Happy Earth Week 2015!

“The battle we have fought, and are still fighting for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it. …So we must count on watching and striving for these trees, and should always be glad to find anything so surely good and noble to strive for.” – John Muir

For most, Earth Day is a day that goes unrecognized. We don’t often mark April 22nd on our calendars, throw a party or get the day off from work (though that would be great!). This year though the AI community is feeling celebratory, so we came up with some (fairly easy) ways to celebrate the planet. If you’re reading this, try and make just a couple changes toward creating a greener routine today. If that seems overwhelming, shoot for just one of the ideas below, just one action to make the earth greener today.

Get Outside - Go for a walk, run, hike or bike. Whatever it is that appeals, take some time to be outside today. Maybe bring a friend along!

Plant a Garden - Ok, so for some this might not be an option. We don’t all have green space where we live. If you do, plant a few perennials in your backyard or start a vegetable garden. If you don’t have any green space, plant a pot and put it in the window. Think the responsibility of a plant is too much? The poor fellow will probably just die… No worries, try and plant some native wild flowers in a green space nearby.

Skip the Meat - According to the Sierra Club, “If Americans reduced meat consumption by just 20%, it would be as though we all switched from a sedan to a hybrid.” I’m not saying you have to go veggie (I love a good burger), but maybe just for the day…?

Eat Local - In the same vain, try and keep your consumption costs to a minimum by eating food that has been grown locally. This doesn’t have to be for all meals. Try and hit up a local farmers market and see what you can scrounge up to make for dinner. No farmers markets? Stick to seasonal produce at the grocery store and buy food with less packaging.

Commute Greenly - Traffic is such a bummer anyway, so why not try biking to work today? Way too far to go or don’t have a bike? Try and take the bus or train. Coordinate with coworkers to see if you can get a carpool going. Try it just for today or once a week or everyday.

The Green Latte - Here’s a really small one for you that over time can go a very long way. Bring your reusable mug from home today. Instead of tossing out your plastic cup today bring your own. Some coffee shops will give you a discount, punch card, or rewards toward your next drink. Using a reusable mug instead of a single-use paper coffee cup can save up to 98% of the energy, 99% of the water pollution, and 86% of the solid waste disposable cups makes.

Eco-Swap - Host a swap amongst your friends. Bring gear, clothing, anything that you and your friends don’t want, but could easily have life breathed back into them. Some of the best stuff is second hand. Plus, they’re your friends so chances are you have similar interests and gear needs. Reusing and recycling helps to fight our often-overeager urge to consume.

Watch an Eco-Flick or Read an Eco-Book - There are some good ones out there. One of my favorite books of all time is Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.” Other ideas include, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, “Seed’s of Change”, “An Inconvenient Truth”, “The Cove”, “Waiting for Superman” and many more.

Many of these ideas are easy to incorporate into your day-to-day life, but often we forget or don’t think to do them. In honor of Earth Day, I encourage you to try just one or two. Maybe they will stick and become part of your daily routine. If it’s for a day or a month or years, you are making your life and the planet just a tiny smidge greener.

By AI Blog contributor: Maggie Edmunds

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