We celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22.  The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action.  Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.

While the world has been shut down, there has been an unexpected positive effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With businesses closed and fewer vehicles on the road, carbon and pollution levels have drastically decreased.

This puts a major spotlight on how our behavior is affecting our planet and raises the questions - what will happen when the shutdown is over and what can we do now to improve our earth?  As we celebrate Earth Day,  here are 6 changes we can make in our everyday lives to protect this planet and keep it beautiful.

For more information, here's a guide for reducing your carbon footprint from The Atlantic County Utilities Authority, and a list of local environmental organizations.

  • Jupiterimages/ ThinkStock
    1

    Use Reusable Bottles

    Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles a year. By using a reusable water bottle you can save an average of 156 water bottles a year from ending up in our landfills. Don't be afraid to take it a step further and use a reusable cup for your morning coffee as well.

  • Pornpak Khunatorn/ ThinkStock
    2

    Turn Lights Off When Leaving A Room

    By turning the lights off when leaving a room you can decrease the amount of energy you are using every day, and as an added bonus, you can save some money on your electric bill every month.

     

  • jacoblund/ ThinkStock
    3

    Use Reusable Straws

    We have all heard this one before, by using reusable straws you can save the oceans and their wildlife. On average the US uses 500 million straws a day, so why not switch to reusable ones and save the turtles. 

  • Gary Shannon/ ThinkStock
    4

    Turn The Water Off

    We have all done it, just leave the water running the entire time we are brushing our teeth. This is extremely wasteful, just by shutting the water off while brushing your teeth you can be saving 6 or more gallons of water a day!

  • natalie_board/ ThinkStock
    5

    Switch To Reusable Bags

    The most wasteful thing you can do is go to the grocery store and bring home all of those plastic bags that either sit around in your house or end up in the trash. Switch to reusable bags, they are stronger, can carry more, and you can just leave them in your trunk so they are there whenever you end up shopping. 

  • 6

    Drive Less or Get An Electric Vehicle

    Electric Vehicles (EVs) (also known as battery electric cars) have several environmental benefits compared to conventional internal combustion engine cars. They have lower operating and maintenance costs, produce little or no local air pollution, reduce dependence on oil and have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

    Another way to lower pollution is to walk, bike or carpool whenever possible