April 22 marks the 46th anniversary of Earth Day. To celebrate, here are 10 simple things every Pennsylvanian can do to to protect the environment and your health—
-- Plant A Tree. Each tree planted not only adds beauty, but also contributes to solving the global climate-change problem by eliminating 200 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, reduces energy use for air conditioning and heating and increases property values in neighborhoods. Learn More: Penn State Extension: Backyard Trees, Windbreaks & Shade Trees; TreeVitalize PA; PA Horticultural Society Plant One Million Trees webpage.
-- Replace Your Vehicle Gas Cap. If the gas cap on your car or truck is loose, you lose 4.5 gallons of gasoline to evaporation every year. If your gas cap is more than five years old, replace it.
-- Install LED Or Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. If every household in Pennsylvania replaced one 100-watt old-style incandescent light bulb with a 27-watt compact fluorescent light bulb, we could save 800 million kilowatt hours of electricity and up to $44 million a year. This would eliminate the need for about 250 megawatts of power generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 631,750 tons of carbon dioxide. LED bulbs use even less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. Learn More: DEP’s Saving Energy webpage for more ideas or contact your local electric utility for the availability of incentives for replacing light bulbs or for other energy savings programs.
-- Do A Radon Test At Home. High levels of radon have been detected in all 67 Pennsylvania
counties. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Do-it-yourself, short-term charcoal canister tests are available at most hardware and home-improvement stores. Learn More: DEP’s Radon webpage for more information.
-- Compost. Did you know 20 percent of the yard and other waste you produce could be composted? Learn More: Penn State Extension Backyard Composting or the PA Resources Council Composting webpage.
-- Audit Energy Consumption. Do an energy-efficiency audit of your home or small business to find out how you can cut your operating and environmental costs. Learn More: the Home Energy Saver calculator, Penn State Extension’s Energy Use and Efficiency webpage, PennTAP Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency Services for businesses, PA Environmental Management Assistance Program, or contact your local electric utility for the availability of free or reduced costs audit services and energy saving incentives for residential and business users.
-- Budget Water Use. Develop a "water budget" for your home, business or community to understand how water is being used. Plans like this help assure that water supplies are available and the protection of aquatic life. Learn More: Penn State Extension: Saving Water In The Home webpage.
-- Recycle Oil. If you are a do-it-yourself oil changer, do yourself and the environment a favor: Recycle used oil. Just one quart of oil can contaminate up to 250,000 gallons of water or cause an oil slick almost 2 acres in size. Learn More About Recycling: DEP’s Waste Oil Program webpage.
-- Buy Recycled. Close the recycling loop by asking for and buying products that are made from recycled waste products.
-- Help Your Watershed. Any landowner can take steps to reduce water pollution coming from their property. And everyone can help their local watershed group restore and protect water quality in your watershed. Learn More: Penn State Extension: Reducing Water Pollution webpage and participate in the Great American Cleanup of PA. To find your local watershed group, visit the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers Watershed Group Directory or call your local county conservation district for the group nearest you.
Nonprofit Groups To Help You
Here are just a few of the environmental groups that will help you protect and restore the environment and keep you up-to-date on environmental issues affecting everyone in Pennsylvania.
Learn about environmental legislation, regulations, issues, training opportunities and local projects in Pennsylvania from the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook. Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the CBF-PA webpage. Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column). Click Here for a copy of CBF-PA’s most recent newsletter.
The PA Association of Conservation Districts is your gateway to good information on environmental issues and solutions involving farming, forestry and land development.
For more information on watershed and water quality protection, restoration and research, visit the Stroud Water Research Center website, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, include them in your Circle on Google+ and visit their YouTube Channel.
Learn more about water quality restoration in the Delaware Watershed by visiting the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University and the William Penn Foundation Delaware River Watershed Initiative webpage.
The Eastern Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the Western Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Foundation for PA Watersheds and Stream Restoration, Inc. are outstanding resources for abandoned mine reclamation issues.
For information on programs to cleanup and beautiful your community, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.
For more information on recycling, composting, anti-littering, watershed protection, energy conservation, visit the PA Resources Council website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates, follow PRC on Twitter or Like them on Facebook. Click Here for PRC’s Events Calendar.
Professional recyclers interested in certification and other professional development programs can visit the Professional Recyclers of PA website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from PROP.
Find out more about Pennsylvania’s State Parks and Forests and how you can help, visit the PA Parks & Forests Foundation website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Foundation, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.
For more information on programs, initiatives, special events, workshops and grant opportunities for local recreation programs by visiting the PA Recreation and Park Society webpage. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Society and Like on Facebook.
Learn more about conserving special areas and aquatic resources in Pennsylvania by visiting the PA Chapter of The Nature Conservancy website. Click Here to sign up for updates from TNC, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter and Join them on Instagram.
More information on land conservation, watershed protection and community gardening in Western PA, visit the Western PA Conservancy website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, add them to your Circle on Google+, join them on Instagram, visit the Conservancy’s YouTube Channel or add them to your network on Linkedin.
Find out more about land conservation and local land trusts through the PA Land Trust Association website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from PLTA.
Learn more about how you can help secure more funding for environmental programs through the PA Growing Greener Coalition website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates.For more information on programs, initiatives, workshops and other special events for environmental protection professionals, visit the PA Association of Environmental Professionals website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates on PAEP activities or Like them on Facebook.