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April 22nd, 2013 | By Alicia Silverstone

Happy Earth Day, Kind Lifers! I feel like my lifestyle celebrates the Earth every day. One of the coolest things about a vegan diet is that by doing the best thing for yourself, you’re also doing the best thing for the planet by not eating animal products! The less animal products you consume, the more kind you are to the Earth. Every meal matters so even if you are flirting… great job! I always find ways to do everything in a more eco-friendly way or just enjoy nature and take off my shoes and feel the grass under my feet.
To inspire you to do a little more for our Earth, I compiled a list of several things you can do to reduce waste and help the planet.
My challenge: pick out just 1 or 2 things that you’re not already doing and challenge yourself to stick to them for the next month:
1.     Calculate your carbon footprint, then check out these ways to reduce it.
2.     Assess your home and see what you can green-ify! Replace paper towels with reusable ones, plastic water bottles with reusable ones and get reusable bags for your shopping. You can even make your toilet more eco-friendly!
3.     Save energy! If you’re not already in the habit, start unplugging your TV and other electronics when you’re done with them. In addition to my other electronics, I started unplugging my wireless router at night 6 months ago. It was way easier than I thought, it saves energy, and it’s good for your health!
4.     Save water by taking shorter showers and don’t leave the water run while you brush your teeth or shave. Check out more tips for saving water.
5.     Make less waste. Here are some ideas for reducing waste in your home and office.
6.     Walk, bike, or take public transportation more instead of driving.
7.     Help teach your kids (or other little ones) why it’s important to conserve and be kind to the Earth. These 10 tips for kids can help.
8.     Help your dog or cat live a kind life too! Try these 9 tips to help your companion animal go green.
9.     Start a garden! Not only will you help the environment by adding more oxygen into the air, but you will also know exactly what you’re eating—no yucky stuff! Here’s what I planted in my edible garden last year.
10.  Shop more sustainably! Try to shop second-hand or organize a clothing swap. For books, borrow at the library if you can. You can also find great used furniture and other stuff on Craigslist and If you need to buy new, find a company with sustainable, eco-friendly practices.
11.  Eat out less. And if you take food to go, make sure to say no to bags (bring your own), utensils, plates, napkins, and straws. More about my “just say no” campaign.
12.  Travel eco-style. If you’re planning a trip this summer, make sure to follow these tips for an eco vacation.
13.  Watch an inspiring documentary and help educate others. These are 10 really great documentaries about the Earth and the environment.
14.  Try reading a book about how you can help the planet. I really recommend Ed Begley, Jr.’s Guide to Sustainable LivingNo Impact Man by Colin Beavan, and The Food Revolution by John Robbins.
15.  Volunteer! There are so many great organizations that need help. Try committing one Saturday a month to a local farm sanctuary, animal shelter or rescue organization, or beach/park cleanup organization. Or whatever it is that you feel passionate about! Try to find an organization near you.
For more inspiration, check out this gallery of beautiful nature and animal photos.
What will you challenge yourself to do this month?
What are some other ways that we can help the planet?
Photo source: Zach DischnerNature Pictures by ForestWanderNicholas_T, VinothChandar

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