Maybe you forgot (don’t worry, I won’t tell). Maybe you’ve been busy. And then there’s that darn job getting in the way again. Whatever the reason for your lack of Earth Day preparedness, not to worry: here are 13 last-minute ways to start making a green statement today. No planning necessary.
1. Don’t take a shower.
That’s right, I said it. I direct a fashionable establishment and I’m not advocating forgoing hygiene for the crunchy side of the green fence. But unless you worked out yesterday or feasted on raw garlic, you have my permission to skip the shower. Wash your face and brush your teeth and enjoy that extra half-hour of free time by reading up on the latest in green living – right here, of course.
2. Eat raw.
Save time and energy by eating raw food today. It’s so much healthier for you, anyway. Enjoy fruit, crisp veggies, and a fresh salad instead of baking up a big meal or ordering take-out. Easy!
3. At the Office?
Turn off as many lights as possible without disturbing your colleagues or your eyesight, bring a sack lunch, and avoid single-use beverages today (my personal Achilles’ heel). Bonus: these habits are easy to develop into a permanent green routine. Now may also be a good day to talk to your boss about telecommuting one day a week to save gas and fuel your creativity.
4. Green Your Laptop.
Set your computer to sleep after 5 minutes, and shut it off when it’s not in use (this is the most eco-friendly option). If it’s not inappropriate, get your office mates to do likewise.
5. Edit Your Life.
Now’s as good a time as any to pare down your possessions. If you’ve got old cell phones and gadgets, e-cycle them today instead of tossing them into the landfill-bound trash bin. Use Freecycle or Craigslist to trade or give away items you don’t need or want anymore.
6. Call the pols.
The single best thing you can do is to wake up those politicians with a phone call. It’ll only take a minute! Call 202-224-2131 and tell Congress to take real action against global warming.
7. Pick Up the Litter…
on your street. Even the nicest neighborhoods manage to get trashed. Don’t wait for someone else to do it (or an animal to suffer). Put on some gloves, grab a bag and get to it. You can clean your street in 30 minutes.
8. Take an Eco-Inventory of Your House.
With your favorite notebook in hand, go from room to room and note anything that can be improved. For example, simply displaying your books instead of keeping them in the closet adds energy-saving insulation to your living room or study walls (and makes you look smarter). Are your light bulbs energy-efficient? Are drafts sealed? Do you have your electronics plugged into a surge strip which you can easily unplug on your way out the door to work? Do you have a ceiling fan and a thermostat timer? Start jotting!
9. 5 Minute Tire Fix.
It’s best to avoid driving needlessly today (or any day), but a quick trip down to the gas station to ensure your tires are properly inflated is a simple, sensible way to save gas every day.
10. Plan Your Garden.
If you haven’t yet planted your vegetables and herbs, take today to plan. Read Michael Pollan’s New York Times piece, "Why Bother?" to learn why planting a small backyard garden is perhaps the most important change you can make for the planet.
11. Hang a Clothes Line.
Drying clothes with a little help from the sun is both fun and eco-friendly. Today’s the day to get started!
12. Say "No Thanks" to Meat.
A vegetarian diet isn’t for everyone, but if you can skip meat at least one day a week – starting today – you can help
13. One Month to Green!
EDIT 5/13/08: Don’t miss these 25 green tips and finds from EcoSalon’s most popular posts.