For me, Earth Day has become more a day of making resolutions for the next 12 months than New Year’s Day. Maybe it’s the ever-growing statistics about the amount of energy, water and resources our society consumes. Or maybe it was seeing how earlier this year Earth Hour proved that each person or household doing what feels like one small, almost-effortless gesture can add up: some 5 million Canadians turned out their lights, and in Toronto alone that meant a drop in electrical demand of 8.7%.
Last year, my Earth Day resolution was to finally replace our water-hungry lawn with perennial and native plants that were less demanding on the water supply, and would eventually require little care on my part (OK, there was some self-interest in that one). In the past week, as green shoots start to poke through and buds are appearing on shrubs, the benefits are already obvious.
This year, I’m looking more critically at day-to-day wasteful habits. It’s time to:
• Evaluate the slew of new green cleaning products on the market and switch to three less harmful to the environment ones.
• Drink more tap water (yes, I’m guilty of drinking too much water in plastic bottles that end up in our recycling box).
• Use less paper. I have both home and work desks that belie the paperless office.
For a great list of suggestions to help choose your own resolutions, the Environmental Defense Fund in the U.S. has handy “Tips for a Healthy, Low-Carbon Life.”
What’s your Earth Day resolution? Do you think individuals can make a difference?