Today is Earth Day ~ Inspire Awareness

I grew up in a small town and lived down a long country road winding through pastures and hayfields. My parents' house stands at the top of a hill at the end of a tree-lined drive amidst acres of forest. My dad and my grandpa, both avid outdoorsmen, began teaching us (I have two sisters) about wildlife and the outdoors from an early age. Not only did we know every tree and every creek in our own neck of the woods, but my parents also taught us a bit about the beauty found in other areas of the United States. One of the most amazing childhood experiences I can recall was a month-long family trek across the country to visit some of the world's most beautiful natural landscapes, including the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, the Badlands and Yellowstone. Needless to say, I have always had a strong affinity for conservation and I'm grateful for the appreciation that my parents helped to instill in us.

The 2010 World's Earth Day is being celebrated across the globe today. Founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day inspires awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. Please do your part to conserve, protect and appreciate our beautiful planet. If you don't already recycle, then today is the day to start. It's easy, incredibly effective and essentially a no-brainer. Find a recycling center near you and get on board!

You can recycle glass, aluminum and steel cans, plastic, cardboard and paper. When my family began to recycle, we immediately noticed that our actual garbage was reduced by what seemed to be at least 75 percent. Before we recycled, our trash can was full to overflowing by the time the weekly pickup rolled around. Now, we only have a small bag or two each week among three people. We keep bins for each category of recycling and take them to the recycling center once every couple of weeks on our way into town. It couldn't be easier and when we see what we're saving from the landfill with just our little three-person family, it's incredible. Imagine if everyone recycled all that they could!

When you're away from home, look for recycling containers - they're everywhere! Never buy styrofoam and avoid its use. Carry your own, re-usable shopping bags to the market or grocery store. Admittedly, I'm not as great about that as I should be, but I'm trying to do better and we do recycle both the paper and plastic bags we get from the grocery store. If you buy plastic, then make sure to recycle it - especially all those water, soda and beverage bottles. There are so many ways to make small changes and those small changes can make a big difference in your household, your city, your state, our country and the world!

Here are a few remarkable facts:

•By recycling one ton (2,000 lbs.) of paper, we save: 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 2 barrels of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,000 Kilowatt hours of energy -- which is enough energy to power the average American home for five months.

•Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for two hours, a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, or a computer for three hours.

•Energy saved from recycling one ton of aluminum is equal to the amount of electricity the average home uses over 10 years.

•Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch. That means you can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make one can out of new material.

•Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.

•Americans throw out enough iron and steel to supply all the nation’s automakers on a continuous basis.

•When you toss out one aluminum can you waste as much energy as if you’d filled the same can half-full of gasoline and poured it into the ground.

•Most plastic is made from nonrenewable resources. Plastics are typically made from fossil fuels, including natural gas and oil.

•Every 1 ton of recycled plastic saves the equivalent of 2 people’s energy use for 1 year, the amount of water used by 1 person in 2 month’s time and almost 2000 pounds of oil.

•It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year’s supply of bottled water. That’s enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars.

•Eight out of 10 plastic water bottles become landfill waste.

•Plastic bottles can take up to 1000 years before they begin to decompose once buried.

•A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.

•Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year.

•Recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs, $236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payrolls.

With a quick Google search, you can find so much more information regarding the benefits of recycling. I hope you find this post more inspiring than any wedding tips, trends, fashions or real weddings I could share with you. If you have a moment, share a comment with us to let us know how you're doing your part to conserve our natural resources. Go outside for a little while to enjoy this beautiful spring day and remember to make every single day Earth Day.

Best wishes always,
~Brooke Thomas
Creative Director, Weddings Unveiled

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