10 Ways For You to Celebrate Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day.

Do your bit for the Earth starting today! Small changes to your lifestyle and even a single daily habit can lead to some big wins for the Earth. Also, remember the key is being selfish. Yes, you heard that right. Think about your own well-being, your kids’ well-being. That’s it.

Be selfish and make these changes for yourself. You will be saving the earth with no more effort required!


1. Buy only stuff that you need.

We all know the hugely popular Marie Kondo credo by now - keep stuff that brings you joy, and throw out the rest. Well, That’s all good. You declutter your mind and space when you do that. But that doesn’t do anything about the clutter you add to our dear planet. To feel free, you throw out stuff. To be environmentally conscious, you dutifully sort stuff into donate, repurpose, recycle and refuse piles. Why expend your time and energy on so much sorting and sifting activities forever? Just buy less stuff! That will automatically free up physical space in your house and mental space in your mind. And it will reduce the clutter on this planet! Talk about win-wins!


2. Help in greening this earth!

When you plant a sapling, and look after it so it grows into a fine tree, you are doing your bit for this earth. Let’s get real, most of us don’t have enough time or attention spans anymore. Or the green thumb.  But this is one area where you can get more done if you set aside a small monthly budget to support tree plantation drives or organizations. These organizations have the resources and their primary purpose is greening the earth. Choose a good organization and support it.


3. Stop using single-use plastic bags

The easiest of and high impact ways to help this Earth is to remember to carry your own bag wherever you go. We urban dwellers have become so used to plastic bags being handed out by the dozen at grocery stores, food stalls and fruit vendors that we don’t give a second thought to them. Come home and conveniently dispose them off with next day’s trash. Good riddance and voila you have a clean house. But do you know what happens to millions of such bags everyday? Mountain of a problem that can all go away if we change a small habit of ours.


4. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails

Do you know that an email has become as much of a pollution problem as driving a car?  Hard to make the connection? An email that gets delivered to your inbox has to be routed to your inbox from the origin through many servers throughout the world. An average email during its “travel” releases 4 g of carbon into the atmosphere.

So, think about all the unread emails in your Gmail Inbox. (Also, the Unread emails do not count Promotions Tabs or any other tabs - emails that keep getting piled up without being read. So, for a typical person subscribed to lets say 20 mailing lists form their favorite stores and blogs that send out an email a day,  they receive (20 x 365) emails a year. That’s 29,500g or 295 kgs of carbon a year of incoming mail adds to a person’s carbon footprint, or the equivalent of “driving 250 miles in an average car”.


5. Reduce time on social media

The number of times you swipe down to refresh your feed determined how many requests are made to the server to send you the latest updates. And this is releasing a ton of carbon dioxide in the towns and far off lands where these data centers are housed.


6. Buy stuff that lasts a long time.

This video by the Economist highlights the cost of fast fashion. When you buy a cheap product, you save some money in the short term. But end up paying through your nose over the long run. Cheaper quality stuff breaks fast and you have to buy more of it. Again a reminder, do what’s best for yourself and you’ll take care of the Earth as well. More broken stuff equals more piles of crap on this Earth.


7. Buy from sustainable brands that support green causes

Businesses that squeeze every last bit to increase their margins often cut corners. Be it their labor policy or the quality of materials they use. Next time you buy from a brand, take a look at whether they take pride in going the extra mile. Look for a sustainable brand. When you buy something from these brands, you pay a premium. But hey, remember you can always buy less of some other stuff.


8. Recycle, don’t throw out stuff

When you throw out stuff, your house gets tidy but who is going to clean out the huge dumping ground outside every city limits? Did you know that very few things actually get recycled? Simply because something is recyclable does not mean it will get recycled magically.


9. Stretch Goal #1: Minimize live-streaming

This is a hard one…a really really hard one. Don’t binge watch on Netflix. Watching your favorite show on cable actually can be less harmful for the Earth than streaming it on Netflix. Or download your favorite movie instead of watching reruns on Netflix.


10. Stretch Goal #2: Change your commute

Ditch the cab for public transport. Or ride a bicycle to work. This one is not always practical, so you could instead live near your work. And walk to work? Hey these are stretch goals, remember!

Nobody’s perfect. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but try at least two of these suggestions to improve the quality of your life. The Earth will thank you for it Now isn’t that a good side-effect?

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