Happy Earth Day!

The Wild by Yuval Zommer book cover shown in celebration of Earth Day

Ever since the start of the Industrial Revolution, human activity has especially been negatively impacting the environment. 

This is not new information.

With the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the work of Senator Gaylord Nelson, and his recruitment of activist Denis Hayes, Earth Day became a national day of protest, the first Earth Day happening over 50 years ago in 1970. 

That's 50 years of people crying out for environmental change, and many have listening. Since then, significant acts of legislation have been passed, like the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and in more recent significance The Paris Agreement, which went into effect in 2016 and involves members of the United Nations working together to fight climate change. 

Global initiatives like The Paris Agreement are essential in joining efforts and fighting the effects of climate change on a global scale. While the United States' participation has been inconsistent in the past, as of January 2021, America has officially been a part in this agreement. 

However, despite these pushes forward, at times it feels like time is racing by and change is not happening fast enough. It's overwhelming and just one negative thing happening in a pool of terrible things.

So what do we do? 

 

Start Small, think local. 

Individuals are the largest group of polluters, and we have the most opportunity to affect significant change on our environment.  So while big actions are good, the collective nature of small actions matters just as much or more.

Here are a few actions that you (and all of your family, friends, neighbors, and communities) can make:

  • Use native plants in your gardens and yards.  Even better, use native pollinator plants to provide food for bees and birds!
  • Reduce your own carbon footprint.  Recycle whatever you can--cardboard, aluminum, glass, plastic.  
  • Don't just recycle, PRE-cycle.  Focus on buying in bulk, avoid single use containers, use your own bags at the grocery store (for produce and for your groceries).  Boise has the FIRST zero waste grocery store and cafe, Roots Zero Waste Market.  Pay them a visit!
  • Reduce your own stash of stuff. Take a look at what you have and figure out how to best utilize it or move it on. 
  • Have old furniture, books, or other household items? Pass them on.  Same with clothing!  Thrifting is now in vogue! 
  • Look around your house for "energy vampires"--unused charge cords and appliances that are plugged in, electronics that spend a lot of time in sleep mode, and old appliances.  Those small changes can add up to extra $$ in your pocket as well. 
  • When you can, carpool, use mass transit, walk or ride your bike.  Not only are these good for you, they also cut down on the traffic around our cities. 
  • Vote - your voice matters!  
  • Be aware of what your city council, county commissioners, and state legislators are doing and let them know your opinions!  
  • Participate in Local Initiatives, whether it is planting trees, cleaning up the Greenbelt, recycling bicycles with the Boise Bike Project, or conquering goat heads with The Boise Goathead Fest. 

 

Actions that we take matter and the more people we get to take those actions, the more positive impact we can make on our communities and in our world.

Let Earth Day be every day, not just 1 day a year.