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In 1970 on April 22 twenty million people celebrated the first Earth Day. Since then our planet has faced many environmental challenges, but has also made great strides in protecting and preserving our natural resources. This year Earth Day will be celebrated on Friday, April 22nd. You can do your part by pledging to make our environment a safer, healthier place to live, work, and play. One way to do that is to take part in the Pick Five for the Environment Program, a program sponsored by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of State. The program encourages individuals to pick five actions to protect our environment.
•Turn the water off when brushing your teeth or washing your hands or face.
•When shaving, fill the basin with water and dip your razor in the basin as needed.
•No need to wait for the water to get warm. Plug the drain before turning on the faucet for a bath. As the tub fills adjust the water temperature.
•Check your toilet for leaks. Replace old (prior to 1993) toilets with new WaterSense labeled toilets.
•Flush the toilet only when necessary. Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket. Throw tissues, insects, and other trash into the garbage not the toilet.
•Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to restrict the flow of water.
•Limit showers to 3-4 minutes.
•Use less than 5 inches of water when taking a bath.
•While waiting for water to get warm for a shower, catch water in a pitcher or bucket, and use to water plants.
•Install a programmable thermostat.
•Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR–qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs.
•Check the temperature of refrigerators and freezers to make sure temperatures are within the recommended ranges.
•Turn off or unplug small appliances and electronics when not in use.
•As a general rule, when turning on the tap use cold water whenever possible. Hot water requires energy.
•Drive sensibly to improve your gas mileage.
•Avoid needless vehicle idling. If you plan to be parked for longer than 10 seconds, turn your engine off.
•Pay bills online when possible.
•Think before you print.
•Use reusable containers.
•Buy items in bulk.
•Recycle items when possible.
For more information on how you can help improve our environment, and to Pick Five for the Environment visit the program’s website at www.epa.gov/pick5/.
Prepared by Ashley R Osborne, Extension Assoicate for Environmental and Natural Resource Issues.
Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.