Every year on April 22nd, communities come together to celebrate Earth Day. But why stop there? Our planet is a precious place and we should treat it as such by making every day Earth Day.

There are many actions you can take to reduce your impact on the Earth and the beautiful environment around you.

We Asked the Experts

We asked a number of environmentally-conscience organizations throughout Connecticut what their favorite practical tip is to help the planet.

Here’s what they said about how you can make Earth Day happen every day!

Lawn Care

1. Treat Your Yard With Care

Although the short-term results on your lawn may seem worth it, the long-term effects of fertilizer and other chemicals can have a significant impact on local ecosystems. Cutting back or stopping their use will help preserve your local watersheds. Flanders Nature Center offers this suggestion:

“Use less chemicals on your property. Be sure that what you apply is environmentally friendly. What you use will make its way into the environment and exert an effect.”

2. Plant Native Plants

While planting anything may seem beneficial to an area, some species can be invasive and may change or damage a local ecosystem.  Planting native plants will not only repopulate local flora but will also benefit the local fauna that relies on their presence. The Aspetuck Land Trust recommends:

“People can help by taking actions on their own property that benefit our environment like planting native plants that benefit pollinators and provide food sources for other wildlife.”

3. Let Your Grass Grow

In addition to the decreased fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions, refraining from cutting your lawn will actually increase the health of the lawn as well.  The benefits of a healthier lawn will also be reflected in the local ecosystem. According to Old Saybrook Land Trust:

“Cut your lawn less frequently. This allows the grass to take root, grow healthier, and hold topsoil in place. It also minimizes lawn burnout during dry spells.”

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

4. Be Resourceful

As stewards of this earth, we must use our minds and think of creative ways to reduce our environmental impact. Look for everyday situations in which you can cut back on waste. Try something as simple as reusing takeout containers for lunches. The Bolton Land Trust takes this action to reduce their impact:

“Our family never has to throw plastic silverware or straws but instead we use our own and wash it when we return home. We cut down on thousands of disposables over the years and it will be thousands more in our lifetime.”

5. Reuse

It is very easy to throw things away when you are finished with them.  However, many of those things can easily be reused.  On top of that, many commonly disposed items can be avoided by choosing a reusable item, and refilling it when necessary. The Connecticut River Conservancy suggests:

“Choose reusable items such as water bottles, coffee mugs and cloth shopping bags. These small choices lead to significantly less trash. Each year, during our annual Source to Sea Cleanup of the Connecticut River and tributaries, plastic bottles and bags are some of the most found trash items along our rivers. Not only is this trash ugly, but it also negatively impacts wildlife and the whole river ecosystem.”

Larger items can be reused as well, such as lumber or sports equipment, as suggested by the Manchester Land Conservation Trust:

“Re-use. We re-use lumber from old decks for trail bridges. We host tag sales, offering re-use of books, CDs, sports equipment.”

6. Choose Cloth Over Plastic

Selecting a reusable grocery bag and keeping it with you will cut back on a significant amount of waste.  It is a simple solution that can have a large effect. The Norwalk Land Trust recommends:

“Never to use plastic bags again! Buy cloth and use them.”

Get Involved

7. Help Local Land Preservations

The State of Connecticut has many areas that have been designated for land preservation.  Find one near you, and look for ways you can help sustain it. The Avalonia Land Conservancy suggests:

“Support your local land trust. Our land filters water and sequesters our carbon.”

8. Take Action

Take a stand for what you believe in.  Sign petitions, speak at town hall meetings, get active in your local community.  Something as small as starting a petition could have local, state, and, potentially, national results. The Sierra Club – Connecticut Chapter urges:

“Ultimately saving the climate is going to require strong legislation, and so people should contact their state legislators and let them know that we want significantly increased renewable energy in the state, and we want a lot less greenhouse gas pollution.”

 

9. Volunteer

Give up your time to help local initiatives. Cleaning up local rivers, serving as a volunteer park ranger, or even tending community gardens are all great ways to help. Kent Land Trust suggests:

“Volunteer for your local land trust!”

10. Clean Up Your Environment

Think twice about haphazardly disposing of garbage. Instead of needlessly throwing trash out of your car window, hold onto it until you stop near a trashcan. If someone has left trash behind, help out your neighbors, and dispose of it for them (if it can be done safely, of course). Do your part to reduce this unfortunate state, which Redding Land Trust informed on:

“Trails are generally pretty free of garbage, but our roadways are another story, they can use work year round.”

Sustainability

11. Make Your Home Energy Efficient

Look for ways to cut back on your energy use, and you will not only benefit the planet but also your wallet!  Turning off lights you’re not using, keeping the central air at a more modest setting, and unplugging appliances before leaving for long trips are all great ways to reduce your energy use. Eversource is a strong advocate of energy efficiency at home and in the workplace:

“One very important way to reduce your carbon footprint is to find ways to make your home and business energy efficient – and Eversource customers have plenty of opportunities to take advantage of. Energy efficiency means using less energy to provide the same service. Making sure your home or business is as energy-efficient as it can be before you invest in solar is a great way to make sure you get the most out of your investment.”

12. Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gases have many origins but the single greatest source of these emissions is from human activities associated with the burning of fossil fuels. Photovoltaic (solar) technology harnesses the free and abundant energy produced every day by our sun and can help reduce the negative environmental and health impacts created simply by living our lives each day.

Sun-Wind Solutions suggests:

Converting to renewable sources of energy, such as solar, are a proven way that each of us can do our part to create a cleaner, healthier world for the generations that follow. And, aside from the reward of knowing you’ve become a more socially responsible citizen, you can actually reduce your energy costs in the process! There’s no better time than now to start being the change you want to see in this world.

13. Be Sustainable

Make an impact that will outlive you. Look for ways in your local community to reduce waste and increase the operating life of your community. Help implement green energy initiatives, plant local community gardens, any way you can help will help preserve the life of your community and the ecosystem surrounding it. Some certifications are even available for sustainable communities, such as this one from the Institute for Sustainable Energy:

Sustainable CT, Connecticut’s new voluntary municipal certification program for towns, provides lots of opportunities and support to make our communities more sustainable. Volunteer to help your town become a thriving Sustainable CT community.”

14. Reduce Consumption

Use only what you need. Too often, many people purchase more than they need, resulting in the wasteful disposal of underused goods. This waste directly impacts local, as well as global, ecosystems. The Quinnipiac River Watershed Association recommends:

“Reduce consumption and properly dispose of remaining waste” The world would be a healthier place.”

Kongscut Land Trust also offers this eco-friendly travel recommendation:

“Think twice before driving non-essential miles.”

Stewards of the Earth

15. Breathe the Fresh Air

Get up, go out, and talk a walk through the woods! Take in the sights and scents of the world around you, and in doing so, you will gain an appreciation for the abundance of life in the complex ecosystem around you. The Connecticut Forest and Park Association suggests:

“In order to be better stewards of the earth, we need to be better observers. Take a walk through the woods and notice the plant smells of spring, the quacking of wood frogs, and the calls of forest birds. Slowing down to connect with the natural world can help spark or renew our commitment to being better advocates for our planet.”

16. Take Part in the Best Classroom

You are never too old to learn something new, and when the best schoolhouse is free-to-learn and all around, there’s no reason not to!  So get outside, go into the woods, take the whole family, and learn something new. Essex Land Preservation Trust suggests:

“Get young and old out into local preserves so that they can learn what is available in their area and, hopefully, become connected to what is special in their nearby natural environment.”

17. Respect Our Furry Friends

While few would be cruel enough to directly harm wildlife, rarely do we realize how harmful our everyday actions can be.  Dispose of trash properly, leave trails and woods better than you found them, ensure campfires are properly extinguished before leaving them.  Small steps can prevent larger harm. Wildlife in Crisis asks on behalf of our animal neighbors:

“Be mindful of the effect you are having on our natural environment with each decision you make. Tread softly on the earth in your everyday life. We can all make a difference: leave trees standing, watch for wildlife when driving, don’t use pesticides and other poisons, and supervise domestic animals.”

18. Be an Example

Inspire those around you by being a person of character. Set the example by helping the environment in any way you can. Step out from behind your screen, and do something outside to benefit your local ecosystem. The Woodcock Nature Center advises:

“Pass it on! Set an example and educate your friends, neighbors, and kids about environmentally friendly habits as you begin to practice them. Start small: Use reusable bags and reusable water bottles. Refuse plastic cutlery. Don’t leave your car idling. Begin composting at home.”

These are only a fraction of the actions you can take in your everyday life to reduce your impact on the environment and make the Earth a better place and you don’t have to do it alone. Have fun! Share this information with friends, family, and members of your community. Together we can all make a difference, one day at a time!

18 Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day Infographic

18 Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day Infographic