So, do you have time to save the Earth?
Did you know that if every person in the U.S. took 5 minutes…yep just 5 minutes to help clean up, protect and save the Earth that this would equate to approximately 1.66 billion minutes of aid?
And if everyone in the world did it, we would have roughly 38,500,000,000 (or 38.5 billion) minutes of time dedicated to saving the Earth (and all of us).
That’s just from a one-time donation of minutes! Imagine what that could look like in a week, month or year!
Now, to be clear, this is not about choosing political sides or trying to convince you whether or not global warming is real. Mostly because the effects of global warming, including dying species, the destruction of land and increases in disease don’t seem to take political sides - they effect all of us. So, in short, global warming and environmental destruction through pollution and human waste is real. Accept it, move on and do something to help save the planet.
Okay, so now, you are probably wondering why I am talking about saving the Earth in a place where I usually talk about personal growth, insight building and professional development? Great question! And the answer is because it’s too important not to. We all know that we could get a black belt in evading and avoiding things that make us scared and uncomfortable - climate change is no different. And we don’t have the luxury of pretending anymore.
So what is my call to action?
Well, you know the first part. It is an ask for you to donate 5 minutes of your time. I am not even asking for 5 minutes a day (but hey, aim high and do that if you can)!
By doing what?
Anything that makes an impact on our waste production, pollution and our community at large. Here are some ideas that all take 5 minutes or less:
Educate yourself. Yep, that is right. Take 5 minutes to read an article or news coverage or any environmental impact reports and learn more about climate change, the effects plastics have on animal death, or more ideas of ways to save the planet.
Stop smoking. Yes, I know is is going to take you more than 5 minutes to quit smoking. But it won’t take you more than 5 minutes to read this article about the effects of cigarette buds on the environment. Or, to call the smoking cessation hotline to get support and resources to make quitting easier.
Use beeswax instead of plastic wrap. No, seriously. Use these wraps instead of putting plastic wrap or aluminum foil around bowls, plates or veggies. They are amazing, reusable and completely biodegradable.
Plant a bee-friendly garden. Tons of agencies throughout the world are fighting to save the bees - and rightfully so because bees matter and we NEED them. How can you help? Check out this article with tons of small ways you can begin to take stake in the survival of the bees
Buy reusable sandwich bags. I like these BPA free silicone bags and completely switched over about 6 months ago. Now, you could also use the beeswax wraps here, too - whatever your preference is :)
Change your light bulbs. Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs use 66% less energy and appx 400 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions from just changing 1 bulb.
Unplug. No, I don’t just mean to use social media less and focus on mindfulness, but now that you mention it, that really connects to the point. Commit to 5 minutes less of TV watching or 5 minutes less of using using your phone (even though it may not be plugged in when you are using it, it uses energy to recharge). The less you use these devices, the more power they are generating. AND, bonus, take 5 minutes at the end of every night and unplug electronics that are not in use.
Switch to vinegar. Ditch the toxic chemicals. You don’t need them. Vinegar is an all-natural cleaning agent that, when mixed with a little soap and water or baking soda, can be used as a cleaning agent throughout the entirety of your home.
Move your fridge. Yep, that’s right. Making sure that your fridge has both adequate airflow and that it is not in the direct sunlight (makes it hotter and forces the fridge to work harder) can help reduce significant energy use.
Wash your clothes in cold water. 85-90% of the energy used in a load of laundry goes to heating the water. And hot water is not always the best for your clothes. So, why do we do it? Like many things, we don’t really know. So, let’s just stop. Plus, the more you change up your energy use, the lower your bills. Win-win.
Compost. Stop throwing away waste that should be going to a compost bin. Whether you compost on your property or not does not matter. Find out about community gardens you can bring it to or city compost bins you can get. It takes a little time getting used to it but when you see how much longer it takes to fill your garbage, you start to realize just how much non-waste we put into our waste receptacles.
Turn off your water. Whether that is while you are washing your face, brushing your teeth, washing dishes, shaving in the shower…any time you don’t need it, it should be off. And no, you don’t need that extra 5 minutes of warm water when you feel tired in the morning. It’s cold no matter what when you leave the shower, so just turn it off.
Choose sustainable meat & seafood. I love using FishWatch.gov to help me make informed decisions about the fish and seafood I purchase. And in terms of meat & poultry, I only buy from local farms that are using sustainable farming methods.
Call your energy company to see what programs they have that you may be able to enroll in. At PG&E, I am enrolled in both their Green Source program (where all of our household energy comes from renewable sources) and Peak Time Eventswhere I will get a text message alert when it is unusually hot or cold and gas and electric use is higher. If we can reduce our use by 1 kilowatt hour or more, we get money back!
And that is just a very short list of suggestions. There are hundreds more. And, bonus points if you can be creative with your planet saving efforts.
One way that I blend my passion to save the Earth with my art is to collect plastic from the beaches and use it to make art where 50-100% of the proceeds go back to organizations and relief efforts to save the planet. Check out my latest accumulation of “art supplies” below:
5 minutes difference
Now, it’s your turn. Get out there and take 5 minutes to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (oh, Gandhi, you are beyond wise). Let’s start a movement for something that is meaningful. To help spread the word and motivate others, take photos of the changes you are making and share them on social media using the hastag #Timefor5. Then, invite your friends, families and community members by tagging them and asking them to take 5 minutes to make a change and pass it on. After all, it is OUR planet, so it is time to make sure we all step up and act like it.
Interested in learning more 5 minute changes? Here are some resources I really like that break things down very easy for me:
Our Planet; docu-series on Netflix
Oh, and for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend watching the music video, “Earth” by Lil’ Dicky (simply click on the link in the video above of him hugging the Earth). It tells a story about the connection we all have to each other and the Earth through some sarcasm and slightly inappropriate humor but hey, that’s what makes things catchy, right?