Despite our ever increasing reliance on technology, many people are turning to parks and trails to get relief from the “new normal” of pandemic life. With a new appreciation for our parks, greenspaces, and wildlife, it’s important to realize that these valuable natural resources need to be protected in order to continue using them. Earth Day 2020 was somewhat overlooked due to the initial COVID-19 outbreak. But it’s been a year now and we shouldn’t let Earth Day 2021 go by without a passing glance.

Although it isn’t safe to host our traditional Earth Day events, the Directorate of Public Works, Environmental Division still wants to celebrate. This year, we will be celebrating Earth Day as a virtual, month-long event, sharing educational information on our Facebook page. Check in each week during the month of April for videos, activities, and graphics explaining important environmental information. (See the accompanying graphic for more information)

Want to make a positive impact on the environment at home? Try building these good habits this month.

1. Reduce Single-Use Plastic Waste: Skip the plastic straw when drinking, use reusable containers instead of plastic bags, and try to buy products with less plastic packaging. Recycle all plastics that are recyclable. Use cloth shopping bags instead of disposable bags and let your food delivery service know you don’t need those plastic utensils.

2. Reduce Your Water Use: Make sure to turn off faucets when you don’t need them running and choose landscaping that requires little water. Native plants are typically drought tolerant, are very low maintenance (because they have everything they need to grow well right where you are), and support pollinator species which are critical to sustaining our food supply. Take shorter showers and only run your washer with a full load of clothes.

3. Drive Less: Walk where you need to go whenever possible. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s also great exercise. If you need to travel farther, use public transportation, if possible.

4. Eat Less Meat: Eating less meat reduces emissions, water use, and water pollution all at once. Just taking meat out of one day a week can make a difference.

5. Support Local: Purchasing your goods from local shops and growers cuts down on how far these goods are transported. Less transportation means less energy is expended and results in lower emissions levels. Supporting local shops and growers also supports your community.