Earth Day has been celebrated for nearly 40 years in the United States, and since then, many strides have been made by humans to help reduce the further impact we will and have already made on our beautiful planet.
Countries Who Are Leading the Way:
In Myanmar, solar power has been distributed by way of solar charging stations to villages like the Tada Oh, in the central area of Mandalay. Women in the village manage the charging stations, and then sell the power back to their surrounding communities. Coincidentally, Myanmar has one of the lowest per capita GDP, and over 75% of their population is without power and electricity, so this is huge for them!
In 2015, Costa Rica reported that they had achieved 99% renewable energy. How, you ask? Costa Rica is home to an abundance of rainfall, therefore hydropower is easily generated. The country is also setting goals to move public transportation away from fossil fuels, and towards geothermal and other energy sources. Well done, Costa Rica!
Iceland is known for being beautiful because of it’s breathtaking landscape (just Google, "Iceland," and check out the photos!) It is because of this landscape that Iceland is also incredibly self-sustaining. Nearly 25% of the country’s electricity comes from geothermal energy, and 87% of the buildings in Iceland are powered by geothermal sources. Only .1% is powered by fossil fuels. It's awesome to see Iceland maintaining their landscape and harnessing it's incredible power without depleting resources.
You may be surprised to see India listed here, but in 2015, India saw a 12% increase to their renewable energy sources. India has huge potential for becoming a solar power provider, as it typically sees 300 days of sun per year. How incredible it would be to be able to harness the power of the sun!
We want to tip our hats to these countries, and even though they may not all be leaders in renewable energy, they are making strides with their effort. That matters greatly, because small changes matter. Speaking of small changes...
How Can I Make Changes to Positively Impact the Earth and Myself?
Small changes matter! It does not matter if you lead a zero waste life or if you simply choose to ride a bike instead of your car three days a week. Small changes still create impact, and that goes a long way.
Here are some easy ways you can have an impact as a consumer:
Research the companies and brands you purchase from.
Does a particular brand you purchase from have an impact-offset plan? What are their shipping methods? How eco-friendly is their packaging? Who are they profiting? You might be surprised by what you discover! There are plenty of companies doing good out there, not just existing to make money. Find them!
Take your own bags to the store.
Plastic bags are one of the most polluting items on our earth, especially in our oceans. Many city programs still don't have facilities to recycle plastic bags, so they end up in landfill. Taking your own bag is a simple and easy way to lower or eliminate your plastic bag use, and many stores give out bag credit when you bring your own bag! (A special nod to all of you who take your Ethnotek Bag to shop for groceries!)
Consider biking, walking, or other self-propelled forms of travel.
Yes, skiing counts! Human-powered travel is not only beneficial to the environment, but also to you, as a form of exercise! Plus, don’t you notice so much more when you take a walk?
How are you already offsetting your impact? Share it with us - we'd love to know!