On April 26-27th, we were fortunate to have Earth Day Celebrations held in downtown Beaver Dam. I was so happy to be able to take in the vendors and the market. The breeze was blowing as the American Flag made a nice back drop on my way to the events. I was so thrilled that I could take this in.
I had read Mark Molldrem’s article, “Be a Good Caretaker of Our Home”, and reflected on the words he used to describe the earth and what being a caretaker meant. “Other words that help fill out an understanding of what it means to be a caretaker are custodian, steward, manager and supervisor. What all these words have in common is the sense that there is a responsibility that one has for something on behalf of another.”
This responsibility is a huge one in which all of us should not take lightly.
Why am I talking about this, a month after Earth Day?
I feel very strongly that we should recycle Earth Day- Every Day! While I am grateful for all the hard work that went in the festivities of that weekend, they are just scratching the surface of what our responsibility is on a day to day basis. Living with awareness of what footprints we leave on this planet is a daily task.
Here are a few Earth Day facts, courtesy of www.planetpals.com :
· The garbage in a landfill stays for about 30 years.
· Each person throws away approximately four pounds of garbage every day.
· More than 1/3 of all energy is used by people at home
· Most families throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year
· We each use about 12,000 gallons of water every year
· 1/3 of all water is used to flush the toilet.
· The 500 million automobiles on earth burn an average of 2 gallons of fuel a day.
· The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for four hours
· For every 2000 pounds of paper (1 ton) recycled, we save 7,000 gallons of water free from chemicals.
· Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp, and can save many trees
· The amount of wood and paper we throw away is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years
· It takes 90% less energy to recycle aluminum cans than to make new ones
· 84 percent of all household waste can be recycled.
· One gallon of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water, so dispose of properly!
Here is an example of the water we use every day
- 3-7 gallons for toilet
- 25-30 gallons for tub
- 50-70 gallons for a 10 minute shower
- 1 washing machine load uses 25-40 gallons
- 1 dishwasher load uses 9-12 gallons
Here is an example of how long it takes some things take to break down:
- plastics take 500 years
- aluminum cans take 500 years
- organic materials, take 6 months
- cotton, rags, paper take 6 months
Is your mind blown? Mine is. Here are some simple steps that you need to do daily as a caretaker of our planet that can make a difference:
1. Be mindful of the garbage you are throwing away. Can it be recycled? Can it be repurposed? Can it be donated?
2. Turn off and UNPLUG all devices in your home that are running needlessly all the time, especially when you aren’t home.
3. Walk to your destinations any time you can and save on fuel. If you can’t walk, consider carpooling before driving by yourself.
4. When walking around your neighborhood, or when out and about, if you see litter lying around, pick it up! Every little bit makes a difference.
5. Find out about all energy saver appliances in your house and the proper way to use them.
6. Purchase goods that are made out of recycled materials.
7. Plant a garden. Create a compost pile in your yard.
8. Gather rain water and use to keep your plants in good health.
9. Visit www.planetpals.com for a complete list of things you can do.
It takes about 6 weeks to create a habit, so get ready to dedicate yourself!
Thanks again to Nature’s Pathways Magazine, Northwoods Casket Co., Black Waters Coffee, Reconnect Spiritual Sanctuary, American National Bank and Matt Weineke Landscaping for creating our local event. Thanks also to Michelle Litzer Photography for the photo.