This Earth Day (April 22), the Living Green Expo is challenging each Minnesotan to take a personal pledge to make at least one change that will positively impact the earth.
“As the world around us is turning green with spring, it’s an ideal time for Minnesotans to think about ways to live a little greener,” says Steve Morse, executive director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), a nonprofit coalition of more than 80 conservation and environmental organizations that produces the Living Green Expo.
“This year, we’re challenging each Minnesotan to make at least one small change that, taken as a whole, can positively impact the environment. These small steps are incredibly important. Together, they add up to big steps on the road to sustainability. Ultimately, these actions set the stage for larger-scale behavioral changes that have the potential to dramatically improve our community and our world.”
Here are a few simple ideas for pledges Minnesotans can make this Earth Day to live a little greener*:
• Recycle Your Cans: Just over half of aluminum cans are recycled. Americans throw away enough aluminum cans in three months to rebuild the entire US commercial air fleet.
• Think Before You Toss: Minnesotans toss more than 1 million tons of recyclable materials annually, which have a value of more than $312 million, but cost our state $200 million to dispose of these materials.
• Use Rechargeable Batteries: One rechargeable battery has a lifetime equivalent to 1,500 alkaline batteries, and can save a consumer $500 over the life of one single rechargeable battery.
• Try A Compact Fluorescent Bulb (CFL): If each household in the U.S. replaced one standard light bulb with a CFL, the environmental impact would be equivalent to removing 1 million cars from the road. Plus, CFLs last 8-10 times longer, use 75% less energy, and save an average of $25-$50 per bulb when compared to standard bulbs.
• Drive Smarter: Keeping tires properly inflated, avoiding sudden stops and starts and driving the speed limit is not only safer, it can save 25% or more on fuel costs.
• Use a Refillable Water Bottle: Americans used 50 billion plastic water bottles in 2006, or 167 per person. Only 23% of these bottles were recycled, resulting in 38 billion water bottles thrown in landfills in only one year.
• Switch To A Battery-Powered Lawn Mower: One hour of mowing with a gas-powered lawn mower emits the same amount of smog as driving a car 340 miles. Switching to a battery-powered emits fewer emissions, 1/10th the noise, and costs only $5 per year to operate, a significant savings over the average annual cost of $70 to operate a gas-powered mower.
• Try A “Smart” Power Strip: Save an average of $11.55 on your monthly electricity bill by using a power strip that automatically shuts off. This avoids “phantom” power use, which comprises approximately 10% of an average home’s power use.
About the Living Green Expo
The Living Green Expo is a two-day event filled with fun hands-on activities that help Minnesotans find ways to live a little greener. Now in its 10th year, the Living Green Expo will be May 7-8, 2011 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and will feature more than 300 exhibitors, hourly workshops, and experts. This year’s highlights include:
• A local couple’s green wedding (Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m.) one lucky couple will marry during the Living Green Expo to demonstrate how special events can be more environmentally conscious, from the invitations to the honeymoon and every step in between.
• Our Amazing Earth: An 8,000 square-foot interactive art display brings to life the four elements of the earth – water, earth, fire, wind – while inspiring preservation and conservation.
• Kids Eco Carnival: Enjoy fun activities for the entire family at the Kids Eco-Carnival, and introduce children to sustainable living by making garden hats and Mother’s Day recycled art gifts. Kids are encouraged to show off their crafts during the Green On Parade (Saturday, May 7 at 1 p.m.)
• Complete Streets in Action: Take a stroll down a street designed for all kinds of users – yes, cars, but also bikes, strollers, pedestrians, buses and wheelchairs.
• Electric Vehicle Experience: Fasten your seatbelt and hop in for a free test ride in the latest electric vehicles!
Daily entertainment will take place on an outdoor stage. Nearly everything at the Living Green Expo is recycled or reused, making it the largest zero-waste event in the state. Admission to the Expo is free (with voluntary $2 nonprofit donation.) Secure bike storage is available. Metro Transit provides shuttle services at the Living Green Expo and free transportation to and from the Expo with the Go Greener Pass.
All exhibitors at the Living Green Expo are reviewed by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP) and the Living Green Expo Stewardship Council to ensure they meet specific standards that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and the environment.
* Statistics provided by Terry Gips, President of Alliance for Sustainability (www.afors.org), an MEP member and Living Green Expo partner that offers resources and seminars on Sustainability and the Natural Step Framework.