I suck at remembering special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, even Earth Day. But just so I don't sound like a totally unprepared slouch, I'll try to make it appear as if I planned something special...
- I ate vegan, significantly reducing my carbon footprint - more significant, some statistics say, than driving a Hybrid car (of course, I've been vegan every day for the last five or so years)
- And I used my new reusable grocery bags instead of paper or plastic. (I've had the bags for months, in the trunk of my car... forgetting to use them!)
- And we carpooled (my kids and the neighbors', trading rides to and from school as we've been doing all year).
- We've reduced our household trash output by 75%! I set out the recycling and trash this AM and I realized I am down to one small can a month of 'regular' trash (our neighborhood has a great recycling program, I can say that, but we've also reduced what we use drastically.)
- I air-dried a load of laundry (which I have done with shirts and things for years, I have a dryer phobia, I don't know.)
- I used my own travel mug at Starbucks this morning rather than a paper cup.
- And I purchased three organic hemp shirts today, in my slow attempt to use less cotton. (Don't even get me STARTED on cotton, it's the latest Earth-saving bandwagon I'm jumping on...)
Using 4.5% of the global land area, cotton requires 22.5% of the world's insecticides and 10% of the world's chemical fertilisers. Globally, the World Health Organisation estimates 3m instances of pesticide poisoning and 20,000 deaths each year, mainly among poor cotton farmers in developing countries.
The simple act of growing and harvesting the one pound of cotton fiber needed to make a T-shirt takes an enormous toll on the earth’s air, water, and soil, and has significant impacts on the health of people in cotton growing area.
United States farmers alone applied nearly one-third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for every pound of cotton harvested, and this amount is significantly higher in less regulated countries.
Cotton crops are grown in 19 states, and account for twenty-five percent of all the pesticides used in the entire U.S. Some of these chemicals are among the most toxic and dangerous ones classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Yet environmental impact studies estimate that 90% of those chemicals end up in the soil, air and water around the fields and not on the crops themselves.
(Organic cotton is slightly better; it doesn't use the pesticides, but still leaches nutrients out of the soil, and uses a great deal of water and land inefficiently).
To top off the day, my daughter made vegan cookies. (recipe here).
Happy Earth Day!!