Earth Day 2012!

Be environmentally empowered this Sunday, April 22! More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. You don’t have to be a full-blown sign-waving, ‘off-the-grid’ activist to show that you care. Here are a few simple steps to take to live just a little bit greener:

  • Pledge to take public transportation, your trusty bicycle, or even rely on your own two feet instead of driving your car just one day a week. Not only are you eliminating your contribution to toxic emissions, but you’ll become physically stronger, meet a few new people, and experience your surroundings from outside the confines of your vehicle.
  • Purchase products with less packaging or that are packed in 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Or check out your local thrift store for gently-used (sometimes brand new!) clothing, books and toys. Major bonus points for supporting local boutiques featuring independent artists (like yours truly) that integrate eco-friendly materials and methods into their products.
  • Try Meatless Monday! I know it’s a lot to ask, but the livestock industry requires an immense amount of feed, water, energy, and resources to raise the large quantities of meat Americans consume. I’ve been a vegetarian (vegan-ish, I like to say) for over two years and feel amazing! Start with one day a week, search for fun veg-friendly meals, and I promise, tempeh is not that terrifying. *Oh, and heads up: This week will be the start of the Sunday Supper series of recipes and ways to eat with more kind consciousness while still serving up a heck of a meal.
  • Become a locavore by frequenting your town’s farmer’s market. Or join a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program; a box of fresh goodies are delivered to your doorstep as often as you like. The produce is fresher since it’s generally picked within 24 hours from farms no longer than 100 miles away. I like to go to market each Sunday morning to get my staples like organic kale (my absolute favorite) and gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, then I usually pick out something new to try out in a recipe. Oh, and be one of the cool kids by bringing your own bags!
  • Most important of all, inspire your family, friends and community to join in your efforts (and pledge to make changes of their own). It might seem that your actions as one person aren’t making a significant difference. If you’re anything like me, you sometimes get frustrated when others aren’t as equally committed to recycle or inspired to shop local. Just remember to teach, don’t preach. Lead by being a positive example and make it fun! Maybe you help the kids start a container garden on the patio. Then you trade some string beans + cucumber for a head of lettuce from your neighbor. Before you know it, you’re all breaking ground on a community garden at the end of the block!

Easy, peasy, locally-grown organic lemon squeezey, right? I agree. And hey, go ahead and brag about the contributions you’ve made to the Billion Acts of Green. This year, Ana Apple has pledged to increase the use of organic + recycled fabrics, keep material + production sourcing within California, and contribute a portion of profits to supporting community organizations. If we all commit to our own small steps, it will all add up to big change. Cheers!

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