Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 48
By Tracy Schorn
ON APRIL 22, join 193 countries worldwide by
celebrating Earth Day! Don't have a date or a
greeting card? No worries. Here are a few things
you can do to make the world a little greener.
TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT. It stands
to reason, if you move more people with
fewer vehicles, you get fewer greenhouse
gas emissions. In the U.S. 29 percent of
greenhouse gas emissions come from
cars. Using public transport also means
other drivers on the road encounter less
congestion, which further helps reduce
emissions (fewer traffic jams). So take
a load off and grab the subway.
CONSIDER 'MEATLESS MONDAY.' The livestock
industry produces one-fifth of the greenhouse
gas emissions worldwide. Our cheeseburger lust
isn't so great for water quality either. In the United
States, nearly three-quarters of pollution in rivers
and streams is from agriculture, according to the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Decreasing
the demand for meat can help the planet (and
probably your waistline, too).
DITCH PLASTIC BAGS. Forty countries
have banned, partly banned, or taxed plastic
shopping bags because they poison wildlife,
make up ocean waste, and use up a lot of
resources to create. An estimated 100 million
barrels of oil are needed to make the world's
plastic bag supply each year. Worse, there's
not much bang for your buck - the typical
person uses a plastic bag for 20 minutes.
RECYCLE. Don't let those bins confuse you -
recycling keeps waste out of landfills and saves
natural resources. Even though Americans are
only around 5 percent of the world's population,
we generate more waste than any other country.
If we could up our game and recycle 75 percent
of our waste, it would be the emissions equivalent
of removing 55 million cars from the roads each year.
PLANT A TREE. As the saying goes, "The best time
to plant a tree was 20 years ago." Make up for lost
time and plant trees for the next generation. Mature
trees can absorb roughly 48 pounds of CO2 a year.
And in exchange for absorbing carbon emissions,
trees release oxygen. Win-win. What better way
to celebrate Earth Day?
Illustration by James Yang