In observation of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is encouraging Tennesseans to engage in independent, family-friendly activities that help protect and restore the state and the planet.
“The health of our citizens is top priority right now, but there are little things we can all do to help continue to protect our environment,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “Earth Day is a special time, and this is an opportunity to think of it in terms of the home. There are several constructive ways to be engaged, and we encourage families to enjoy these activities.”
The department has identified three action items that citizens are encouraged to participate in throughout the week, and every day, in honor of Earth Day, while remaining protective of public health.
Reduce Your Foodprint
Food waste is an environmental, economic, and social issue. In the United States, approximately 40 percent of the food produced goes uneaten, with 90 percent of that being disposed of in landfills. Approximately $218 billion is spent annually on growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten. Most of this food waste is still safe for consumption and could be recovered for those who are food insecure. Get Food Smart TN is the state of Tennessee’s food waste awareness, technical assistance, and recognition program that encourages Tennesseans to be aware of their foodprint – or the environmental footprint of our food – and to use food wisely.
Food waste reduction and storage tips:
- Plan your meals before grocery shopping
- Keep a running list of foods that are frequently enjoyed in your house
- Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables
- Store fruits and vegetables at the right temperature to ensure freshness
- When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge, freezer, or pantry, and put new products in the back
Visit GetFoodSmartTN.com and take the pledge to reduce food waste.
Be Green at Home
With so many of us currently spending more time in our homes, individual actions and daily choices make a significant impact.
Sustainability at Home Tips:
- When ordering take-out, opt out of disposable utensils and straws
- Conserve energy by turning off lights when not in use and using natural light during the day
- Conserve water by washing full loads of laundry and dishes and taking shorter showers
- Conduct an individual street clean-up while taking your wellness walk through your neighborhood.
For more great tips, visit TDEC’s Quick Guide to Sustainability at Home.
Learn About the Environment
For families with children at home, or even those who just enjoy the occasional craft, TDEC has developed an Environmental Activity Packet filled with fun, educational, and engaging activities that everyone can do at home with items already on hand. To access the packet, visit TDEC’s Environmental Education page.