10 simple things

These ideas can help you stop global warming and save the planet

Whether you’re a diehard environmentalist or an eco-amateur, here are 10 easy ways to make Earth Day more than a concept.

1. Stop buying water in throw-away plastic bottles.

Seriously, stop it. We throw out 2.5 million water bottles per hour in this country that never biodegrade in landfills. Reuse your bottle or drink from a glass.

2. Green as your garden grows.

Just say no to pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. There’s almost always a better way, just ask an expert. Example: Get rid of earwigs with little bowls half full of water, soy sauce and vegetable oil placed in the ground. Watch them drown!

3 . Take stock in your house.

Replace the traditional cleaners under your sink and the detergents in your laundry room with eco-friendly options. Look for eco-friendlier liquid dish soap, dishwasher powder, cleanser, surface cleaner, laundry detergent, stain remover and dryer sheets. They work just as well as traditional types and most stores carry everything you need. If they don’t, find out why.

4. Ride your bike or use your feet.

This weekend, ride the river path or walk to the store—no excuses. If your bike tires are flat, and you don’t have a pump, or if you’re not sure if they’re just slowly leaking air or actually punctured, take the wheels off or throw the bike in the back of your SUV and go to your local bike shop.

5. Participate.

Don’t like the way Reno is sprawling? Concerned about fish in the Truckee? This is America—you can do something about it.

• Attend a county commissioners meeting, call a city council member or write your representative.

• Do some research, figure out who to vote for, and go to the polls.

6. Turn stuff off.

Like the lights, your computer, and the water. Turn off the air conditioner. Hang your clothes up to dry. Skip the drive-through.

7. Buy organic. Local. Free-range.

Organic food, organic clothes, organic hair care products. When you have a choice, spend the extra 10 cents and purchase products grown without harmful chemicals. Buy meat that wasn’t shot up with antibiotics and growth hormones. And eat food that didn’t spend its life in hellish confinement.

8. Pay attention.

You need to know what’s going on before you can make informed decisions.

• Read the newspaper or subscribe to an environmental newsletter online like The Daily GRIST, www.grist.org.

• Look things up. When you Google “climate change” you get 38,000,000 hits, but the first page of matches is all you need to learn about this global problem. Don’t be intimidated, you can do it!

9. Be kind to the animal kingdom.

No one has it harder right now than the birds and the bees. And the bears and the whales. Wildlife habitat is being destroyed by development and pollution, and we’re eating so much commercially caught fish that our oceans are in serious peril. Don’t believe me? See No. 8.

10. Recycle.

Hard to believe we’re still talking about this one.