The environment is always there for us: providing food, goods, peace, and joy. And that's a pretty great relationship if you ask us. Why not allocate some love in this deserving direction this Valentine's Day. Here are 5 ways how:
1. Start a compost. Every day organic material is sent to landfills, prohibiting the biological decomposition of this waste from occurring. When decomposition occurs through composting and anaerobic digestion, organic material can be reused as fertilizer. Instead of allowing this natural process to occur, when organic waste ends up in landfills it is the major contributor to methane emissions (a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide). By separating your organic waste such as fruit and veggies that are leftover from cooking, you be helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And why not start with those Valentine's Day flowers once they start withering? Check out our post "To Compost or Not to Compost... A Helpful List" to learn more about the benefits and tips on composting.
2. Reduce your use of plastics. Showing your love does take some compromise which can sometimes be difficult, but using glass or reusable containers instead of single-use plastic is doable and worth the investment. Plastic bags and water bottles are used everyday and often end up in our waterways. For example, humans release between 5.3- 14 million tons of plastic into the ocean each year. This is a deal breaker. Instead, go reusable whenever you can. You can even completely avoid plastic packaging by buying items such as beans, nuts, and granola from bulk bins at grocery stores with reusable containers- now that's love and dedication right there.
3. Use less water. Water is in shorter supply than you probably realize, and climate change will only strain resources further. Using water sparingly while brushing your teeth, and washing your hands and dishes is the first step to showing your commitment to the environment. However, we can get a little more creative than that. Washing clothes in cold water saves water and helps clothes last longer. If you need to wait for water to heat up, collect and save the water to use it for watering plants. And using less water reduces your water and electric bills, that's a win-win.
4. Reduce your tech carbon footprint. Love is hi-tech these days, thus our appreciation for the environment should be too. By deleting unnecessary emails and unsubscribing to unwanted emails, you can reduce the servers' energy use. Between charging cell phones, tablets, and computers we are constantly pulling electricity from the grid, so how about use powerstrips to easily shut off the electricity demand on multiple devices when you don't need it? Changing bad habits can salvage any relationship, and that includes ours with the environment. Getting into this habit of taking only what you need will make you feel good and will put less stress on our natural resources.
5. Watch and reduce your food waste. It is easy to go all out this year, but try to order or make what you are actually going to eat. Food waste is one of Americans' biggest pitfalls: in 2012 Americans threw away 35 million tons of food. That is three times the amount in 1960, and it just ends up in landfills. If you don't finish your Valentine's meal be sure to package it up for later. Leftovers can be transformed into new meals by combining with fresh ingredients and thinking outside the box. Let's just address this problem at the roots.
The environment stays true to us even when our bad habits and economic system threatens the balance. Nature hasn't given up on us yet. Let's show our love and appreciation for the environment and keep it around for a while -- there is no breaking up and getting back together.