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It's Earth Day

Reuse solo cups and zippy bags, or do what you can for Earth Day
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson, editor

I wash and reuse solo cups and zippy bags, but it seems like a tiny way to save the planet amid criminal Amazon deforestation and unfettered factory emissions in urban China.
Friday, April 22, is Earth Day — a time for global reflection on the millions of small ways we can collectively make a big difference.
In honor of Earth Day Friday, April 22, an organization called Green Citizen suggests a few ways we can all do our part to save Planet Earth.
•Avoid single-use disposable plastic. It’s probably the most impactful sustainable living choice a single individual can make. Refill and reuse permanent water bottles and coffee mugs. Use canvas bags for groceries and request paper “to go” boxes instead of Styrofoam.
•Avoid all single-use disposable items where possible. For example, instead of paper towels and wet wipes, use reusable kitchen towels or make cleaning rags from old T-shirts or socks
•Eat local, or better yet, prepare a meal to eat at home. Processed food in the U.S. travels over 1,300 miles while fresh produce takes about 1,500 miles to get to your table. That’s a lot of carbon emissions from transport, storage and refrigerating. Fewer “food miles” means fewer carbon emissions. 
•Take shorter showers and stop leaks. The average person wastes up to 30 gallons of water every day without even realizing it. Make it a goal to scrub and rinse in under five minutes (turn off the water while shampooing or shaving).
Drop by drop, an average American home can leak more than 10,000 gallons of water through inefficient plumbing. 
•Choose online billing and statements. About 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S. Much of it is utility bills, brochures and catalogs that no one ever reads.
•Use LED bulbs. They use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 percent longer.
•Reduce home emissions (and save money) by making it more energy efficient. Use a programmable thermostat to save energy at bedtime and when no one’s home. Ceiling fans also help circulate air for more efficient heating and cooling.
•Plant a garden. Large-scale food production depends on pesticides and industrial fertilizers, while excessive tillage leads to soil erosion and loss of nutrients. Home gardening goes hand in hand with composting, which solves another environmental problem — food waste.
•Plant trees. At the current deforestation rate, the world’s rainforests could completely disappear by 2100. Forests trap carbon dioxide and prevent soil erosion and are also home to diverse ecosystems. Also, leafy trees on the south and west sides of a home provide shade and save on air conditioning.
•Finally, go outside on Earth Day. We often have little time to appreciate the world around us. Step outside, breathe deeply and feel thankful. Reflect on the beautiful world and think about ways to keep it that way.

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