Celebrate Earth Day Every Day
Every April the frequency for the search term “earth day” suddenly skyrockets to the moon—in comparison to the hits that the same term receives any other month of the year, that is.
Although this does make sense given that Earth Day officially occurs every April, the popular children’s book by Lisa Bullard, Earth Day Every Day, makes an important point. For the sake of our collective home (planet earth) and its fragile ecosystems, it is imperative that we ensure we are making a positive impact on a daily basis, not just on Earth Day on April 22nd.
We all know the basics by now: “reduce, reuse, recycle,” do your best to save gallons of water when you can, educate yourself about climate change, and all of the usual environmentally-friendly stuff. But this blog is about dogs; so, what can you do specifically as a pet lover to become a planet protector?
Here are some great ways that you can simultaneously be a responsible pet parent as well as a responsible earthling and celebrate earth day every day of the year.
Invest in Reusable Dog Toys
We all know that cheap plastic chew toys will only last so long with certain dogs around. If your pup is a destructive one, they can probably tear through toys at an alarming rate! Rather than perpetually replacing dog toys too often, there are a few strategies that you can employ to make your dog’s toy last longer and their environmental impact less.
First, consider chew toys that don’t lose their oomph after the first chomp. Look for tough toys that are designed to keep their squeak and hold together at the seams even as they are being ripped apart. Toys that last longer mean that you will be throwing away less garbage over the long haul.
Next, try out some toys that are designed to be pulled apart over and over again. These can be plush toys or things like hole-filled rubber balls that allow the same strips of fabric to be torn out of them over and over again, offering all the pleasure of destruction without the requirement to toss the toy at the end of the game.
Finally, engage your dog with a different kind of toy. Dog puzzles are a great way to get your destructo-dog to engage with their toys in a new way. These reusable dog toys can be refilled with treats over and over again and enjoyed by your pup long-term. Plus, they’re great for mental stimulation and keeping your pup occupied.
What to Do with Doggy Doo-doo
When it comes to potty time, a responsible dog owner cleans up after their tiny best friend. A responsible earthling does their best to do so without causing a negative impact on the earth.
When out hiking with your dog, always clean up after them. Just because they’re doing their business in nature doesn’t mean their dog poop isn’t going to cause environmental damage. It eventually gets into the water and contaminates it with harmful bacteria.
Although rolls of cheap plastic bags can be convenient and easy at times, they quickly go from the garbage to live forever in landfills. Instead, consider investing in a box of biodegradable doggy bags. These bags can be safely disposed of or even used in composting in some situations.
Alternatively, making a return to practical paper bags will never go out of style.
Make Earth Day Every Day by Teaching Your Dog the Best Dog Trick
The best dog trick I know of is one that I learned from a friend who taught his dog to pick up plastic bottles on the beach. They would go out for a walk, and his dog would find a water bottle or other scraps of plastic to make a game out of. He would run up with the bottle he found on his own, and his owner would start a game of fetch. After the game had run its course, they would recycle the toy in the appropriate bin.
This dog trick impressed me because it was astoundingly practical. Everywhere they went, the dog was happy to help with cleaning up garbage because they had made a game out of it.
Ever since then, this is always my #1 recommended trick for owners to teach their pets!
Meatless Mondays are for Humans
For a variety of reasons, one of the major contributors to pollution and climate change worldwide is the factory farming industry. By choosing to reduce the amount of meat and animal byproducts that you consume or finding sustainable sources to acquire them from, you can make a personal impact on climate change.
If you are considering participating in something such as a “Meatless Monday” or even cutting meat out of your diet entirely, please keep in mind that those choices are for you to make for yourself, but your pets cannot make them with you. Cats and dogs are biologically very different from humans, although you may feel happy and healthy without meat in your diet, it can be essential for the well-being of your pet.
Related article: Can Dogs Be Vegan?
Stay Informed and Practice Sustainability Throughout the Year
The key to a healthier, happier planet is to treat every day like earth day. Consider getting periodic information from the Environmental Protection Agency, Greenpeace, or other reputable sources to make sure that you are continually reminded of all the ways that you can help to make the world a better place.
How do you practice sustainability in everyday life? Share with us in the comments!