Today is Earth Day, and I don’t know about you, but this day is beginning to carry more weight every year.

In the last two years or so, I’ve tried to educate myself on climate change as much as possible amidst the harrowing reports on the status of our planet. I’ve read countless articles on the status of where we are right now, watched several documentaries including Before the Flood from Leonardo DiCaprio, and began to make personal life changes in order to leave a smaller carbon footprint and do my part.

Perhaps you’re earlier on in your journey of improving your personal footprint. Here are a few changes I’ve made that can easily be replicated if you’re looking for somewhere to start.

1Learn how to recycle

4 lifestyle changes to start on Earth Day

Tossing your recycling in your blue bin is not enough. It was reported that in Canada, in many instances one in every three pounds recycled is waste, which is simply a shocking figure. I’d implore you to read this report from CBC explaining our collective failure at recycling, and then educate yourself on how to actually recycle if you’re looking to develop some simple and effective habits.

2Focus on living with less waste

4 lifestyle changes to start on Earth Day

Each person on Earth produces more than 2 pounds of waste every day, a number that is expected to go up in the next 15 years. Recently my wife and I began using re-usable produce bags, a change that is very easy to make and saves a considerable amount of waste given the 5-6 plastic bags that normally end up in your shopping cart.

There are many simple changes that can help you reduce your waste – I’d suggest reading this article to help form more sustainable habits.

3Prioritize fuel efficiency in your next vehicle

Fuel efficiency

You don’t need a Tesla to drive a more environmentally friendly vehicle. There are many models and makes that offer hybrids at an equal or slightly higher price point, but more than make up for it in their fuel efficiency. If not a hybrid model, focus on vehicles that get the most mileage and don’t consume a lot of gas. Your pocket book will thank you, as will our planet.

4Make changes to your diet.

Making change to your diet

While many in the meat production industry have gone to great lengths to make producing meat more environmentally friendly, it’s still a primary source of greenhouse gases around the world.

Making changes to your diet is harder in theory than it is in practice. If you’re a big meat eater like I am, the key is gradual change. I’m not talking ‘cold turkey’ done with meat (if you can, all the power to you), but starting by reducing your meat intake by 1-2 meals per week is an achievable goal. Like I have, I’m sure you’ll find many delicious veggie recipes that any meat eater would enjoy.

It’s never too late to make changes to your lifestyle and do your part to ensure the health of our planet. Once upon a time I too was skeptical that personal change would amount to anything, but I decided to abandon that defeatist attitude. Because if each of us start focusing on gradual change, that could mean a hell of a lot for our planet.

Happy Earth Day!

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