World Environment Day happens every June 5. This is a great time to remember that the environment is important and coming into the public consciousness more and more. There are a number of little things you can do to help the environment every day, not just on this special holiday. They fall into two basic categories: reducing and reusing.
Reducing is the practice of changing our lifestyles so that we use less. We’re surrounded by ever-increasing amounts of convenience packaging and advertisements that are actually not so convenient. Wouldn’t you like to get all those plastic bags and all that junk mail out of your life? By deliberately choosing to use cloth or other reusable bags at the store, you can get rid of those accumulating grocery bags, and feel good about helping the environment, too. There’s a growing mass of floating plastic in the middle of the Pacific ocean that’s a hazard to wildlife of all kinds. Using fewer plastic bags means you don’t contribute to the “trash vortex.” By using sites like to get yourself off of mailing lists, you can reduce the flow of paper trash to your house, too. No one likes to go through the junk mail every day, and all those advertisements and pre-approved credit cards are wastes of virgin paper that could be better used elsewhere.
Reusing what you have is the other half of the equation. While recycling is good, it still uses up energy. You’re better off, when you have to use something, in making it serve multiple purposes before you get rid of it. Examples of this are writing on the back of envelopes that your bills came in when you need to make a list, instead of getting a sticky note or notepad, buying groceries that come in plastic containers you can use to store leftovers, and making clothes serve another purpose when you don’t want them by donating them or giving them to someone who will wear them.
One thing that many people forget, even if they’re conscientious about their environmental behaviors, is to apply their good habits to giving. Too often, we buy our friends and loved ones single use, prepackaged gifts. Many gifts come with a lot of unnecessary wrapping that needs to be thrown away. Try to think of reusable gifts that don’t use too many resources to produce. One example of this kind of present is the gift basket. The recipient can enjoy the food and other items inside, and then put the basket to use holding things around the house. If you buy from the right sellers, you can even avoid the cellophane wrapping that many people who make gift baskets use. This is just one of the many ideas you can use to make your living and your giving better for the environment.