The first Earth Day was in 1970 when I was in elementary school. The only thing I remember is being on the Marina Green and pushing around a huge ball that looked like the Earth. I wasnít quite sure what we were doing that for, but it got us out of class. Also, it was at about that time that we started to bundle our old newspapers with twine, an extra chore, the benefit of which was lost on me at the time.
Now, of course, recycling is second nature for most of us, though I do break into a sweat when faced with three or four separate containers asking me to sort my refuse Ė paper, cans and bottles, compost, and the dreaded ďLandfill.Ē Do dirty paper plates go in paper or compost? Aghhh, what if I get it wrong and the planet explodes because of me?!
There are a number of simple things we can all do to help our environment Ė the hard part is remembering to do them.
Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying water in plastic bottles. Thereís nothing wrong with the tap water around here Ė and itís free! I do have a refillable water bottle, but of course I often leave it at home. Doh!
Then thereís the obvious one Ė donít drive so much. Iím not very good at this. It would mean not getting out of Kenwood much, which actually doesnít sound so bad now that I think about it.
Donít wash your hair so often. (Chemicals from shampoos going into waterways and all that). Since I donít have any hair, Iím all over this one. Done.
Use your dishwasher (when itís full) instead of rinsing and washing by hand. Our dogs like to take a first crack at dirty plates, and they do a pretty good job, though it does raise some eyebrows with dinner guests.
Donít use more than one paper napkin. Iíve been known to take a wad of paper napkins when really one would do. After all, Iím a pretty neat eater, right? Donít answer that.
Turn off the lights! Iíve gotten a lot better at this ever since I married the Empress of Electricity Efficiency. Oh, and change out those incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents while youíre at it.
Compost, compost, compost. Our family has been good at this over the years, though emptying the can is a pretty icky job. Now that all our kids are out of the house, thereís only one person left holding the short straw. Guess who.
And speaking of straws, instead of using a plastic or wooden stick, stir your coffee with a piece of dry pasta instead. Probably not rigatoni or fusilli though.
Remember, a lot of people doing little things can make a big difference, so do what you can. Happy Earth Day and beyond! And remember, just one napkin. Iím watching.