Top 10 ways to celebrate Earth Week

Be green, keep the Earth clean

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Paige Waterhouse is a Top 10 writer for The Cavalier Daily.

Emma Klein | Cavalier Daily

1. Check out Sustainability U.Va.

Happy Earth Week! In honor of Earth Day, Sustainability U.Va. is putting on a week’s worth of green-themed events April 22 to celebrate clean living. Want to get involved? Check out their website for the official calendar of events. PSA  — there will be food! Too busy with end of the year assignments? Don’t worry! Here are some simple ways you can show our planet some love. Warning — some minimal effort is required.

2. Smell a flower

That’s it. Just take a study break, walk outside and sniff one of the vibrant blossoms that adorn the multitude of flora found around Grounds. Sometimes showing off your green thumb means just having an appreciation for nature. This one probably takes the least amount of effort and automatically earns you a nature nymph badge. 

3. Plant something

Find some dirt, a handful of seeds, grab that half-empty water bottle that’s been sitting on your desk for a month and boom — you’re growing something. Planting doesn’t have to be difficult, basically any plot of land and type of seed will do. Still unsure on how to go about raising your seedlings? Observe how the pros are doing it at the U.Va. Community Garden. Once your crops are flourishing, everything in life will fall into place.

4. Walk to class

You probably already do this everyday, so good job! For those that take the bus or ride a moped, shame on you. Yes, sometimes it is unavoidable — your destination is far away or you woke up at 7:55 a.m. before your 8 a.m. class. But if you have enough time and don’t mind stretching your legs, try walking to class for the whole week. You’ll get fit and cut down on those greenhouse gas emissions — a double score.

5. Donate some clothes

As the school year winds down, it's time to start thinking about packing up your room. As you throw your clothes and possessions into suitcases and boxes, take a moment to set aside anything you don’t want to lug home with you. Maybe get rid of that extra sweater that you never really wear or that pair of shoes that you brought to school but never used. You’ll be practicing sustainability by donating your gently used garments and saving your back by having less to carry out on move-out day.

6. Eat locally

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again — Charlottesville has good food. One of the things that makes it so delicious is a lot of the restaurants and dining halls are supplied with food from local farmers. It’s fresh, it’s green and it’s yummy, so why not eat locally? Your stomach, the farmers and Mother Nature will all thank you.

7. Recycle

Another very low-effort, environmentally-conscious activity you can participate in is recycling. The blue bin is almost always right next to the trash can. Simply check the label on your wrapper or bottle, and toss it into the appropriate bin. Boom. You’re a nature warrior. 

8. Compost

Composting is a great way to thank the planet for feeding you — all you have to do is basically return the favor. Fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, natural tea bags and egg shells are all great options for things you can bury in the dirt. Fertilize the garden you planted earlier or look for green bins around Grounds to toss your leftovers in. Sometimes, the earth gets hungry too.

9. Save some water

Take a five minute shower! Turn off the sinks! Don’t leave the hose running! These words are courtesy of the mandatory puppet show on water conservation my elementary school sponsored each year. Was it fun? Sure, I enjoyed it the first time, but by the third year, I had the script memorized. In case your school wasn’t fortunate enough to see the show, see above for the basic rundown. Though repetitive, the show was effective, and shaving a few extra minutes off your shower time doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. 

10. Turn off the lights

Need an excuse to take a nap or go to bed early? Use the “I’m trying to be environmentally conscious” card. You’ll be saving electricity and adhering to the recommended amount of sleep time for your age — which I guarantee most of us do not actually follow. So flip the switch and sleep soundly, knowing that you’ve yet again single-handedly saved the planet.

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