Do your part to help heal the planet — Earth Day 2014

shutterstock_175395194Taking care of the Earth is every individual’s responsibility, and Earth Day (April 22nd) is the perfect time to renew our efforts to help protect the planet.

Going green is easier than you might think. There are minor changes you can make in your daily routine that can help you make a less harmful impact on the environment.

Here are 8 simple things you can do to help reduce your environmental impact and contribute to a healthier planet:

1. Conserve Water – Fixing leaky faucets, taking shorter showers, and turning off the water while you brush your teeth, are only a few of many ways you can conserve water. Here are 100+ more ideas for saving water.

2. Recycle – It may seem overwhelming or time consuming to learn what each of the recycling numbers mean, but it’s actually quite simple. Things labeled for recycling often aren’t easily decomposed, and end up crowding our landfills. Recycling gives us a chance to repurpose the material. Learn what the numbers mean, find out what your local recycling facilities accept, and give it a try.

3. Plant a tree – Or a garden. Trees and plants help clean the air and the soil. Trees can provide energy-saving shade for your home, and gardens are a wonderful opportunity to reap the rewards of homegrown foods.

4. Save Energy – Turn off lights and unplug electronics when they’re not in use. Not only is this good for the planet, but for your wallet as well. Every bit of energy saved is a little less money spent. Here are 100 more ways to conserve energy.

5. Adjust your thermostat – Adjusting your thermostat by even one degree up in the summer and one degree down in winter can help save on energy. In addition, investing in a programmable thermostat allows it to automatically regulate the temperature up and down based on the times you are at home or away.

6. Maintain your vehicle – Don’t put off your smog checks and oil changes, and maintain your tire pressure. Underinflated tires decrease fuel economy and increase pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t let your engine idle unnecessarily either — it uses more energy and gas than just turning your car off and back on again.
 
7. Cut down on junk mail – Choose your catalogs, cut down on credit card offers, ditch direct mail, and pay your bills online. Find information on how to do those things, and more, here.
 
8. BYO Bags – Ditch plastic bags and bring your own! Plastic bags are not biodegradable and are making their way into our oceans, ultimately polluting our marine food sources. Fabric bags are often stronger and provide an inexpensive, reusable alternative.

In the day-to-day business of our lives, it’s easy to forget how dependent we are on our Earth’s resources. Our smartphones and computers drive us further from the richness of nature and closer to the more technology-centric society we have become. However, it is important, now more than ever, that we make an effort to negate the harm we cause and protect our planet.

Even the smallest of efforts to reduce and negate your consumption can help you minimize your environmental footprint, save money, and live a happier, healthier life.

SelectQuote encourages you to spend Earth Day unplugged and unconnected. Take a break from work, put away your phones, turn off electronic devices, and spend the day outside with a loved one.

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