, you are purchasing goods produced in your local community. Conversely, when you shop at the grocery store, many of the food items you buy travel over 1500 miles to reach your plate. By cutting down on these miles, you are reducing the environmental impact of your food. Local food doesn't create large carbon footprints through overseas plane travel or long truck trips. This cuts down on fuel consumption and air pollution. There isn't a need for shipping facilities, packing facilities or refrigeration.
10. Grow your own - Growing your own veg isn't just a good way to save money, it's also a great way to cut down your carbon footprint and be eco-friendly. Don't have any outside space? Windowsill boxes are a great way to brighten up your view, filter the air coming into your home and offer plenty of space for herbs and small vegetable patches.
Together we can be the change we wish to see in the world and help to preserve this incredible planet!