Earth Day Spotlights Climate Awareness

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From more frequent, severe storms to rising sea levels, climate change is upon us. While experts say it’s too late to reverse the damage, there are steps we can all take to mitigate the situation. Earth Day, celebrated every year on April 22, is a great time to learn more about climate change and what you can do about it.

Earth Day dates back to 1970, when people first began voicing concerns about the climate. Back then, the primary concern was smog over urban areas. Now, over 50 years later, it’s still a great day to learn more about climate change and take steps to reduce your carbon footprint.

Here’s what you should know about Earth Day and how you can adapt your daily behavior to help protect our planet.

What Is Earth Day?

In the spring of 1970, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and activist John McConnell called on Americans to participate in grassroots efforts to learn more about issues impacting the planet. That April, people around the country joined forces to shine the spotlight on smog and how it could be prevented. There was growing evidence that linked increasing air pollution to developmental delays in children, and families were concerned.

Today, debates over climate change and global warming rage on. While politicians argue, scientists say the situation has become dire.

To help seniors find ways to make a positive difference to the health of the planet, we’ve assembled a list of easy steps you can take.

How Seniors Can Help Create a Healthier Planet
  • Recycle: If you don’t already do so, start recycling. Some communities offer comprehensive recycling programs in conjunction with trash pickup. If yours doesn’t, this beginner’s guide to recycling will help you get started. Recycling reduces the amount of trash in landfills, saves energy, and conserves natural resources.
  • Monitor utility usage: How hot or cold you keep your house impacts your carbon footprint. By turning the thermostat down by just 2 degrees in the winter and up 2 degrees in the summer, you can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,000 pounds per year. You can also reduce utility usage by turning the lights off as you leave a room, unplugging unused appliances, and changing your furnace filter on a timely basis.
  • Avoid single-use plastics: From plastic water bottles to disposable grocery bags, plastics are clogging up our rivers, oceans, and parklands. It’s pollution that is making our climate challenges worse. To learn other ways you can become less dependent on plastics, read How to Decrease Your Reliance on Single-Use Plastics.
  • Carpool and cluster errands: For every mile you don’t drive, you prevent one pound of carbon being released into the environment. That’s why it’s important to try to plan errands and trips carefully. Carpool with friends when you can. If you have clean, safe public transportation in your city, consider using it.
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