Well, history was made again this past weekend. Earth Hour 2010 took place around the world at 8:30pm (local time) on Saturday, March 27th. I hope you took part, as Earth Hour was designed to unite millions of people around the globe so they could show their support to “turn the lights off on pollution and climate change and create a cleaner, safer, more secure future“. It was also a great way for many to give their environmental New Year’s resolutions a boost or kick start!
Earth Hour was originally conceived by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). They started it as a way to give the general public, not only a raised awareness on the impacts of climate change but to show them that by each person, individually and as a group, can make a positive impact.
Take a look at a few of the photos Flickr collected from Earth Hour 2010. You can also check out over 2000 photos people have uploaded to the Flickr Earth Hour 2010 group or some of the “on” and “off” photos WWF had to share. Here are just a few photos and a video you might enjoy:
Town Hall, Octagon Dunedin, NZ – photo taken by Samuel Mann via Flickr
Budapest, Hungary – photo taken by anee.baba via Flickr
But, now that Earth Hour 2010 is over, what are you going to do for the rest of the year? You don’t want your environmental efforts or awareness to stop after just one hour.
So let me give you a few tips/ideas that might help jump-start your environmental activities:
1) Since Spring is in the air, now is a great time to start working on your garden. What are you planting this year? Are you going to have an indoor or an outdoor garden? Taking the time to figure out what you want to plant (vegetables, herbs, flowers, etc) and where is usually a good first step.
If you need some help, a friend of mine from high school actually came up with these “Cranberry Compost Tea bags” and yes, she is an actual cranberry farmer! I think that’s a pretty good way to use their entire cranberry crop, from start to finish.
Getting outdoors is a great way to not only get some exercise and fresh air, but it also gives you a chance to see/enjoy the beauty only nature can supply. Who wouldn’t want to ensure that beauty stays around, right?!
4) Decide to make a change in your regular transportation habits this year. If you usually drive to work every day, figure out how you can car-pool. Maybe public transportation is a good option. If you own a gas-guzzling car, try using a proven fuel additive to help lower your emissions. If you are looking at buying a car this year, check out the 2010 Fuel Economy Guide before you do. It’s got some great information, including tax incentives.
5) Do yourself and your home a favor and get your Spring cleaning done. Getting rid of the dust, allergens and other toxins that have gathered up over the Winter months is key. Don’t forget to make your own cleaning supplies too – it’s less expensive and you don’t add in new chemicals on top of the ones you are trying to remove.
Once you are done with your cleaning – or even while you are doing your cleaning – get a few houseplants. Houseplants are a perfect way to not only bring a little bit of nature indoors, but they are a smart way to improve indoor air quality. Also don’t forget to open some windows and let the fresh air in.
6) See if you have any local growers near you for fresh fruits and vegetables. In the U.S. you can go to localharvest.org to find local farmer’s markets, family farms, co-ops and other places nearby where you can purchase sustainably-grown foods.
If you grow some of your own fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. you might consider trading crops with your neighbors. Maybe you grow carrots and they grow cucumbers, then you share your crops with each other. A great way to get a variety of fresh foods without needing to have a large garden.
7) Take 1 minute and go to Billion Acts of Green to commit to one green action you are going to take. Don’t worry, if you can’t think of anything off the top of your head, they even have a drop-down list of green acts to choose from. What are you waiting for?
8 ) Last but definitely not least, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd, 2010. It’s not something you are going to want to miss. Just take a moment to visit the Earth Day Network website and see what activities are already planned or get information to plan your own activity. Find out what your friends are up to as well – maybe you can join forces!
Hopefully those are a few tips you can use to kick start your environmental actions for the rest of the year. I know there are many more things you can do and I’d love to hear what actions you are taking to kick-start a more environmentally-friendly year!