Take Action: Earth Day and Volunteer Month: The perfect opportunity to help our planet

Earth Day is April 22, and since April is also Volunteer Month, it is a perfect opportunity to highlight ways to help our planet. But Earth Day shouldn’t just be recognized one day a year. It should be something we remember and strive for every day!

Check out how Coast Guard crews volunteer in their community and help their environment in the video below:

(Video: Eighth Coast Guard District members volunteered to work for the New Orleans Museum of Art in New Orleans April 4, 2017. The members joined the event as part of a community outreach effort. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Giles.)


Since 1970, Earth Day has been a day dedicated to educating everyone on responsible environmental management and supporting ways that make the planet healthier and more sustainable. It’s a chance to think about how our actions impact our environment. Individuals and organizations celebrate Earth Day in a variety of ways. Some people plant trees, clean up trash along highways, set up recycling programs or commit to saving energy.

Volunteering on Earth Day is a great thing to do! But aside from volunteering for an organized event, there are actions you can take on a daily basis to do your part in protecting our planet!


1. Use public transportation, carpool, bike or walk! If you must drive, increase fuel efficiency by consolidating trips, avoiding sudden starts or stops and removing unnecessary weight from your car. Not only will you save on carbon emissions, but you’ll save on the cost of operating your vehicle as well.


2. Unplug! Unplugging chargers and other electronics when the charge is complete, or when you’re simply done using them, can create up to 10 percent in energy savings. If devices are plugged into a power strip, just flip the switch and you’re done!


3. Rethink temperature! Make sure your thermostat is set for the right temperature. When you are not in the house you can adjust the temperature to be out of your comfort zone since no one is around. We can be comfortable at higher temperatures if the air is dry or if it is moving. Also, dress appropriately inside to help keep you cooler or warmer rather than lowering or raising the temperature.


4. Conserve water!

  • Use a drinking glass or reusable bottle, rather than disposable plastic bottles.
  • Dump ice or leftover water on plants instead of down the drain.
  • Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth, shaving and soaping dishes.
  • Change your washer’s settings to reflect the appropriate size load.


5. Take care of paper properly!

  • Reduce – Request bills, statements, newsletters etc. to be sent electronically.
  • Reuse – Shred paper for packing materials or compost. Use old envelopes for scratch paper or notes, or save scraps for craft projects around the house.
  • Recycle – Even those items like glossy junk mail, newspapers, cardboard boxes, magazines, phone books, etc. can be recycled.


Other R’s to follow:

  • Repurpose – The more creative cousin of reuse, repurposing turns old junk into new, functional objects.
  • Rot – Compost everything organic.
  • Repair – Instead of replacing.
  • Return – Partake in take-back programs.
  • Refill – instead of buying disposable bottles and paper cups.


* And as a bonus — Get your children involved! Do something around the house or in your neighborhood to honor Earth Day with your family. This will teach them how to care for the earth and how to participate in their community. Make a bird feeder, switch to non-toxic cleaning products or replace your light bulbs with environmentally sound bulbs.


Visit the Environmental Protection Agency page to learn more about protecting our earth!

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