For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we have put together a 5-part blog series, releasing a new post each day of Earth Week. DNDA has also launched a new video series about environmentally friendly cooking on our YouTube channel, and we will be drawing a winner from our Earth Day giveaway on Friday, April 24. Stay safe, stay healthy, and join us in celebrating Earth Week from home!
You’ve heard of Earth Day. But have you heard of Earth Hour?
Self-quarantine has brought about many changes to our daily lives: people have transitioned to conducting their work, social lives and free time almost entirely online. Many iPhone users are reporting increases on their weekly Screen Time reports as a result of the extra free time imposed by stay-at-home orders and physical distancing requirements. While we encourage taking advantage of social media to connect with your loved ones and your community, for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we invite you to think about the impact this has on the environment. Powering down your devices for just one hour has benefits for your carbon footprint and your physical and mental health.
Consuming electricity through devices such as phones, televisions and tablets causes increased use of fossil fuels used to power electricity. In Washington, hydropower fuels most of our state’s electricity consumption, but coal and natural gas play significant roles in powering our electronics as well. Most of America is witnessing decreased energy used for travel, commercial and industrial purposes, but it’s likely that residential energy uses have increased as more people engage in working from home, online schooling, and streaming TV and movies. One study predicted that the COVID-19 shutdown would lead to an increase in residential energy consumption. It’s estimated that 30 minutes of streaming emits 0.2 kilograms of carbon dioxide, while driving a car that gets 25 MPG for 30 minutes emits 1.8 kilograms of carbon. This means that carbon dioxide emissions from 30 minutes of streaming can be the equivalent of a drive to the store.
While some companies such as Puget Sound Energy offer options to power your electricity entirely with renewable sources, there remains an elegant solution to reducing your electric carbon footprint: simply turning your devices off. We challenge you to power down all your electronic devices for one hour on Earth Day in a collective act to reduce pollution. While the impacts of going screen-free for just one hour a year may seem minimal, you can build this practice into your daily life. Start with doing it once a month, once a week, and eventually, once a day. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, unplugging for an hour every day has numerous health benefits such as improved quality of sleep, lower risk of mental health issues and enhanced concentration and ability to perform mental tasks. Unplugging may prove to be challenging during a nationwide quarantine, so consult the following list for ideas on how to use your screen-free hour!
1) Read a book.
2) Knit, sew or crochet.
3) Go for a walk. Leave your devices at home and take time to relax and surround your senses entirely in nature.
4) Clean out the cluttered areas in your house.
5) Make no-bake snacks. The oven, stovetop and microwave all use energy, so check out these recipe ideas for easy, delicious, power-free snacks!
6) Draw, paint, or make art. Check out DNDA’s Heartspace for their daily art prompt (and then turn off your screen and spend some quality time behind your easel).
7) Spend time in your garden.
8) Make music. Sing, or play an instrument if you know how.
9) Go for a run or try a quick workout. Crunches, push-ups, burpees, and squats are all easy to do without YouTube or an Instagram video. Check out this guide for at-home workouts for ideas!
10) Do yoga, stretch and meditate. Take time to be mindful of your place on this planet.
Stay tuned for the rest of this week’s Virtual Earth Day blog post series! We’ll be posting a mini blog post each day during Earth Week to inspire you to take virtual action for your planet. We’re also hosting an Earth Day Giveaway for a chance to win an Earth Day gift box with reusable kitchen and home products. To enter, make an environmental pledge by tomorrow, April 24 at 5:00 PM PST: the winner will be announced the next day!