April 22nd marks the 25th annual Earth Day in Canada. Join the other 6 million Canadians – and nearly every school-aged child who are like minded in reducing their environmental impact. This year Earth Day Canada is focusing on the theme of ‘Clean Your Commute’. There are many ways in which you and your community can support the theme of clean commuting, plus other ways in which you can reduce your environmental impact every day. Here are a few:

1. Clean Your Commute

According to Earth Day Canada, “Transportation currently accounts for a whopping 24% of our carbon emissions.” This means by changing your transportation habits you can make a big impact. As Canada slowly emerges out of the winter deep freeze, choose options such as walking or cycling to work or school. You could even organize a “Walking Wednesdays” where you encourage students and staff to walk to school. Other options include public transportation and carpooling – even one or two days a week can make a huge difference in a year.

2. Clean Your Lighting

A few years ago energy-efficient light bulbs were considered expensive and too dim in comparison to regular bulbs. As the demand for energy-efficient housing materials has improved, so has the supply. You can now find highly efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs that are not that costly up front, will last for years, and will provide more light and less money spent on your energy bill. Replacing the light bulbs in your house is a small investment that – if the entire country did it – could be equivalent to taking a million cars off the road for a year. Other solutions include the use of light dimmers and turning off the lights when not being used.

3. Clean Your Heating/Cooling Systems

We all know that old heating/cooling systems are energy guzzlers, but replacing them typically isn’t feasible for most of us until they break down. How can you reduce energy consumption right now? Replace your filters every season, clean your vents and close any unused vents, program your thermostat to go down in temperature during the day if nobody is home, reduce the temp by 2 degrees in winter and increase it by 2 degrees in summer, and by far the most impactful change – use open windows and ceiling fans instead of your air conditioner whenever bearable.

4. Clean Your Washing Habits

Your washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher can all be used in a more efficient way than the traditional use. Try to wash some dishes by hand every day, don’t pre rinse your dishes – detergents are strong enough nowadays, and only run the dishwasher when it’s completely full. When it comes to washing clothes the same goes for detergents; use cold water detergents or even regular detergents on the warm water setting, not hot. Your clothes will be clean and you could cut energy use by %50. In the warmer months use a clothes line or a clothes hanger (available at all house-ware stores) to air dry your clothes. Every little bit adds up over time and encouraging those around you to do the same will give Mother Nature strength in numbers.

What will you and your students do this Earth Day to reduce your impact on the earth? Share with us on our Facebook page or Tweet us your ideas.

For more info and to download tools and promotion materials for your Earth Day activities visit EarthDay2015.ca

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