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  • PDEQ Provides Tips for an Earth Day Like No Other

    Apr 21, 2020 | Read More News
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    Normally, during this time of year, staff at Pima County Department of Environmental Quality is preparing for Earth Day celebrations. It is usually our busiest and most rewarding time of the year. But this year is very different. 

    This is a big year for the annual April 22nd Earth Day celebrations around the world. It was 50 years ago that the official Earth Day was born to focus much-needed attention on our planet. Although Earth Day celebratory gatherings have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still make a difference and reduce your impact on the planet’s limited resources. PDEQ Environmental Outreach  Booth

    Below are a few suggestions. Discover even more at the virtual EarthDay.org. For information to celebrate Earth Day locally visit TucsonEarthDay. Check out the environmentally-related kids’ page on PDEQ’s website such as the Eco Kids links to fun and thought-provoking activities including creating poetry, little-known factoids, jokes and guessing games about air, water, climate, soil, and waste reduction. 

    There have been many positive environmental accomplishments over the last 50 years and more to come when we work together as a global community. Consider incorporating some of the following actions in your life as we begin the next 50 years in celebrating this amazing planet.

    To save more water in our thirsty desert:
    • Now that we are scrubbing our hands longer, turn off the tap while singing Happy Birthday, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Bear Down Arizona, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Toxic, Livin’ On a Prayer, Truth Hurts, Jolene, Stayin’ Alive or the song of your choice. Turning off the water for this one action will save hundreds of gallons of water a month.
    • Eventually, the rains will come this summer to soothe the parched earth. Get ready for the monsoon by setting up a way to collect rain water at your home or office. It doesn’t have to be a fancy collection system, just as long as the water collection/storage container is covered so mosquitoes cannot breed in it.
    • Plant a garden with native and food-bearing plants to make use of that rain water and provide exercise, personal enjoyment from playing in the dirt, and nutritional sustenance. Visit Native Seeds Search and/or Tucson Organic Gardeners for info on gardening with plants that will thrive in our region.
    To reduce waste:
    • During this time of shortages, use cloth towels instead of paper ones for clean ups. You may find that they are just as handy for many jobs and cheaper in the long run than buying rolls of new paper towels (when they become more available). 
    • Cook more – eating at home reduces the waste associated with take-out containers, will save you money, and can be healthier for you. Make life easier by cooking extra portions to reheat for future meals. Supporting local restaurants is important to our economy so be sure to schedule at least one day a week for take-out at your favorite spot. And remember to avoid engine idling when picking up your take out! 
    • While you are cooking more, check cookware for damage because the warped bottom of a pan can waste around 50% of the heat used on a stove top compared to a flat pan. 
    • And while still on the topic of cooking, embrace more plants in your diet. By increasing the number of meatless meals you consume, you can save water and greenhouse gas emissions and improve your health.
    To save energy and reduce associated air pollution:
    • Avoid elevators, if there are multiple stories in your life. Try the stairs instead. It is easier for social distancing, helps build muscle strength and saves electricity.
    • Bring more green (literally and financially) and shade into your life - plant a tree. Positioned properly, trees can reduce cooling needs significantly at home or work. And the color green has been found to be soothing to the human psyche. Billions of trees are cut down every year to create the things we use. Give back to the Earth by planting more trees at your house, in your neighborhood or at local schools and parks. Contact Tucson Clean & Beautiful to purchase and/or donate trees. 
    • Once those plants reach the end of their life or need to be removed, remember that an open burning permit is needed to burn trees, brush, leaves, grass and other debris. Air pollution from open burning can cause serious health problems, obscure visibility, or damage the environment. PDEQ regulates open burning to improve air quality and address these concerns.
    • Avoid vehicle idling. If you are going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds (except at a traffic light), it is cheaper and puts less wear and tear on your car to turn the engine off and restart when needed.
    • Go for a walk or bike ride instead of a drive. Celebrate the Earth and the amazing Sonoran Desert by visiting special places and enjoying the beauty around us. The Chuck Huckelberry Loop has more than 120 miles of car-free art, history, exercise and adventure available around metropolitan Tucson, Marana, South Tucson and Oro Valley. 
    One person can make a difference in the health of our planet, especially when joined by millions around the world.