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Start a new habit this Earth Day

Cassie PenceVail, CO, Colorado

It’s Earth Day on Sunday, and most of us will celebrate the planet in a familiar fashion: on mountain for Vail’s final ski day. Dressed in silly outfits, we’ll savor the last bit of winter’s white gift. Afterward, we’ll pack away our boots and skis, drag out our bikes and kayaks and prepare for spring and summer offerings.Earth Day, although gaining momentum, is one of those non-holidays that makes you wonder why it was even created. Shouldn’t we celebrate, protect and serve our planet everyday? After all, the planet’s health is essential to ours.It’s like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Do we really need to set aside a special square on the calendar to remind us how important love is, or our mothers?I guess we do.Tree-huggers across the nation have come up with creative ways to spend Earth Day. Plant a tree. Host an Earth Day Dinner, using food that only traveled 100 miles to reach you. Leave your car in the driveway. And for many of us mountain folk, just getting out in the thick of wilderness, smelling the roses, so to speak, is our way to cherish the planet.But what I think you should do for Earth Day is start a new habit. A good habit. It’s a lot easier than breaking a bad one. Here are five easy everyday habits one can adopt to help the planet.1. Bring a canvas bag to the grocery. Aren’t you tired of those stinky plastic bags cluttering your closets and pantries? Well, guess what? The oceans and marine life are tire of ’em too. Skip the dilemma of paper or plastic (there is no right answer, by the way) and bring your own reusable bag to the supermarket. City Market gives you 5 cents off for every reusable bag you fill. Add that up for a whole year’s worth of groceries, and you just saved a pretty, sustainable penny.2. Hang your clothes out to dry. According to treehugger.com, 75 percent of the energy consumed in apparel is not during manufacturing or distribution, but during the laundering. Skip the dry cycle, and hang them on a line outside. Your clothes will smell better and last longer. If your town has an ordinance against undies flapping in the wind, I say fight the power. Or better yet, buy a drying rack. Our climate is ideal for it. Plus, hanging wet clothes inside will add much needed moisture to your home – an instant, cheap humidifier.3. Change a light bulb. Now this is easy. As your replacing bulbs in your home, change from standard incandescent to compact fluorescent bulbs. According to 18seconds.org – a web site promoting a new US environmental campaign “Change a bulb. Change everything” – an energy star qualified CFL saves 450 pounds of CO2 in its lifetime, and that will save a homeowner up to $60 in energy bills. How many lightbulbs does it take to help reduce global warming? Just one. Do it.4. Work in your pajamas. At home that is. Listen up, suits: Allowing your employees to telecommute when possible saves on drive-time pollution and reduces the dependency of oil. Or let your employees work four ten-hour shifts. It will cut the energy and time spent on commuting by 20 percent, according to treehugger.com. And think about all that trash you could pick up during that three-day weekend. 5. Sex. Now this does sound like a healthy, everyday habit. Lower the thermostat, by heating up the bedroom naturally with some good old fashion friction. Showering with a friend can save water,too, but if things begin to get serious, don’t leave the water running. Turn off the lights, and fire up some candles. It’s foreplay with a conscious.


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