As the days grow longer and the weather warms, American's in every corner of the country are beginning to plan their summers. On the top of this list is July 4th, a day that nearly 85% of all American's are expected to celebrate in some fashion. Of course there will be the traditional BBQ picnic's, people dressed in their most patriotic attire, and the most obvious of all, fireworks! But with so many celebrations happening at the same time, it is important to reflect on the impact this holiday can have on your local environment. The intent of this blog is to highlight some key areas to focus on when considering the effect of your personal celebration and aims to inspire you to implement some key measures of sustainability so American's can continue to celebrate this day for many future generations.
With the abundance of festivities taking place on July 4th, many American's take to the road and travel to and from their celebration. In fact, over 50 million American's are expected to travel over 50 miles to attend this years 4th of July. Yikes, that's a lot of traffic and a lot of pollution! This year, I encourage everyone that must travel by car to rideshare, carpool, or use public transportation where available. For those in metro areas, ride a bike, scooter, or any alternative means of transportation. By limiting the amount of environmental impact of our travel, we can get a head start to making this an environmentally friendly 4th before it even begins!
OK, so now that we've carpooled to our location, what are some important steps we can take to ensure we minimize our impact throughout the day/night. First and most obvious, don't use single use plastics! Cutlery, cups, and everything else than utilizes plastic can also be done without it. Bring re-usable cutlery or biodegradable options, utilize 5 gallon water jugs to share with everyone instead of buying cases of individual bottles, and so on. Decorations can all be homemade, which happens to be a really fun project aside from being better for the environment. Additionally, planning for others is always smart as well. Providing a clearly marked recycling bin is always a great idea regardless of how confident you are in your fellow attendees. This list could go on forever, but I think you get the point and I urge to you to think about this blog when you are planning, prepping, and buying things for this years 4th of July celebration.