By The NFTY Environmental Justice Task Force
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many parts of our lives – our education, our relationships, and our physical and mental health. It’s been a hard experience in a lot of ways, but there is a silver lining: one of the indirect effects of Coronavirus is as people are staying home, our environment is recovering from some of the damage we’ve done to it. Because people are staying home, and thus, driving less, some of the most polluted parts of the world are naturally cleaning themselves up.
In some places where wild animals seemed to be leaving or had left altogether, those animals are beginning to return. For example, nitrogen dioxide pollution in the Northeast is down 30% and coyotes have been seen in major cities such as Chicago and San Francisco. Though Coronavirus has significantly disrupted all of our lives and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, one of the few positives is that it is giving nature a chance to recover. So, while we’re all stuck in quarantine together, let’s continue that trend by working towards sustainability with these tips throughout Earth Week:
- Try eating a vegetarian diet one day this week. Need some inspiration? Check out these recipes.
- Take shorter showers to save water.
- Have some fruit that’s started to get a little mushy? Veggies that are looking wilted? Don’t let them go to waste – use them to make a smoothie.
- Wash your clothes in cold water and hang them to dry if you can – you’ll be saving energy (and your clothes will still get clean, don’t worry!).
- Use a bar of soap instead of a pump bottle. It’s an easy way to reduce the amount of plastic you use.
- If you know how to crochet, you can make these quick and easy dish cloths to reduce paper towel use. Can’t crochet? No worries. You can still switch to a store-bought reusable towel.
- Try to buy used items like clothing, shoes, and furniture when you can. Buying used instead of new saves resources, and can help you save money, too.
- Instead of throwing out your food scraps, use them to to start composting for your garden.
- When something breaks, rips, or gets damaged, try to find a way to repair it or repurpose it instead of throwing it away.
- Make some eco-friendly self-care products to enjoy during quarantine, like these DIY face masks.
- Save plastic and upcycle your old t-shirts by making your own reusable bags.