Partners of the Americas Washington, D.C. staff celebrated Earth Day on April 22 by discussing and learning how to incorporate eco-friendly habits into our everyday lives. Senior Program Officer Summar Lyons presented ideas of how staff can reduce our carbon footprint at home, in the office, and in our communities.
Partners staff brought waste-free or plastic-free lunches and wore green in support of the day. In her presentation, Lyons explained that climate change is a global reality. Top environmental concerns include soil and land pollution, littering and landfills, and water pollution. So how can we help? “Though it’s very cliche, a change starts with us,” Lyons said.
At work, Lyons suggested reducing the use of single-use plastic items such as plastic utensils and cups; eating food wrapped in paper, paper products, or foil; and turning computer monitors off when leaving the office for the day. Printing less paper and using recyclable cups and straws when going out to eat lunch are also good habits to practice. These actions can make a significant impact because about 16 billion disposable coffee cups are used each year and over 500 billion plastic straws are used every day around the world.
At home, Lyons recommended using the 4 R’s — reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose — as a guide for making eco-friendly decisions. Purchasing reusable and biodegradable bags as an alternative and using economically sustainable personal hygiene products such as bamboo toothbrushes, silk floss, and organic feminine hygiene products greatly reduce the amount of waste we produce. During the presentation, the staff answered quiz questions about Earth Day to learn which materials are recyclable and, if answered correctly, win some of these sustainable products.
Lyons also shared innovative ways to reuse and repurpose materials, including making unique crafts and decorations for your home. Other simple eco-friendly changes are composting, becoming vegetarian or vegan, conserving water, and contacting your congress member to support more environmentally-conscious legislation.
Historically, Partners has strived to solve climate challenges by teaming up technical experts in climate and energy with local stakeholders throughout Latin America to encourage shared decision making and greater access to resources and information. With our Farmer-to-Farmer Program, we focus on sustainable environmental development while providing hands-on training for small-holder farmers to better the Earth.
This Earth Day, Partners staff learned how to improve the environment not only through our programs, but also with simple changes by our staff. By staying informed, participating in volunteer opportunities with organizations like Partners, and actively using the 4 R’s, we can help save the Earth.
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