Last Updated on April 25, 2023 by Carolyn
Earth Day Theme: Invest in Our Planet
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April is Earth Month, and Earth Day is April 22nd. The theme for the 2023 Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet”. As a sustainable FIRE blogger, I couldn’t resist writing a post about investing in our planet.
Investing in our planet can mean different things to different people, all of them good. For some, it may be converting to renewable energy, for others it may be buying organic groceries and supporting farmers who care for the earth and for others it may be investing their dollars in ESG funds and sustainable start-ups and boycotting the top pollution and carbon-emitting companies.
Let’s take a moment to explore how you can commit to investing in your planet. First I’d like to share with you Earthday.org’s inspirational anthem for Invest in Your Planet:
Invest In Renewable Energy
There are so many incentives to invest in renewable energy, a few of the major ones being:
- Minimize impact on the environment via a reduction in carbon emissions and harmful drilling
- It’s renewable so we aren’t faced with the rising costs of using non-renewable resources
- Government incentives have made implementation affordable
How Does a Lay Person Invest in Renewable Energy?
There are many renewable energy options available to us, and they have become much more affordable and available.
Many people are harnessing the energy of one of our earth’s biggest renewable energy resources, the sun. By implementing solar systems they are lowering their monthly energy costs and even contributing renewable energy to the grid.
Federal, state, and local government subsidies have made solar energy more affordable than ever. On average a home solar installation will take between 5 and 15 years to pay for itself, and then after that, you’ll be saving money every month, imagine being able to eliminate your electric bill entirely. It’s possible!
And solar is not just for your home, it can be used to power entrance gates, RV’s and outbuildings and is a great solution for where you don’t already have electricity installed. I’ve been powering my entrance gate via a solar panel since I installed over 10 years ago and have never had an issue with the solar power.
It’s no wonder electric vehicles are gaining in popularity each year. Rising fuel prices and government tax credits are giving people the perfect opportunity to switch to electric vehicles, what an incredible feeling it would be to not have to stop at the gas pump every week (and not have to worry about which station has the cheapest gas this week). And combine an electric vehicle with a solar installation and now you’re really cutting your energy costs.
Electric vehicles are not just limited to cars, there are electric bicycles and scooters that can make a very cost-effective way to make your daily commute. The prices of these modes of transportation are really reasonable.
Last year I forayed into an electric bike conversion, and I’m so happy with the results. At both my summer and winter homes, I have lots of very steep hills which are daunting for even an avid hiker like me. With this bicycle, I can easily crest the hills and it expands my riding distance tremendously.
Sourcing Food Sustainably
Did you know that our food system takes up 34% of the earth’s land and is still growing? And that agriculture and food production are just behind energy production in greenhouse gas emissions ( energy production accounts for 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions while agricultural and food production accounts for 25%).
And here’s the kicker: Approximately 40% of all food produced is wasted, ending up in landfill producing methane gases. How sad is that?
Being a Sustainable Food Consumer
As individuals, we can each do our share to minimize our food consumption impact. A few suggestions are:
Eat less meat
Did you know that a plant-based burger results in 98% fewer greenhouse emissions than a burger made from meat?
Plant-based foods also typically take less land and water to produce and result in less pollution than animal-based products.
Eat Food that is in Season
Consider the environmental impact of importing fresh fruit and vegetables from foreign countries. There are carbon emissions from transport, extra packaging that is required to protect the produce, and sadly importing food is one of the largest culprits in food waste, much of the food is spoiled before it ever reaches its destination.
It’s much better to buy locally grown produce and it also supports your local economy.
Waste Not Want Not
We’re probably all familiar with this timeless adage, but it does ring with truth. I’m sure many of us were told as children “Finish your dinner, think of the starving children in Ethiopia”. I being a smart alec kid would reply “No problem let’s box it up and send it to them!”. All joking aside, food waste is a big problem.
I can’t believe when I’m eating out in public how much food waste I witness; parents ordering far too much food for their children or buying them something else when they decide what they ordered isn’t what they want. It seems that we are a generation of adults that haven’t gone without, and we’re passing on our bad habits to our children.
And we’re not just wasting food when we eat out, we also waste a lot at home. Holidays are big culprits for food waste and so is falling victim to pretty displays at the grocery store and buying produce with all kinds of grand illusions about cooking a special meal, and then letting it rot in the produce bin. We should all have some kind of meal plan in place when shopping as well as list of what we need.
Buy Organic Produce
Organic farming methods reduce pollution, regenerate the land, and use less energy than conventional methods and the resulting products are of course not full of toxins and pesticide residue.
Some argue that organic farming isn’t sustainable to feed growing populations since production is less but this is a very short-sighted point of view. Conventional farming methods strip the soil of nutrients and turn forests into barren land. Meanwhile, organic farming rejuvenates the soil and brings life and water back to barren land.
Another way to invest in our planet is to make sustainable investments. If investors stop investing in Exxon because of its poor environmental policies, it will have to change.
And if we invest in sustainable businesses and regenerative agriculture, these businesses will have the necessary resources to develop and grow.
Sustainable Investment Options
There are many sustainable investment choices for investors and their performance has been respectable. You can choose to invest in ESG ETF’s or mutual funds in most sectors. For a more in-depth look at various sustainable investment options, read “Sustainable Investing Does It Pay?”
In a manner, shopping is an investment in the stores we shop at. We don’t reap the investment benefits but the owners do. If we stop shopping at stores known for their poor sustainability choices, they will have to change their ways or go out of business. More on shopping sustainably here: Let’s Shop and Live Green.
When I saw James Liautaud of Jimmy John’s posing with an elephant killed for pleasure, I vowed never to spend another dollar at his restaurants again.
Recently I switched my hosting plan for this blog to “Green Geeks“. Why? Because of their eco-friendly policy “…for every amperage we pull from the grid, we match 3 times that in form of renewable energy and plant one tree for every hosting account provisioned”
We can make our voices heard!
One of the biggest ways we can invest in our planet is to volunteer for organizations that are working towards making our earth more sustainable.
If you’d like to participate in earth day activities you can go to Earthday.org and find Earth Day events around the planet.
Simple Actions Anyone Can Do
Trees are one of nature’s greatest gifts, they take nasty carbon dioxide out of the air and turn it into oxygen. Why not plant a tree or two on your property? Trees don’t just clean the air, other benefits of trees are:
- They can help us to reduce cooling and heating bills by providing wind buffer and shade;
- They provide homes to birds and animals;
- They help us to conserve water by trapping rainwater and slowing its runoff.
If you don’t have outdoor space to plant, you can grow a plant indoors or join a community garden.
We’ve become a very consumerist society and we need to put an end to that. We need to stop falling victim to advertisers convincing us we need the latest, greatest. Let’s make do with what we have.
Together We Can Make a Difference
“We know that while individual actions alone may not be able to make the drastic emissions cuts required to limit climate change but they collectively make a difference and are essential in raising the importance of issues to policymakers and businesses.”Louisa Minter-Kemp, Changemaker
What actions are you going to take for your earth? How do you plan on investing in your planet