Today is Earth Day, a 43-year-old holiday celebrated every April 22nd in 192 countries across the world.  Focused on environmental protection, Earth Day events are held throughout the world to raise awareness and take action in support of Mother Earth. Unless you’re planning on attending an event, April 22nd is probably just another Monday.  Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to support the environment and you can get started today!  For example, you probably don’t realize how your eating habits can affect the environment…

An article from National Geographicfocuses on 5 ways you can help the environment by changing your daily habits.

  1. Type of Food – It takes more land, resources, water, and food to raise animals for slaughter than it does to raise vegetables.  Unfortunately, cattle farming has led to the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest as well as prairies in the U.S.  While you’re probably not ready to go completely meat-free, having one day (or more) a week meat-free can reduce the damage done to the environment.
  2. Portion Control – In 2010, Americans threw away 33 million tons of food.  The EPA calls the amount we waste “staggering.” Plan your meals accordingly and you can reduce the amount of food that you throw away.  That might mean you purchase less, use products you already have in the house, or save enough for leftovers.
  3. Transport – Ever wonder how that New Zealand Lamb or Hawaiian Mango make it to your grocery store?  A tremendous amount of gas and resources are dedicated to moving food from production to consumption.  Eating local foods, often labelled at Whole Foods or found at local Farmer’s Markets, can reduce your carbon footprint.
  4. Agricultural Pollutants – Modern food production is riddled with practices that destroy the environment (and your health).  Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are killing bees necessary for a healthy environment, and pesticides lead to dangerous runoff that damages water quality and ecosystems.  Buy organic foods to reduce the harmful chemicals.
  5. Disposal – If you have a back yard and are interested in gardening, try composting rather than throwing your food away.  This will turn your leftovers into super nutrient and self-fertilized soil for growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables in your backyard!  Check out this website for information on how to start.

We live on a beautiful planet, and days like today help remind us why we need to take care of it!