Here are some tips:
- Make your own reusable cloth facemask: The CDC recommends cloth face masks in public areas where social distancing is difficult (grocery stores, crowded sidewalks, etc.). For instructions on how to make cloth facemask go here.
- Buy sustainable products: Purchase products that are reusable, contain post-consumer recycled content, are compostable or recyclable, are locally sourced, or have green certifications. Always ask yourself if you need to purchase new or consider purchasing second-hand items.
- Give unused items a new life: Give unused items a new life by “upcycling” them into a DIY or art project. Check here for upcycling ideas and here for kid’s art project ideas.
- Reduce your energy use: Switch to LED lights, use natural lighting, turn your computer and monitor off at night, purchase ENERGY STAR devices, and unplug unused devices or use a smart strip to reduce your energy use. You can also perform a home energy audit using this guide.
- Eat more plants and less meat: Adopting a more plant-based diet can lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, along with being better for the environment. Try going meatless for a day.
- Get growing! Growing plants can help support your health and the environment. For gardening tips go here,and to find native plants search here. Choosing native plants can help reduce flooding, provide wildlife habitat, and they require less upkeep. For indoor tips go here.
- Green cleaning: Many conventional cleaners contain of chemicals that can contribute to pollution. Switching to green cleaners or DIY cleaners or disinfectants, where appropriate, can reduce pollution in your home. Follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for areas in need of disinfection.
- Limit water use, especially on rainy days: Doing laundry and using a lot of water during heavy rainfall can overburden water infrastructure and worsen flooding, wait a day if you can! Purchase low flow or WaterSense products and limit showers to seven minutes to reduce water use.
- Recycle Right: Empty items of liquids and foods before recycling (they don’t need to be squeaky clean, just not full of food or liquid). And check on what is recyclable in your area. For items not accepted in your curbside recycling search here.
- Opt-out of junk mail and wasteful packaging: Register for digital bank statements and remove your name from junk mail lists. Reduce packaging by buying in bulk, purchasing less wasteful products, and having your online relater ship items together.
- Enjoy some environmental webinars here or here.
- Calculate your Green House Gas Footprint here or your Ecological Footprint here.
- For a list of environmental documentaries click here and check out Once Earth’s free virtual film festival here.
- For a list of environmental reading suggestions go here.
- For tips on how to connect with nature while your stuck at home go here.
How to connect to nature, even when you’re stuck at home
Feeling stressed cooped up at home?
Studies have shown that exposure to nature can lower stress, improve memory, boost your immune system and lessen depression, among other benefits.
Of course, you shouldn’t go to a crowded park to appreciate nature during the COVID-19 pandemic, when social distancing is critical to stopping the spread of the virus. Luckily, you can appreciate nature wherever you are, whether that’s your backyard, in front of a TV screen or even on your apartment’s city block.
Here are a few ideas:
Walk outside: Despite the mandate to stay home, walking outside can support your health and mental well-being, as long as you take precautions to practice social distancing. That means staying six feet apart from other people and avoid groups, as well as wearing a face mask if needed. Take your time. Appreciate nature as you walk, whether it’s a daisy growing next to the sidewalk or you’re exploring a natural area. Pay attention to respect park closures.
Watch a nature documentary or webcam: Nature documentaries and webcams can provide a soothing break to our stressful times. You can view a list of family-friendly documentaries here and animal webcams here. Additionally, you can check out One Earth’s free virtual film festival here.
Start a garden: Growing food and native plants is a great way to connect with nature, support your health, decrease trips to the grocery store, and support wildlife habitat. For tips on how to start growing click here and to find native plants search here.
Become a citizen scientist: Help contribute to scientific research by working on projects here. One option is the Wildwatch Burrowing Owl project, where you observe and classify owl behavior, which helps contribute to their conservation.
Birdwatch: If you have a yard, set up a bird feeder viewable from a window, just make sure you know what to feed them. Audubon’s bird watching app can help you ID and track bird sightings with friends.
Listen to nature: Search YouTube or your music streaming platform for nature sounds. They’re perfect for relaxing, meditating, or any other mindfulness exercise.
Lastly, make sure to celebrate the 50th annual Earth Day on April 22!