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Buying sustainable fashion, including apparel made from 100% recycled materials, is one way to go green during Earth Month. Stock photo
Buying sustainable fashion, including apparel made from 100% recycled materials, is one way to go green during Earth Month. Stock photo
ColumnsEnvironmentLiving Green

Pledge to go green for Earth Month

April is Earth Month. It’s a time to raise awareness of environmental issues, helping to prevent further harm to our planet’s natural resources and assisting in reducing the impact of climate change.

It’s a time to take stock of our efforts to be green and learn what more we can do to aid the world’s environmental health.

This year’s Earth Month theme is “Invest in Our Planet” — creating a “partnership for the planet” that accounts for all people and holds businesses and governments accountable.

With that in mind, here are some Earth Month pledges we can make to contribute to the better stewardship of our planet.

Learn more about the environmental problems we face

Knowledge is (renewable) power. So it’s essential to keep up to date with the realities of our challenges. In addition, the official Earth Day campaign calls for every learner in every school worldwide to receive climate and environmental education as an urgent priority. So it’s worth our while to stay on top of current research and events, to dig deeper into current events, and to know how to check sources.

Commit to a month without single-use plastics.

Ending our reliance on plastic is a critical issue. Studies suggest that the vast majority of plastic we use either does not get recycled or can’t be recycled. Plastics rely on fossil fuel-based chemicals in their manufacture, and the most harmful plastics are those designed to be discarded after a single use.

Explore ways to avoid single-use plastics for just a month; this will give you an idea of how much single-use plastic you throw away and make a slight difference in the amount of plastic waste generated that month. It will help in its way to reduce the harm we do to marine and human health; and by littering beaches and landscapes, in addition to clogging waste streams and landfills.

Help to plant trees

The Earth Day organization works with The Canopy Project to plant trees across the globe, reforesting areas in dire need of rehabilitation, including regions with some of the world’s communities most at-risk from climate change and environmental degradation.

The Canopy Project has also helped with tree planting after environmental disasters. You can donate directly to The Canopy Project or get involved with a local tree-planting charity to help on the ground.

Buy sustainable fashion

The fast fashion industry is a significant cause of damaging waste. Clothing manufacturing can deplete healthy soil, contaminate freshwater sources and pollute the air and our oceans, contributing to deforestation and damaging ecosystems and the health of their biodiversity.

Sustainable fashion, on the other hand, uses a clothing supply chain that is ecologically and socially responsible. Stock photo
Sustainable fashion uses an ecologically and socially responsible clothing supply chain. Stock photo

On the other hand, sustainable fashion uses an ecologically and socially responsible clothing supply chain. You can choose to buy less, opting for quality over quantity. Natural materials, such as organic cotton, linen or hemp, are good choices, as are 100% recycled fabrics. Of course, buying second-hand clothing is a great option, as is repairing older clothes yourself.

And if you’re buying new, Earth Day organizers recommend choosing brands “that are manufactured in their own community and connected to the place, people behind them, local economy, and environment.”

Opt to eat environmentally.

Eating green doesn’t mean eating only greens. Instead, choose to eat in-season, locally sourced foods, and you are cutting down on factors like waste, transportation, and poor agricultural practices while supporting local food producers.

And if you eat more plant-based foods, you are helping to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the livestock sector. Start easy: try opting for plant-based over meat twice a week. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to do this these days.

A.J. van de Ven is CEO of Carlsbad-based smart irrigation company Calsense and a board member of the nonprofit EcoLife Conservation.