Earth Day Sustainability Tips
Working remotely has so many benefits. In the case of Liveops employee Doug Wheat, it provides an opportunity to explore his passions. Doug is a true outdoors enthusiast and environmental advocate. When he’s not onboarding agents as a Liveops Remote Learning Facilitation Specialist, he’s busy exploring his Florida home and sharing his sustainability tips to others to help protect the environment. Doug is guest blogging to share some of his top tips for sustainability, in celebration of Earth Day!
With Earth Day 2021 upon us let’s take a few minutes to identify easy ways that each and every one of us can have a positive impact on this planet we call home. Today’s tips aim to be different by being simple, impactful and by helping each of us determine how we specifically can improve our world.
No doubt most of us want to do our part to help the environment, but we’re often challenged to find a manageable and consistent activity. This is how I hope to inspire you to find your impact. We’ll start simple and move to advanced.
Here are some simple tips on how to have a positive environmental impact wherever you go.
- Refillable Water Bottle – Find Your Size
On a personal note, I have wanted for years to give up small-size plastic water bottles but found that I did not drink as much water when I used a refillable water bottle. Some refillable water bottles had a bad taste, or just didn’t meet my needs. However, these days we have some great options and I am happy to report I recently made the switch and have personally eliminated over 2,000 water bottles per year – and you can too! If you need additional motivation, research the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an accumulation of marine debris that is about twice the size of Texas.
Finding the right size of a health-conscious refillable water bottle is what helped me finally make the change. If my water bottle is too big it’s not comfortable to carry and the water doesn’t always taste “fresh.” I found that the Half Liter size (0.5 Liter), is what fits in bicycles, backpacks, car holders, etc., and is a perfect combination of comfort to carry and volume of water.
- Passive Clean Up – While You Adventure
This one takes minimal effort and has a great impact on our visual enjoyment. From everyday trailblazing to weekend (or longer) adventures, always have something to collect and stow trash. We can all think of a time when we were in a beautiful outdoor pristine setting and then saw a small bit of trash – how did we feel? Did it change our perception of that perfect picture? Reuse a bag and collect trash that you feel comfortable grabbing (gloves are helpful, as long as they go in the trash bag too). The important part is that collecting anything that doesn’t belong is a win for the environment.
Ever since my son was young, I have always suggested that he try to leave these places better than we found them, not just footprints in the sand.
- Active Clean Up – Clean Up IS the Adventure
Eco-Tourism and destination vacations (which include ecological restoration) are on the rise. These adventures can be quite interesting, fun, and the destinations are limitless. Taking that philosophy and applying it to our personal lives; what if we took the passive clean-up approach and made the CLEAN-UP the adventure?
This reminds me of the Hill Country of Texas and the Pedernales River, outside of Austin, that I used to canoe regularly – about an 18-mile section from the State Park down to a small run. The first few times my canoe buddy Ben and I did the trip we noticed several tires in the river or sand, which due to quick flooding would somehow end up in the river, downstream. At some point, we had the epiphany that we should challenge ourselves to see how many tires we could collect per trip. During our day trips on the Pedernales, we would sometimes find 4-5 tires. To our delight, as time went on we saw fewer tires strewn in the water. We had made an impact that allowed other people canoeing down this pristine Texas Hill Country river to enjoy the perfectly clear water, not tarnished with a half-buried automobile tire in the picture. Not to mention the residual effects of the chemicals in the tire leaching into the water.
This is the Weeki Wachee river on the Gulf Coast of Florida, just north of Tampa Bay. You might have heard of the Famous Florida Mermaids? This is where they live and it is still one of the coolest, real Florida things to do in the state. Manatees use this spring-fed river to stay warm in the winter as the temperature is 72 degrees year-round. I think we can all agree that if we saw trash, a tire, or something else that didn’t belong we would want to do something. Well, Just_Do_Something. “All great things start from small beginnings…”
- For those wanting to take the next step: Permaculture, not just for Gardening…
“Permaculture is an approach to land management and philosophy that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems. It includes a set of design principles derived using whole systems thinking. It uses these principles in fields such as regenerative agriculture, rewilding, and community resilience,” according to Wikipedia.
Minimize impact on our surroundings by living in harmony with our environment. If we start thinking about Permaculture as a “Human” Culture and not just for Gardening or Farming, each of us can find our path in contributing to – and having a positive impact – on our planet.
A big part of the Permaculture philosophy is reducing consumption through reusing, recycling, and upcycling. I use old bicycle wheels in my garden as a cucumber trellis, which is a fabulous example of reusing and upcycling. Nothing in the setup was purchased new, everything was collected. Local online marketplaces typically have many opportunities to find items like this, for free or very low cost. Let your creativity run wild and free and celebrate that you are reducing pressure on resources and landfills. Also, you are helping to protect species that so desperately need the habitat that is destroyed by excess facilities producing for human consumption.
So, Happy Earth Day! Get out there and enjoy the open spaces and gorgeous landscape that each and every corner of our great country has to offer! Along the way, do what you can and celebrate the win!