Earth Day Should Be Every Day: April 22, 2013

There is one very important day that is slowly getting the recognition it deserves.

April 22, 2013 is Earth Day.

It’s time to raise a higher awareness of this global initiative to save our planet. With the changing climate, the possible loss of species (elephants, tigers, gorillas) and mass amounts of pollution dirtying our lives, if you’re not doing something to change your habits and clean up the atmosphere, now is the time to start!

These three cities put Earth Day at the top of the list of importance, much like the activists in 1970 that created the first Earth Day—Gaylord Nelson (a U.S. Wisconsin Senator at the time), Pete McCloskey (a Republican Congressman at the time) and Denis Hayes (Time Magazine’s 1999 “Hero of the Planet”).

With each year, the Earth Day movement is spreading farther and farther across the globe promoting awareness to even the smallest of cultures. This year, EarthDay.org explains that more than one billion people will do their part in protecting our green earth. What are these eco-friendly cities doing and what can you do?

Minneapolis, MN

Not only is Minneapolis doing their part in cutting down on obesity and traffic mayhem, its Nice Ride bike-sharing program is reducing the amount of dirty emissions released into the environment. Being recognized as the second most bike-friendly city in the nation by Bicycling magazine (#1 being Portland, Oregon), the cycling culture in this city is considerably healthy and growing even stronger. This community-wide initiative includes all types of people from spandexed enthusiasts to heeled business women. With “America’s first bike freeway,” the 4.25-mile Cedar Lake Regional Trail and more than 120 miles of bikeways, Minneapolis’ bicycle community continues to grow and do their part in reducing their carbon footprint.

What can you do? Jump on a bike. Take public transportation. Carpool. You don’t have to do this only on April 22; start now and see how good you feel, how much easier you breathe.

Lincoln, NE

The Cleaner Greener Lincoln intuitive encourages the community to join together in their quest for a more sustainable culture. Their LPlan 2040 looks 30 years ahead at population growth, jobs and ways the committee can preserve and enhance the Lincoln quality of life. According to the plan, Lincoln will be focusing on seven priority indicator areas that include: air, water, land, waste, energy, transportation and community. While other cities are taking steps here and there to reduce their footprint, Lincoln is doing visiting all areas of possibility. The future is bright in Nebraska.

What can you do? There are many Lincoln apartments for rent that all have ENERGY STAR rated appliances and LED lighting. These are important steps in saving energy and money. If you already own a home, change out your current lighting at little cost and when you can, look into energy saving appliances, double pane windows and composting.

Detroit, Michigan

Urban farming continues to transform the city of Detroit. The Institute for Sustainable Communities reports that Detroit is turning abandoned lots into gardens that yearly brings 100 tons of produce. It’s a community effort involving kids. It brings healthy food to everyone no matter where they live. Kids tend to the planting and gardening of all types of fruits and vegetables during after-school programs. It teaches these children that food comes from the earth. Some of these kids working in the gardens will take home what they’ve learned and implement them in their own homes, reports cnnmoney.com.

What can you do? DIY your own garden for herbs, fruits and vegetables. If you are in an apartment, use a window box, wine boxes or other decorative containers to put in your smaller outdoor space or on your windowsill. This could save money on food and eliminate the need to use your car as often.

Spread the word about #EarthDay via social media or when talking to the elderly and children. It’s important for all generations to be educated on the importance of taking extra steps in order to protect our environment and our future.

This article was written by Ava Stevens. Ava is a freelance writer from Maine.

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