7 Ways You Can Be More Environmentally Conscious This Earth Day

by Stefani Pappas

Today is Earth Day!  Originating in the 70s, this celebration channeled the energy of anti-war protests and helped put the environment's needs into focus.

Now, this day helps expand the support system for environmental programs and build communities around this meaningful cause.

We often take the Earth for granted, so today is an opportunity to refocus and prioritize nature and the environment.

There are countless ways to get involved this Earth Day; whether it is volunteering, going to a festival or even changing a habit, small changes can add up to benefit our world!

1. Walk or Bike

We're all a bit lazy, and many of us would do crazy things to get the closest parking spot to the office.

Don't be that annoying mom trying to get a spot right in front of Bloomingdale's. Park farther away, or even better, walk to the store.

If you are running a short errand, ride your bike. Ditching your car can help save a pound of carbon dioxide (and other pollutants) per mile.

Enjoy the fresh air, exercise and move a little; your body and the environment will thank you.

2. Go Meatless

Meatless Mondays, anyone? Once a week, try to plan a meat alternative for lunch or dinner.

This could help save up to 1,850 gallons of water, which are used to produce only one pound of beef.

Eating a meatless meal doesn't have to be boring; incorporate spices and get creative.

Vegan restaurants are all the rage right now, so hit up your hipster, vegan, foodie friend with the cool Instagram, and enjoy a delicious meatless dinner!

3. Recycle At Work

Many of us recycle at home, but be sure to recycle at the office, as well.

Print on both sides of the paper, recycle your water bottles or bring a reusable water bottle to have throughout the day.

Disposable plastic bottles employ 1.5 million barrels of oil in their manufacturing annually; invest in a BPA-free, reusable water bottle to help save you money and benefit the environment.

4. Clean Green

Your apartment needs some cleaning once in a while.

Try choosing cleaning products that are nontoxic and naturally derived.

Toxins in many other cleaning products are bad for you and the environment.

Look for cleaners that don't have chlorine, alcohols or ammonia in them.

Choose ones that are petroleum-free or phosphate-free. These may be a bit pricier, but they will prove beneficial in the long run.

5. Turn Off The Lights

Not the day to be jamming to Kanye and Rihanna.

How many of us accidentally leave lights on in rooms? Be more mindful of conserving energy on this day.

Walk around your apartment to turn off any unnecessary lights.

If you're not using your iPhone charger, unplug it; even when you aren't charging your phone, your charger is still using electricity.

6. Don't Waste Water

No Ice Bucket Challenges today. Be conscious of water waste throughout your daily routine.

For example, when you brush your teeth in the morning, don't aimlessly leave the water running.

If you turned off the faucet while brushing your teeth, you could save up to five gallons of water a day.

Turn it off; use what you need, and get that leaking faucet fixed.

7. Stop Speeding

Slow your roll, Michael Schumacher.

Try to drive within the speed limit today. Doing so will increase your miles per gallon, which ultimately helps save you gas money and the environment.

Speeding may cost you an extra $1.26 per gallon, so slow down, crazy.

Try to incorporate one or all of these practices on Earth Day, and see what you can maintain throughout the week.

We typically don't realize how much energy we use on a daily basis, or how this can influence the environment.

Practice these changes, and let your inner Earth child come out.