Saving the Planet is Good for You
Five easy ways that you can celebrate Earth Day while saving money, eating well, getting creative, and helping the environment.
Every year on April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day. It’s a day to step back and imagine how beautiful the planet looks from space. That’s our home down there — our only home.
Earth day is about giving back to our fragile environment. With so many more people being born every day we’re asking a lot from her. We’re putting more strain on natural resources, arable land for farming, water, and air quality. Fortunately, we make a difference and it can even be fun, save money, and make our lives healthier.
1. Crafty Recycling
Permaculture teaches an interesting principle: pollution is just unused waste. If we can find a way to reuse items and materials instead of throwing them out then it’s not pollution anymore. Giving a second life to packaging and materials reduces what ends up in landfills, saves money, and can feed your creativity.
- Garden Recycling — here’s 12 Seed Starting Ideas using Recycled Materials
- DIY Olive Oil Planter — cute idea for upcycling an oil can into a succulent planter
- Wine Bottle Candles — how to cut a wine bottle and transform it into a candle
- Learn about Low Impact Living — there’s a lot to take from this tour of a Permaculture Homestead
2. Go on a Nature Walk
The more people that go on nature walks and hikes, the more wild areas and parks that are saved. Not only that but being surrounded by nature is good for your body and state of mind. Here are some ideas to make getting outside even more appealing.
- Forest Bathing — This Japanese practice of spending time in nature, and specifically around trees, is linked to lowered stress, better memory, and feeling more alive.
- A Nature Scavenger Hunt — If getting a partner or children outside is a struggle, then make it into a game. Take binoculars, a camera, and a notepad and see how many birds, animals, or different kinds of plants or flowers you can find. If you can’t identify them, take a photo and then head back to your trusty Google to see who can figure it out.
- Go on a Picnic — pack a lunch and head out to explore the wild. Picnics are better for some than camping since you get the benefits of being out in nature, tucking into great grub, and then being able to sleep in your own bed afterwards.
3. Grow a Salad
I was going to say start a garden but that can be an overwhelming or improbable task. Instead, start small and and you’ll not only get a great crop but encouragement to try growing other things. Growing lettuce and other greens is an easy and delicious introduction to edible gardening. Your harvest will also taste so much nicer than the greens you buy in bags at the shop.
- Salad greens can be grown in the ground, in pots, wooden trays, or practically any vessel.
- You can grow them on patios, balconies, and indoors in a pinch
- Leaf salads are quick to grow and ready to harvest 30-60 days after sowing, depending on variety.
- Here’s more guidance on growing leaf salads in containers
4. Make a Meal Plan
Food wastage is a huge issue that many people don’t think about. In the USA 30-40% of all landfill waste is household food that’s been thrown out. That equates to the average home wasting $2200 in food every year!
Food that is not bought with intention is food that sits around until one day it’s thrown out. One major way to reduce waste and save money is to make a meal plan before you head to the shop. Shopping this way will dramatically reduce what you throw away and will save you an incredible amount of money. Here’s what I do:
- Take stock of what’s already in the cupboards, freezer, and fridge
- Make a list of meals that can be prepared with that food
- Make a list of ingredients you need to make those meals that you don’t already have.
- Supplement your shopping list with ingredients for additional meals, and snacks
- STICK TO YOUR LIST while shopping. Heading to the shop with a full belly will help stop impulse buying.
5. Choose Secondhand
A lot of us know to recycle waste like paper, cans, and bottles, but there’s another way to recycle — buy secondhand. Getting a used car, wearing vintage clothing, and picking up furniture on Craigslist are all ways to reduce waste and save money.
- Organize a clothing swap — Get some of your friends together for a little party and share your unwanted items with each other. I went to one last year and went home with so many great items — for free!
- Go to a Seed Swap — if you want to grow your own salad, or even go further and start a garden, you can pick up free or inexpensive seeds at a Seed Swap. Here’s 12 tips on how to organize your own.
- Make use of Ebay, Facebook Selling Groups, Craigslist, Gumtree, and other second hand market places
- Head to a Vintage Fashion Fair
- Browse and share items through Freecycle
- Shop at a Charity Shop — Thrift shops run by charities are a great place to pick up inexpensive items and help out a local charity
- If you’re on the market for an appliance, ask Facebook friends if they have one for sale. I saw my cousin pick up a sweet deal on a washing machine from a trusted source this way.