Earth Day is this Friday, April 22! Though it’s beneficial to be environmentally conscious year-round, Earth Day serves as an annual reminder of new ways we can improve the way interact with the environment around us.
WakeMed Corporate Integrity Compliance Specialist, Gary Ernster, mentions how his department engages in environmentally friendly behavior:
We, are extremely mindful of being environmentally friendly. We use recycling whenever possible in an effort to lessen the paper burden in terms of cost and storage on WakeMed. We want to be good stewards of the resources that WakeMed provides us, and it allows us to be the best that we can be as a department.
Gary also mentions some ways that employees can be more environmentally conscious, such as: turning off lights after leaving a room, and shredding confidential or protected health information (PHI) after use.
These are just a few examples, but there are tons of ways we can make a positive impact. First, though, let’s look at some interesting facts about Earth Day.
7 Fun Facts About Earth Day
- Founded by former U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson
- First celebrated in 1970, in the United States
- Led to the creation of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, & Endangered Species Act
- Approximately 20 million people participated in the first Earth Day
- Was recognized throughout the world by 1990
- Was officially renamed by the United Nations (UN) as “International Mother Earth Day” in 2009
- The original date (April 22) was chosen by Nelson in order to maximize participation on college campuses. He determined the week of April 19 – 25 as ideal as it did not fall during exams or spring breaks.
33 Ways to Be More Environmentally Conscious
- Upgrade office equipment to energy saving models.
- Turn off computers and other electronics at the end of the day (or when you’re not using them)
- Ensure that all lights are turned off at the end of the day.
- Try to use natural light during the day to cut back on electricity use.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs.
- Make sure air vents are cleaned regularly to prevent buildup.
- Invest in some indoor greenery to helps clean the air.
- Walk or ride a bicycle for nearby errands.
- Borrow books from the library.
- Recycle all of your cans, bottles, papers, and other acceptable items.
- Try using composted leftovers to fertilize a garden.
- Conserve water by re-wearing clothes and doing fewer, larger loads of laundry.
- Wash dishes by hand, or wait for a full load before running the dishwasher.
- Install light sensors or light timers to automatically turn off lights in your home or office.
- Swap plastic bags for canvas or re-usable bags at the grocery store.
- If you do use plastic bags at the grocery store, save them for other uses at home (ex: as trash can liners in bathrooms).
- Save uneaten food at dinner and make leftovers the next day.
- Switch to online billing to cut down on paper snail mail.
- Invest in landscaping that doesn’t require a ton of irrigation or water.
- Consider using a rain barrel to help water your lawn and/or garden.
- When baking, look through the oven window instead of opening the door (which causes energy/heat to escape).
- Parent to a small child? Choose more environmentally friendly diapers to cut down on landfill waste.
- Athlete? Hang sweaty clothes to air dry while waiting to do a full load of laundry. Throwing sweaty clothes in the wash and letting them sit will cause the sweat to sink in. If you let them air dry first; it’ll save you from having to wash it twice!
- Wash clothes in warm or cold water.
- Use less paper towel and napkins. Alternatively, use select-a-size paper towel instead.
- Get creative with gift wrapping. Save old gift bags, bows, and paper. Flip a grocery bag inside out. Use newspaper!
- Swap bottled water for tap water, and carry around a reusable bottle.
- Take shorter showers and fewer baths. Baths use twice as much water as showers!
- Plan your errands more efficiently. Try to group your errands according to location to conserve gasoline.
- Invest in a travel mug. Most coffee shops accept (and even offer a discount) to patrons who use their own coffee mug.
- Use a programmable thermostat OR set your thermostat a couple of degrees higher in the summer (ex: 78 degrees) and a couple of degrees cooler in the winter (65 degrees) to keep energy costs down.
- Bring your car to the car wash versus doing it yourself. Most pro car washes are much more energy efficient.
- Give back to the local community: Volunteer! There are tons of volunteer opportunities right here, in the Triangle!