11 practical and easy ways you can make an impact in honor of Earth Day

A long time ago, I gave up hopes of saving the planet. I’m just one person, but I am one person with a voice, a mind, and a passion to make a difference.

I think people want to make a positive impact on the planet. I think people do have environmental concerns. However, I think people don’t know where to start.

So in honor of April 22, Earth Day, I decided to make a list of a few practical and easy ways you can start making a positive impact.

Plant something

This is super easy. I planted a tree in my backyard and it is great to see how much it has grown since I was in elementary school. Planting a tree helps with reducing pollution in the air, it helps soak up the water from the rain, provides a home for animals, and it helps cool down the area in the summer. A win win for all.

Get Moving

I used to drive my car to my library or my best friends house. When my car broke down, I started to take the bus, ride my bike, and walk more. I realized that my library was a mile from my house and my best friend lived only half a mile from my house; why was I driving! Now, weather  and time permitted, I walk or ride my bike or even take the bus to locations that are under 5 miles.

Get new light bulbs

Changing your light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs will make a difference. It is easy, last longer, and it is worth the price.

Get informed

Even if you never recycle a bottle in your life, please just get informed. Read the newspaper, read a blog, check out Twitter or Facebook for news. It all starts with information. Once you are informed, it is inevitable, you will start changing.

Tell a friend

Maybe you don’t like going outside or people or helping. Maybe you just like sitting on the computer. That is fine. But, you can still make an impact from your couch. Share information. Share, like, tweet, blog about causes. The more people talk about these issues, the more people know, and the bigger the impact that can be made.

Reuse and Recycle 

Find out your local laws for recycling and get on board.

Recycle: glass, paper, electronics, and more. Also properly dispose of medication- we don’t need anymore chemicals in our drinking water.

Reuse. Instead of tossing a glass jar, maybe use it to store oils, teas, juice, sauces, etc. Instead of tossing a t-shirt, turn it into a bag to go grocery shopping or use it to clean your home.

Eat  and shop locally 

I’ve written a few times on eating and shopping locally. It to me is one of biggest impacts you can make environmentally and economically without doing too much.

Get involved

Volunteer! Get involved with your community. You will learn about different causes, meet new people, and make an impact in an collaborative environment.

Turn off your computer

Turn off your computer at night, it will help save you some money on your electricity bill.

Go paperless

Cut down on the amount of mail you receive  and go paperless. It helps save paper , cuts down on waste, and helps save time with paying bills online.

Cut down on diaper waste

Diapers fill landfills and all that can be reduced by finding alternative ways to diaper your baby.

There are ways to make an impact without becoming a fanatic environmentalist. But, trust me, the more knowledge you gain about what really is going on out there, the more you will turn into that tree hugging environmentalist. It’s inevitable, the truth makes you angry and irritated and motivated to make a difference.

More ideas and information:

Earth Day website

50 ways you can help the planet

NASA Earth month

Earth Day: 13 things everyone can do in 2013

6 fun ways to celebrate Earth Day 2013

What would the world be like without bees?

How to make all-purpose cleaner with oranges and vinegar

5 reasons to purchase locally grown produce

How to buy inexpensive produce

Turn a t-shirt into a bag

9 ways to sustain our planet

Top 10 eco-friendly states 

List of green apps

Water accessibility on Earth

Green your diet

 

What would you add to this list of easy and practical ways to make an impact on Earth Day and beyond?

 

***Lisa-Marie 

An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre

 

 

When monetizing fame goes wrong

Last summer, I discussed on the blog fame and monetizing fame. The post was inspired by Steve Pavlina’s blog post where he stated:

Monetizing fame is actually pretty easy. Consider the Oprah effect. When Oprah recommends a book, it sells like crazy. If she wanted to, she could leverage her fame to promote products, businesses, and more in exchange for a cut of the sales. Lots of companies would be happy to pay her for an endorsement.

If you live in the New York region and are into environmentalism, you might have heard about the South Bronx environmental activist Majora Carter. If you don’t know much about her, check out this Tedtalk. She is clearly passionate about her causes and is impressive to watch.

Today, the New York Times published an article about Majora Carter and her changing from a community activist to a celebrity and forgetting her origins and fighting against the best interests of the Bronx.

Majora Carter was hired by a company called FreshDirect, a grocery delivery company. Some Bronx community members argue that FreshDirect is not a company that needs to be housed in the Bronx and it does not have the residents best interests at heart.

While reading the article, I kept thinking back to monetizing fame and that Steve Pavlina quote. Did Majora Carter’s attempt to monetizing fame go wrong? Or are people just being critical? Are people just upset that an activist was able to take her passions and turn it into a business pursuit.

She’s been accused of being more of a celebrity who supports corporations, than an environmental activist who fights for Bronx residents. Her detractors feel she should be using her star power to fight against corporations, not join forces and support them.

Majora Carter, believes that FreshDirect “would create jobs, provide access to healthy foods, and promote local food-based businesses.” And that “ultimately they would be able to provide a net benefit to the community.”

Her heart might be in the right place, but unfortunately, I think this story will bruise her brand. Creating a brand that can monetize, takes authenticity, transparency, and trust.

Majora Carter was able to create herself as an environmental activist brand. With this creation, she had the ability to travel as a paid speaker, work as consultant, and more. However, this celebrity status, clashed with activists and community members.

This is an important issue when working as an activist. There will be times when activists turn into celebrities and start making more money and obtaining more accolades. How to balance the authenticity to connect with community members, yet establish oneself as an expert who can make money is tough.

There is a perception that to be an activist, you need to be broke, but that isn’t so. I hope more activists, who turn to monetizing their fame, look at successful examples and learn to monetize without turning off the community that helped build their celebrity status.

Your thoughts? Should activist join forces with corporations? Should activists stay true to the community and not monetize their fame?

***Lisa-Marie 

An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Would you be upset if your fiancé purchased your engagement ring from Costco?

To me love has become a material thing. When discussing relationships with my sisters and friends, they never really ask “is he good to you?” “is he honest?” The comments and questions tend to lean on the material side.

Every time engagement rings are on display at Costco, me and my sisters have the same debate: would or wouldn’t you be upset if your fiancé purchased an engagement ring from Costco.

My sisters argue they don’t want an engagement ring from the same place they can buy milk and lawn furniture.

I argue, that some of the rings are really nice and some even cost over 20k; so who cares where he got it from.

So I decided to bring the discussion over to the blog.

Would you be upset if your fiancé purchased your engagement ring from Costco? Would you tell him to take it back?

*Note: I am participating in the Problogger blogging exercise: bringing discussion to the blog. Check out his blog post on discussion posts.

 

***Lisa-Marie 

An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre

What would the world be like without bees?

I love watching animation. My friends and family sometimes laugh at me and say “you’re not seven anymore, why are you watching these type of movies?” They can laugh all they want, I don’t pay them any mind. I know the perception of children’s movies is that it’s just entertainment, but for anyone who has seen movies like Meet the Robinsons, Up!, Walle, the Lorax, the Bee Movie, How to Train your Dragon, the list goes on, these movies carry deeper meaning.

These movies carry a lesson and we need to wake up and pay attention. Look past the color, the songs, and pay attention to the symbolism and the message that is being delivered.

I read a New York Times article today about the collapse of bees. As I was reading through the article, I kept remembering snippets of the Bee Movie. In that movie, when all the bees stopped pollinating,  the balance of nature was disrupted and things began to spiral out of control.

Why you need to care

Reading that 40 to 50 percent of hives needed to pollinate our fruits and vegetables have been wiped out, is disconcerting. This is a serious issue, not only for ecosystem, but our economy. Since all people talk the same language when it comes to money, lets discuss what this could possibly do to your pockets.

Approximately one-fourth of the American diet relies on pollination. With the decline of bee hives, that means there will be smaller harvests and an increase in food prices. Which to me could cause a chain reaction, health wise. For example, If I am a parent who needs to make food choices for my children and I am low-income, am I going to buy apples that now cost 4 dollars a pound or will I get some junk food that’s 99 cents a bag? In terms of industry, this impacts beekeepers and farmers alike, this is their livihood, they will need to increase prices to survive.

Why are these bees dying? 

Prior to 2005 (yes this has been happening for a very long time), only about  5 to 10 percent of bee hives were lost during pollination season, now it is up to 50 percent! Something is wrong. Something is wrong and scientists still have not come to a conclusive answer. Many blame droughts, pesticides, resistance to pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.

It is mind boggling that a conclusive answer has not been found.

Analysts had documented about 150 chemical residues in pollen and wax gathered from beehives. “Where do you start?” Dr. Eric Mussen said. “When you have all these chemicals at a sublethal level, how do they react with each other? What are the consequences?” Experts say nobody knows – Michael Wines, NY Times 

Do you really need to be a scientist to know that the consequences are the bees are dying, our ecosystem is being disrupted, illness is on the rise, and food prices will skyrocket. Sometimes, I wonder if common sense should be a degree.

 

What next?

We as consumers need to open our eyes. Stop living life on autopilot. Start questioning why. Start doing your research. Ask yourself why are things like the Monsanto Protection Act being passed? Why aren’t these industry giants being held accountable? Why are humans playing God? When will our curiosity be satisfied? Why are your children getting sick? Why are food prices so high? Why, why, why?

After you ask the why, your eyes will start to open. Once your eyes start to open, you will get angry and irritated. And once you are irritated, you will start to demand change. When we all demand change, guess what? Change comes. Lets just hope it isn’t too late for our generation.

Your thoughts?

***Lisa-Marie 

An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Max Wesby