At Gaia Herbs, our herbal products have supported the Earth and its inhabitants since 1987. It's a relationship we take seriously, so every day is Earth Day for us. But each year we appreciate the reminder to celebrate with others and share our reverence for Mother Earth.
So in honor of Mother Earth, today and every day, we wanted to share some of our favorite ways to lighten our footprints and live little greener. Because in the words of Antoine de Saint Exupéry from The Little Prince: "It's a question of discipline. When you've finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend to your planet."
- Be mindful with your water usage. Turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth or washing your face.
- Buy in bulk to avoid waste and reduce packaging. At some stores, you can even bring your own containers.
- If you are boiling water for tea, only heat up what you need. Most of us fill up the whole kettle for just one cup and let most of it go to waste.
- Place a brick in your toilet tank. It will still take care of business and flush as needed, only with a half-gallon less water.
- Chargers are notorious energy bandits. Unplug them and turn off power strips when not in use.
- Borrow before you buy. For books and movies, visit the library. For tools and equipment, share with your neighbors. This also helps foster a sense of connection and community.
- Go meatless, even if for one meal a week. It requires nearly 2,000 gallons of water to raise one pound of beef.
- Unless you're baking cookies, bread or a soufflé, don't preheat the oven. It won't affect the outcome of most dishes, and skipping that step will save energy.
- Lower your thermostat one degree, which can cut energy bills significantly.
- Use vinegar to kill weeds instead of harmful chemicals.
- Make your own dish soap. Dilute liquid castile soap with water in a repurposed bottle (such as an old sports water bottle). Use baking soda and vinegar as needed to scour and cut grease.
- Host a clothing swap with friends each season. One person's unwanted outfit becomes another's new favorite look!
- Institute a 24-hour waiting period before buying new things. This cuts down on superfluous purchases, saving money and helping the planet.
- Choose organic or sustainable fabrics whenever possible, such as bamboo, hemp, recycled polyester and organic cotton.
- In addition to being a great natural deodorizer and scouring powder in the kitchen and bathroom, you can use baking soda as a gentle exfoliant on your face and body.
- Switch to cloth napkins-and reuse them if they are not soiled.
- Buy local. Not only do you support the economy where you live, but it also reduces the amount of greenhouses gases required to truck or fly things in.
- Choose to be inconvenienced. Avoid single-use and disposable goods, which have excess packaging. Some common culprits: bottled water, snacks, disposable plates and coffee pods.
- Buy soaps and cleaning products that are biodegradable, with no phosphates. This protects plants, groundwater, soil and the watershed.
- Opt out of mailing lists and switch to paperless billing.
- Remember to choose organic outside of the kitchen. Beyond organic food, look for organic and sustainable options for pet food, textiles (including sheets and towels) and beauty products.
- Swap perfumes for diluted organic essential oils to reduce exposure to chemicals.
Just like any habit, it starts small. So choose a couple that are easy, and once they are second nature, add a couple more. Small steps make big changes.