The first Earth Day took place in 1970. It is now an annual event celebrated on April 22 in more than 192 countries each year in hundreds of communities in the United States
Guess which city has the BIGGEST Earth Day event? Yes, it’s right here in San Diego. The annual Earth Day Fair 2022 returns to Balboa Park after two years off due to the pandemic this Sunday, April 24. It is the largest free, all-volunteer Earth Fair in the United States. Organizers definitely need both volunteers and cash donations. Please help if you can.
This year’s Earth Fair features 300 exhibitors, the Children’s Earth Parade from 9:30 to 11 a.m., and plenty more than we have room to list. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Did we mention it’s free? Visit the website for the details here.
For Good Earth Plant Company, it’s Earth Day every day. We are a greener-run company, and we use sustainable practices wherever possible. The good news: As we become more aware of the damage we’re doing to the planet, we’re looking for solutions we can make part of our daily routines.
We know you’re recycling and lowering energy use. But there is always more you can do. You know we’ve got ideas for you.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
San Diego is blessed with a long roster of local farmers’ markets close to nearly every urban neighborhood in the county. When you buy locally, you support small farmers with sustainable practices. You also reduce your food consumption carbon footprint when you consume local food products that aren’t burning fossil fuels being flown or trucked here. Check this list for updated information.
Cut down on food waste. Americans spend $165 billion on food that goes wasted. Food waste in landfills creates methane gas as it degrades, a significant contributor to global warming. Food waste is also water waste. For example, tossing one banana wastes 55 gallons of water.
Buy only the groceries you KNOW you can use. Instead of calling Uber Eats, see what you need to use in the refrigerator and pantry first. It saves money, too.
Go meatless one day a week. Meat production creates an excessive strain on environmental resources. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, livestock agriculture contributes to more than 18% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. It takes up to 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. It won’t kill you to back off the burgers once in a while.
REDUCE YOUR USE
Buy less, and if you must buy, choose recycled or repurposed products. Start by cutting back on clothing purchases. Textile waste has increased 40% since 1999. People buy 68 individual pieces of clothing a year on average. According to a McKinsey study, for every five pieces of clothing purchased, three are thrown out. Clothing isn’t disposable! Do you really need another t-shirt? When buying new, invest in quality clothing that will last five years, not one.
The same with furniture. Supply chain problems continue to cause major delays in furniture, imported mainly from China and Southeast Asia. In the meantime, solid wood furniture is going for pennies on the dollar on the Nextdoor website, at estate sales, and thrift stores. Buy gently used pieces and have fun refinishing, painting, and customizing your purchase.
This applies to all sorts of items. Before you toss that broken item, can you save it? Turn it into something else? Donate it to a thrift store? One person’s donation is another person’s find. Shop your local thrift stores. Start with books, artwork, and glassware if you’re a newbie. You’ll get hooked.
Reconsider how often your car needs an oil change. New vehicles can go 15,000 miles before needing an oil change. If you’re driving less, you can stretch this out. Consider synthetic oil when you do get an oil change. Visit this excellent resource provided by the City of Chula Vista.
GET INTO A GREEN ROUTINE
Check your pipes and plumbing for leaks. Even one small leak can waste hundreds of gallons of water every year. Get a professional to check for leaks. You’ll make up the cost in water bill savings while conserving one of our most precious resources. Many of San Diego County’s local member water agencies offer customer inspections – check with yours.
For a few weeks, go through your mail and switch everything possible to online delivery. Switch to paperless e-bills and online invoices. It can save millions of trees every single year. Same for product catalogs – look at them online instead of getting them in the mail.
Inflate your tires! A properly inflated set of tires can improve gas mileage enough to prevent 250 pounds of CO2 from polluting the atmosphere every year.
Don’t dump out old paint. Paint is a severe toxic hazard and a real threat to the environment. Many places recycle paint, including 50 major paint retailers in San Diego County. Here’s a guide for you.
GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY
One of the simplest, most effective ways to fight climate change: gardening! Growing plants helps make our planet healthier, especially if you replace your lawn, the leaf blowers, and the pesticides.
Grow native plants, grasses, ground covers, and create a beautiful, low water use yard-friendly pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Many San Diego County’s water agencies hold a Landscape Makeover Contest every year. Why not makeover your yard and get a little recognition and a prize? This year’s contest deadline is May 13, but you always start work for next year.
Growing plants of any kind prevents global warming by preventing carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Plants consume carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, turn it into sugar for fuel, and produce oxygen in return. It gets stored forever in their stems and roots. Eventually, it becomes decayed material fertilizing the soil. It’s about the best deal in the world.
The most efficient way to take carbon dioxide out of the air is by planting trees. It’s San Diego Tree Week at the Water Conservation Garden, so take advantage of programs to help you choose the suitable trees. Or join one of the many planned community tree planting programs.
Stop carbon dioxide in its track by making compost. It will become mandatory in California in the next few years, so learn the basics now. Composting is the process of collecting decomposing organic matter, which can be added to your soil to help your plants grow. Compost prevents your kitchen and garden waste from reaching our landfills, where they produce methane gas, a greenhouse gas 25 times more destructive to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Compost increases the biological activity and water retention capacity of your soil.
Consider adding a vegetable garden, even if you only grow one or two crops. Growing sustainable produce at home reduces the amount of commercial and imported produce transported to our local warehouses and stores using fossil fuels. Your tomatoes, squashes, and carrots only go from your garden to your table. Add herbs and berries too. You can also grow your own floral bouquets instead of buying commercial flowers. When you buy out of season flowers from countries like Chile and Ecuador, they are one of the single most fossil fuel-intensive items you can buy. It takes a lot of fuel to get them to your home. Not so pretty when you think about it.
It might not be an official national holiday, but it’s an important day to all the Eco-Warriors at Good Earth Plant Company and important for us to call it to every reader’s attention.
It’s easy to get discouraged about climate change and global warming and easy to feel powerless about stopping it. But it’s possible if we all add a little effort, which will add up to a lot if we don’t give up.
Doing what we can to create a cleaner, healthier environment is our mission at Good Earth Plant Company every day. If you’re motivated to do more, contact us about adding plants to your work or home environment. We’ve got lots of great ideas for you. We love enriching peoples’ lives – and the planet – with plants.