This year, Earth Day is on April 22 - amid the COVID 19 quarantine. Giving the timing, I thought it might be appropriate to share the little slice of something good that has come out of this hideous pandemic as the result of everyone staying home during the quarantine. “Across China, levels of nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant produced by burning fossil fuels like gas, were down by as much as 30% in January, according to NASA satellite readings. With minimal cars on the road, Los Angeles’s notorious smog has lifted, giving way to clear blue skies and, according to Environmental Protection Agency data for March, better air quality than the city has experienced in almost 40 years. Carbon monoxide emissions are down by 50% in New York; the famed Venice canals are sparkling; and you can see the stars in Delhi, a city where people wore masks long before the coronavirus to protect themselves from thick car fumes and industrial exhaust. In the usually densely trafficked Nairobi, Mount Kenya can suddenly be seen towering 85 miles away—a sight so surreal, it sparked a disbelieving meme.” (Vogue, 2020)
So, as we celebrate Earth Day and prepare to come out of quarantine, it might be worthwhile to remember there are little things we can do everyday to help our environment. I’m sure you know by now that like most of you, my family likes to play in and around this wonderful world’s playground of mountains, lakes, rivers and oceans. I’m sure we would all love to experience the clear skies of this COVID era everyday, so here are some small lifestyle changes that you can do to help that won’t cause a disruption in your daily life, which is the point:
- Use recyclable bags to carry your groceries and other items and say “no” to plastic bags. More than 100,000 marine animals die every single year from getting tangled in plastic bags or ingesting them. One million plastic bags are used every single minute worldwide. They’re used for an average of five minutes, yet take 1,000 years to break down.
- Use dish towels or rags instead of paper towels. Toss them in with your weekly wash and you’re all set. I read an article recently that said by eliminating just one roll of 70-sheets of virgin fibre paper towels, we’d save 544,000 trees from the chainsaws every year.
- Decreasing your meat intake by just one burger a week can result in the same environmental benefit as taking your car off the road for 320 miles! Similarly, reducing your dairy can also confer significant health benefits, reducing fat intake and slashing risk factors for chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease or type-2 diabetes. Going Vegetarian is obviously not an option for most, but a meal here or there can help. If you need some inspiration, check out our Vegan Bowls for Vegan Souls Cookbook for some fun new recipes.
- Use reusable Beeswax Food Wraps instead of plastic wrap, not only is it good for the environment, it will save you money in the long-run.
- Wear natural fibers - others contain plastics. Consider buying clothes from a consignment shop or look for items like our sustainable cottons like this Beach Coverups/Tunic.
- Carry your own utensils, cups and reusable water bottle. “If you went a year without buying even one plastic bottle, you’d single-handedly save over 7,000 litres of water. The U.S. uses 40 million plastic utensils each year. In the UK, plastic cutlery is used for seven minutes before being discarded. Seven minutes- and it's never biodegrade. And as for the bottles, it takes seven litres of water to make one plastic water bottle. It’s estimated that each person in the UK uses approximately 200 water bottles each year, so if you went a year without buying even one plastic bottle, you’d single-handedly save over 7,000 litres of water.” (Somerville, 2019)
We can all make a difference in the air we breathe and in helping to keep our waterways clean. Let’s all try to do a little something…
Chris and The Piper and Dune Family
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Sources: https://www.vogue.com/article/coronavirus-environmental-impact-pollution, 2020; https://www.theguardian.com/profile/madeleine-somerville
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