Earth Day is around the corner, and while the coronavirus pandemic is still at the forefront of our minds, it’s important to remember the environment as well. Here are three ways to care for the earth while protecting ourselves and the environment.
By Christine McParland
1. Avoid Excess Chemicals
Due to the pandemic, chemical cleaners have become necessary to keep surfaces clean of the virus. However, we can find other ways to reduce chemical usage and help offset the impact on the environment. Try taking a break from using artificial fragrances in your home (such as those found in candles or air fresheners). Essential oils are an excellent alternative to freshen the air. Many people also find the natural fragrances of essential oils to be soothing, calming, or even energizing.
Note for pet owners: Be sure that the essential oils you choose to use in your home are not poisonous to cats, dogs, or other pets. Popular scents like peppermint, cinnamon, and tea tree smell great, but can be very harmful for furbabies!
2. Avoid Excess Waste (aka “Precycle”)
This one is obvious but not to be overlooked, especially during a time when disposable masks, gloves, and other protective materials are required. While this can’t be helped, there are other creative ways you can help offset the impact on landfills. Continue to recycle household items like paper, glass, and plastic, but also try to “precycle” as much as possible. Precycling is the idea of avoiding excess waste to begin with, such as purchasing household items that come in recyclable containers and only buying as much food as you need. Though it’s a good idea to stock up in order to reduce the frequency of your shopping trips, opt for frozen and canned goods to avoid food waste. And when you do need to dispose of food or organic matter (such as fruit peels, egg shells, and coffee grounds), consider composting. Compost makes great fertilizer for gardens (see tip #3 below)!
3. Plant a Garden
Gardening is not only good for the earth, but it’s also good for you, too! A garden will encourage you to get outside every day—a perfect project for the whole family during a season of social distancing. When you grow herbs and produce in your own backyard, you eliminate the risk of potential contamination from grocery store shelves. If flower gardens are more your style, you’ll still reap the mood-boosting benefit of having beautiful and fragrant blooms around your home!
Note for pet owners: Like some essential oils, many plants can also be lethal if ingested by pets (a downturn in Easter lily sales due to social distancing will undoubtedly save many cats this year!). A quick Google search should confirm which ones are safe to have in your home.
What are some ways that you are caring for the earth during the COVID-19 pandemic? Let us know in the comments below!