April 22 marks the anniversary of the beginning of the modern movement to protect and preserve the environment. The first Earth Day was held in 1970 when several individuals worked together to inspire over 20 million Americans to unite and take steps to address environmental concerns. Because of the success of Earth Day and the support of both Republican and Democratic leaders by the end of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency had been established. This success also led to the passage of other crucial environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

In 1990, there was a push to make Earth Day a globally recognized event. This time over 200 million people in 141 countries united to address environmental concerns. Since that time, Earth Day has been celebrated each year with the millions of participants uniting to advocate for protecting our planet.

Many environmentalists focus on the three Rs; reduce, reuse, and recycle. In honor of the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, here are some actions you can take to help you reduce, reuse, and recycle:

  1. Conserve water.
    • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. This can help save up to five gallons of water a day.
    • Only run the washer when you have a full load of laundry. Also, consider adjusting the water temperature from hot to warm to save on energy usage and costs.
  2. Shop wisely.
    • Shop virtually and ditch the car entirely. If you need to shop in a store bring a reusable shopping bag with you.
    • Buy second hand where you can. Things that have short usage periods due to growth, such as bikes, can be bought secondhand in great condition and at a much lower cost. This will save you money and reduce packaging materials.
  3. Lights off.
    • Use long-lasting energy efficient light bulbs so that you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave the room.
  4. Go paperless.
    • The average person can receive up to forty pounds of junk mail per year. Register for services that will reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.
    • Another way to reduce your impact on the environment is to cut down on paper. Where possible you should cancel paper statements and opt to receive online statements and bills.
  5. Flex your green thumb.
    • More and more people are growing their own food at home. Cultivating a backyard garden might be impractical for everyone but even apartment dwellers can grow herbs and vegetables in indoor planters.
  6. Go green.
    • Plant a tree. Trees can help save energy, clean the air, and help reduce the effects of climate change.

Reducing your carbon footprint can seem like a daunting and impossible task. However, positive impacts can and will occur if everyone works together to make small changes. So try one of these new habits and start making a difference today.

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