Eight R’s for a greener earth


Earth Day [www.earthday.net], an occasion observed each spring to celebrate our planet and to protect the environment, is celebrated on April 22. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.

Since 1970, Earth Day has been an annual event for people around the world. It has become a global celebration with renewed commitment to building a safer, healthier and cleaner world. Some cities extend the Earth Day celebration to be a week- or month-long event.

All the talking and writing about going and living green during the month of April or the Earth Day celebration is good to bring our awareness to the environmental issues and inspire our appreciation for the Earth and Mother Nature. But I think April should not be the only time we think about our environment.

It’s not enough to be eco-friendly only one day/week/ month a year. We should take the Earth Day even further. Earth Day should be every day. Living green should be our way of life.

Living green means making choices in our day-to-day living and taking action to lead a healthier and more sustainable life that has a low-impact on the environment and a long-term sustainability. To save our earth and build a better future for our children, we must commit to protect our environment on a daily basis.

The following are eight R’s to help you think green, live green and make every day Earth Day:

  • Respect – We need to show respect to all of God’s creations. Respect our planet Earth and all living things within it, our fellow human beings, animals and plants. We are all dependent on each other. Without an attitude of reverence and appreciation for God’s creation and our planet Earth, no real change can be expected.
  • Responsibility – Remember that we are stewards of our planet and we should be environmentally responsible. Each of us living on this earth and using the resources has the responsibility for what we use and how we use it. Protecting our earth and environment is everyone’s responsibility. It is the responsibility of every community, every city and every country no matter where it is.
  • Rethink – We need to rethink the way we have used and done things in the past. Maybe we can change a habit to save money and resources. If you always let the water run while brushing your teeth, it’s time to think and do it differently. Turn off the tap next time. Remind yourself to do so until you establish the new habit. Can you walk, bike or car pool instead of driving your automobile solo? Can you plan in advance and do several errands in one trip instead of making multiple trips?
  • Refuse – Refuse to be a slave to the latest fashion and the consumer culture. Refuse to follow others and do what the society says you should do. Don’t let the TV ads tell you what you need to be happy. It is our human nature to want to be like others and be accepted and liked by others. We want to keep up with the Joneses. We want to be like others and to do things the way others do. Sometimes it is a good thing to be different.
  • Reduce – We should do our part to reduce the amount of waste generated. The fewer resources and products we use, the less harm we do to the environment. Don’t print all your e-mails. If you need to keep something, save it electronically. Buy in bulk to reduce packaging wastes.
  • Reuse – We should reuse existing materials as much as possible. Before we buy something new, think if there are existing materials that can be used as substitutes. If we need something, can we buy it used? If we have something we no longer need, can we give it to someone who can use it?
  • Repair – This is probably the toughest one to do in the U.S. We live in the culture and society with a throw-away and disposable mentality. If something breaks or simply doesn’t look good any more, out it goes and we have to buy a new one. A big reason is it’s often more expensive and troublesome to repair it than buy a new one. Besides, we don’t have the time, knowledge and skills to do it like our parents do. My dad is the best handyman I know. He fixed everything in our home when I grew up. He could make a lot of things himself, from furniture to keys. He fixed bicycles, shoes, pots and pants. Whatever broke, he could fix it. But people in my generation are very different now. Life has become so busy and complicated, oftentimes we only know how to buy something, which was made very easy with the invention of credit cards instead of how to make repairs.
  • Recycle – Recycling, or reclaiming usable materials, is one of the easiest things we can all do for the environment. Please regularly recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers, etc.

Let’s all do our part in making our world a greener, healthier and safer place to live, for ourselves and for the generations to come. Only when we as individuals truly embrace and apply a green philosophy, can we make a real difference in the world. Hopefully, these eight R’s will be a quick reminder to inspire you to live a greener life.

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Qin Tang
Qin Tang is a librarian and writer, interested in green, simple, frugal, mindful and soulful living. She is a Chinese native and Woodbury resident.


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