It's Earth Day, yay! A day dedicated to honoring perhaps the most important thing in our world...our world itself. A California born and bread hippie at heart, I believe strongly in respecting our Mother Earth daily through the choices we make: whether it's by recycling at home, or using your own bags at the grocery store (many states are now even banning disposable plastic due to their environmental effect).
But my sister, Sandrine Dixson-Declève, is the true superstar of the family when it comes to environmental issues, as she holds the title of Director of both the Cambrige Institute for Environmental Leadership's Policy and EU office (based in Brussels), as well as the Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group AND the Executive Director of the Green Growth Platform. Phew, that's a mouthful of green goodness...
But just as important as Sandrine's multiple academic titles, is the fact that she practices what she preaches. Spend a weekend at the Dixson-Decleve household and you'll notice that my sis and her family don't use the dryer, recycle 90% of their waste, and compost almost all of the rest. In fact, this is common practice in Europe–and although some areas are better than others, the US overall still falls embarrassingly behind when it comes to environmental awareness. This Earth Day, I thought it was about time that I tapped my smart sis for some seriously savvy ways to sustainabilify your lifestyle.
Check out Sandrine's suggestions for 5 super simple (and surprising!) ways to celebrate the earth, each and every day!
ADJUST YOUR THERMOSTAT
Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter. Each degree Celsius less will save about 10% on your energy use and reduce significant emissions. Invest in a programmable thermostat which allows you to regulate temperature based on the times you are at home or away.
Think of it as an excuse to snuggle up in a cozy blanket or chunky cashmere sweater!
Taking one big trip to pick up groceries, drugstore items, and dry cleaning instead of making each a separate adventure is one easy way to cut down on GHG emissions and pollutants. Perhaps surprisingly, taking multiple short trips starting from a cold engine can use twice as much fuel as one longer trip with a warm engine.
Carpooling with a buddy makes this doubly efficient, and makes errands a great time to catch up!
Online shopping: The perfect way to purchase that spiritual self-help book or new dress you've been eying—and save the planet at the same time. One survey found as many as 70 percent of online shoppers say they prefer to buy from their favorite retailer online. Kudos to them, since buying online almost always involves less energy use and fewer carbon dioxide emissions than in-store shopping.
Just make sure you're not returning as much as you buy!
USE GROCERY DELIVERY SERVICE
University of Washington engineers have found that using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store. Trucks filled to capacity that deliver to customers clustered in neighborhoods produced the most savings in carbon dioxide emissions.
Of course, if you're walking or biking to the store rather than driving–this may not hold true. Remember to consider packaging /how many items you're buying at a time. AND Farmers Market's are always the best choice if you're lucky enough to have one nearby!
EAT LESS MEAT
Eat no more than two portions of red meat per week to help the environment, climate change and meet increasing global food demand. Increased deforestation, fertilizer use and livestock methane emissions likely to cause greenhouse gas emissions from food production to rise by almost 80 percent by 2050, experts from the University of Cambridge and University of Aberdeen warn.