The earth is pretty great, it provides all of our life support systems, from our food to our clean air and water. Below are a couple things we can do this Earth day to say thank you.

  1. Reduce your Virtual Water Use – Try going vegetarian every once in a while. Over the three years it takes to raise one cow, that cow will use approx. 3,091,000 L of water, this works out to about 15,400 L of water per kg of beef. The water that goes into the products we use is called our virtual water; it’s the water we use but don’t see. If you can’t go meatless, think about making different choices about the food you eat. It takes 4,300 L to produce 1 kg of chicken; it takes 2,145 L of water to produce 1 kg of soybeans. This great website has more information about our virtual water use.
  2. Search out Phantom Energy – Phantom energy is the electricity used when appliances and electronics are turned off but still plugged in. Some common culprits are: office equipment, computers, stereos and printers. Find out more information here. In Alberta, the majority of our electricity is made from burning natural gas and coal. Turning lights off, reducing phantom energy use and being energy conscious can reduce the demand for these non-renewable resources.
  3. Change up your Commute – Try walking, biking or taking public transit instead of driving. Changing up your commute can reduce our demand for non-renewable fossil fuels, increase our air quality, save us money and benefit our health. Our office is taking the commuter challenge, see if you can too. To learn more about the air quality in Edmonton and what you can do about it visit Alberta Capital Airshed.
  4. Keep your Community Clean – Picking up garbage is one of the easiest things you can do to show the earth you care. Putting garbage in its place keeps our communities looking beautiful, it protects animals and maintains our clean rivers and lakes.  Try the city of Edmonton’s 15 minute to clean challenge or think about adopting a block.
  5. Forest Snapshot – This is one of my favorite activities to do with students. For forest snapshot, I instruct students to find a spot outside. Once you get comfortable close your eyes and use your other senses to observe what is happening in nature. This is a great activity to connect with nature, I find it helps me remember all the great things our earth does for us that we often forget about in our daily lives.

Happy #EarthDay 2015 everyone – let’s all do our part to help take care of our planet. Afterall, we only get one.

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