CLEVELAND — We mark Earth Day on Friday -- and there are many ways to do your part to protect our environment. If Ohio were its own country, we would be the 26th largest greenhouse gas emitter on Earth. The world needs to see a 40% or greater reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to avoid triggering catastrophic climate change.
How can you contribute to the efforts to make our area safe for now and the future? Here are just a few suggestions:
Recycle right: Recycling household plastic, glass and paper vastly reduces the amount of trash going into landfills where it does not decompose. But lots of people put unrecyclable items in their recycle bins such as plastic bags, general trash, or plastic contaminated with food waste – and it has to all be sorted out (which takes manpower) or else discarded.
Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District offers tips for recycling correctly here.
Plant a tree: The Western Reserve Land Conservancy says that in many communities of Northeast Ohio, tree canopies are dwindling. Some trees are lost to development, others are never planted or replaced due to municipal budget constraints. WRLC's Reforest Our City program seeks to reverse the trend. Starting in the city of Cleveland, the organization is working with its partners — including residents — to plant and maintain thousands of trees along streets, in parks, on vacant lots, and more. Click here for WRLC's upcoming events in April, including on Earth Day.
Let’s clean this place up! Several organizations have clean-up events on the calendar coming up. Drink Local Drink Tap’s Edgewater Beach Clean-ups will be happening from April thru September. Also, Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Garden of 11 Angels Spruce-Up is set for May 7.
Speaking of Lake Erie: Here's something else to consider as you think about taking part in a clean-up event on our lakeshore: The great lakes are the world's largest freshwater resource. 40 million people rely on the great lakes for their drinking water. Lake Erie is in Cleveland's backyard and yes, our drinking water comes from it.
Looking back, in May of 2019, WKYC Studios employees took the opportunity to help clean up Edgewater Beach.
According to The Alliance for the Great Lakes, in 2018, more than 14,000 Adopt-a-Beach volunteers collected over 35,000 pounds of litter from beaches along the great lakes. Much of it was plastic. Items like water bottles, plastic bags and food containers are harmful to the lake as well as to birds, fish and other wildlife. Over time, the plastic breaks down and even gets back into our water systems.
Celebrate Earth Day by taking part in an event in Northeast Ohio: We have put together a list of Earth Day events taking place throughout Greater Cleveland. Check it out HERE
Also, Cleveland Metroparks shows us “50 Ways You Can Celebrate Earth Day at Home.” Here are just some of tips they provide:
- Invest in reusable bottles and cups. Stop buying single use plastic bottles for home.
- Do less laundry – cut down on the frequency you wash clothing. Many items can be worn multiple times before a wash, reducing the micro plastics (from synthetic textiles) that enter our waterways.
- Power down and unplug infrequently used electronics. Reduce your screen time and energy consumption.
- Conduct your own home energy audit.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Switch to electronic bill notifications and payments instead of paper.
Educate yourself from the experts: There are numerous organizations throughout Northeast Ohio doing great work advocating for environmental issues. Here are a few notables:
More Planet CLE coverage: