Earth Day 2018: Make Every Day Earth Day!
- This article, contributed by Jessica Mino, resource management coordinator for the Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources, is part of a 15-part series of tips on how to make a positive environmental impact in Kane County in preparation for Earth Day on April 22.
Tip #1: What is your Conservation Resolution?
Now that the Countdown to Earth Day series has helped you get inspired, gain knowledge about environmental issues, and let you know what’s going on throughout Kane County to care for our planet, it’s time to take action!
Staying involved means participating in environmental events and organizations. This also means, bringing sustainability home and to your work every day.
Incorporate the tips presented in the Countdown to Earth Day series into your daily life. When you do these actions not just once, not just twice, but over your lifetime, the positive impact will be astronomically greater … and with this, we can truly show our appreciation for the Earth and live a sustainable lifestyle.
Make a Conservation Resolution
Earth Day (April 22) is a reason to celebrate our planet and make a commitment to sustainability. To help make every day Earth Day and stay engaged throughout the year, try making a Conservation Resolution this Earth Day (just like a New Year’s Resolution).
Be a champion for the environmental, and lead the way with your actions!
Here are some ideas:
- Reduce your carbon footprint by evaluating your vehicle’s efficiency and how you commute. You can also promote alternative energy sources in your area, such as solar and wind energy. After all, Kane County is a SolSmart Bronze designated community.
- Conserve energy at home and at work. Spring and summer energy-saving tips are available from energy.gov.
- Conserve water by following the tips in the World Water Day article.
- Protect water by being aware of what goes into our stormwater and waterways. Then, do what you can to minimize pollution and capture the rain to minimize stormwater runoff.
- REDUCE, reuse, and recycle … In that order! Minimizing waste in general is crucial for reducing our impact on the environment. Find out more from Kane County’s Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland.
- Recycle right! Recycling can feel complex, but Jarland explains just why recycling right is so important. Follow her lead and focus on proper disposal of your waste.
- Get informed about the environment by following the links within the Get Inspired article in the 2018 Countdown to Earth Day series.
- Get outside as prescribed by Nature Rx. This is a great remedy for cheering up after the cold winter and especially as sandhill cranes pass through our area on their migration north.
- Protect the lands by becoming a Cover Crop Champion farmer, reducing the use of harmful pesticides, or implementing natural lawn care practices.
- Increase native habitat with The Conservation Foundation’s Conservation@Home program featured in the Go Native article from the 2017 Countdown to Earth Day series.
- Plant trees! Morton Arboretum explains the benefits of trees. In our area, oaks are a great option, as the native species that was heavily dispersed across the Prairie State, Illinois.
Pick one, two, or more to focus on this year, or come up with your own to address your environmental concerns! You can even have a monthly Conservation Resolution, building on your sustainability initiatives all year long.
My Conservation Resolution for Earth Day 2018
I am committing to a three-part Conservation Resolution this year.
I created this resolution by learning about today’s environmental challenges and then reviewing my lifestyle and choices to identify how I can positively contribute to the solution of these issues.
- Reduce plastic consumption by taking the pledge and utilizing the plan on Earthday.org, an excellent resource to learn how to tackle the growing issue of plastic pollution. I will continue to focus on using only reusable mugs and shopping bags. This includes bringing a travel mug or water bottle with me while traveling, as I have realized this is when I tend to generate the most plastic. Keeping a spare travel mug with me where ever I go gives me the ability to buy that ‘treat’ latte without producing more waste. Tackling plastic pollution also includes recycling right, and making myself more aware of how to dispose of different types of plastics. So I have Kane County’s Green Guide and plastic film guidelines available to reference for when I come across odd items.
- Reducing my emissions by considering more carefully what I eat and where it has had to travel from. In addition, I plan to alter my commuting habitats to reduce emissions and my dependence on greenhouse-gas-generating fossil fuels.
- Protect our waterways by evaluating and improving the stormwater runoff at my home. We already restrict the dumping of hazardous chemicals on our property and have planted trees and some native plants, but I know there is more that I can do. This year, we plan to use natural lawn care remedies and only use these products if they are needed. I will also be looking to install a rain barrel or rain garden where I live so that stormwater stays on the plot of land that it fell on.
This feels like an ambitious Conservation Resolution to take on for the upcoming year, but I am determined to do all that I can to keep our environment a healthy place for us, wildlife, future generations, and all living things. With your help, we can!
Whatever your Conservation Resolution is, dedicate this year to tackling that environmental issue and continue to explore other aspects of sustainability to prepare for next year’s resolution. I will be cheering you on!
Happy Earth Day!
About Earth Day
How did Earth Day come about? Earth Day originated during the 1970s as the movement for clean air, water and land swept across the United States, following the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA.
Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, built on this momentum to raise awareness and encourage his colleagues to act on environmental legislation. Reflecting on the empowering effects of activism, Nelson gathered support for Earth Day from grassroots efforts, rejecting a top-down organization. He was met with nationwide, overwhelming support, and the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970.
Nelson remained a leading figure in the fight against environmental degradation and social injustice. His efforts heavily impacted the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act — all of which continue to protect our health and the environment’s health.
Today, Nelson’s work carries on at the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and throughout the world as Earth Day is celebrated.
“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”
— Gaylord Nelson
To explore Kane County’s commitment to our Earth, check out the following links:
Read the ‘Countdown to Earth Day’ Series!
- Tip #15: Get Inspired!
- Tip #14: 11 Ways You Can Stop Polluting Our Water
- Tip #13: Five Eco-Friendly Home-Maintenance Tips for Four Seasons
- Tip #12: Explore the Fabulous Fox Water Trail
- Tip #11: Earth Day Is ‘Holiday Season’ at Forest Preserves!
- Tip #10: Bring Your Green to the Office
- Tip #9: How To Make A Rain Garden
- Tip #8: Focus on What CAN Be Recycled!
- Tip # 7: Teach Kids About Stormwater Pollutants
- Tip # 6: How Kane County Can Combat Plastics Pollution
- TIP # 5: Take Action To Save The Fox River
- Tip #4: Keep Drugs Out of The Water Cycle!
- Tip #3: Get Healthy With Farmers Markets For All Seasons And Towns
- Tip #2: Nature Rx – Give Yourself A Dose!
- Earth Day Weekend Events In And Around Kane County