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Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!  I love that we set aside a day/week to really concentrate on our environment.  But really every day is Earth Day.  You don't have to be an environmentalist or 'hippie' to know that the way we treat our Earth today will inevitably impact us in the future.

After this past winter of polar vortexes and record snow falls, it's hard to imagine that global warming exists.  Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.  Maybe it's a naturally occurring global temperature change that we know has happened in the past with several ice ages under the Earth's belt.  

However, we can't dispute that our weather is getting more extreme, species are going extinct, air quality alerts are increasing, forests are shrinking, and fossil fuels will eventually run out.  In honor of Earth Day, here is a list of 16 easy things you can do and they don't require you to spend a dime (in fact, they will save you money) or join Greenpeace. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The first 'rule' you think about when 'going green'.  My favorite way to use all three is when I purchase a bottle of water, I reuse the bottle for weeks before recycling it.  

Eat less meat
Our demand for meat is not sustainable and livestock are one of the largest sources of methane.  That doesn't mean you need to give up meat altogether, just go vegetarian when you can.  Start with Meatless Mondays with some of these recipes.

Shop local
Besides supporting your community and small businesses, buying local means it didn't have to be shipped from anywhere.  Eat at your mom and pop restaurants, shop at boutiques, and get your groceries at the farmers market.  You'll create relationships with the people who make the food you eat, the merchants who buy the goods you want, and the farmers that grow the vegetables on your plate at home.

Reusable grocery bags
These things are sturdy and hold more than their plastic counterpart.  Keep a couple in your car so they will be there when you need them.

Open your windows
Curtains and blinds are great insulators during the winter, but open them up to let the sunshine pour in and you don't have to turn on the lights.  During the warmer months, open your windows to let the breeze cool your house without air conditioning.  There are often more pollutants in the air indoors than outdoors.  So take a deep breath of that fresh air.

Take the stairs
Save energy and burn some calories.  Skip the line at the elevator and take those stairs two at a time, you'll get there before everyone else. 

Buy in bulk
Eliminate extra packaging by buying in bulk and send less to the landfill.  You might also save a trip to the store.

Programmable thermostat
If you're not home, why would you be heating or cooling it like you were there?  Program your thermostat to adjust to your preferred temperature about 30 minutes before you usually get home.  Keep the temperature low at night will save energy and help you sleep better (during the summer, open those windows).

Done using something and don't have another use for it?  Well, you know the saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure", so donate it to make it easier for that person to find that new-to-them piece.  While you're at it, check out if anyone has left treasures for you to find at thrift stores.

Turn your computer off
You're not using it while you're sleeping, so why is it still on?  Turn the thing off and save some energy!  Same can be said for your cell phone.

Buy seasonal
If it is in season, it probably didn't travel too far to get to you.  Even though you didn't drive that mango from Mexico, if you buy it, that's a vote to keep sending it from Mexico.  Plus, seasonal produce is riper and tastes so much better.

Go to the library
Reading books on your Kindle is great, but borrowing books from your local library is even better.  You're not using any extra paper and you're not using any electricity either.  Added bonus, its free!  

Remove the junk from your car
Save gas by making your car lighter.  Get rid of all the excess junk you have been meaning to clean out for months.  

Cold water for washing
Use cold tap water to in your washer and dishwasher.  You save energy and money by not heating up more water.  Plus, cold water is easier on fabrics so your clothes last longer.  Extra point if you air dry you clothes and dishes!

Plant something
Whether its outside or indoors, all plants help clean and filter the air.  Make sure to pick drought tolerant, non-invasive plants for low maintenance.

Grow your own food
If you're planting something, have the plants work for you!  From planting a couple herbs in pots in your kitchen to growing a vegetable garden in your yard, it all makes a difference and you get dinner out of it. Yum

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