Earth Day Or Not, Here Are 4 Easy Ways To Be Green

Earth Day Or Not, Here Are 4 Easy Ways To Be Green

Trust me, it's easy.

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Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22nd, and it's meant to demonstrate support for environmental protection and conservation. Some organizations put on events and some people march, and on a smaller level some individuals or groups will volunteer or plant trees, The point of the day isn't to do something aggressive in the name of the environment; Rather, it's to bring awareness to the unceasing need to treat the Earth well (for our own good).

This holiday is also just one day. That doesn't mean, though, that one should care on just 1 of every 365 days. After all, it's in no one's best interest for the environment to deteriorate and for the places we hold dear — like our National Parks — to be less than they once were. Places like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Zion National Forest are all amazing sights to see around our area, and it would be absolutely devastating if any were to be significantly degraded by the effects of climate change. Not to mention all of the animals that live there.

Luckily, there are ways that anyone can do better when it comes to being green. Here are 4 easy ways to be a better inhabitant of the Earth.

1. Recycle your takeout food containers.

If it's plastic, chances are that you can recycle it! Just rinse the dang thing off and throw it in your blue recycling bin. There's no reason to throw a plastic container into the trash bin. EVERY piece of plastic that is recyclable will have the recycling triangle symbol on it. If you aren't sure what you can recycle, check the LA County site or search on the packaging for an indication.

2. Turn off your lights and unplug charger cords when not in use.

This isn't just green, but it's a money-saver if you pay for electricity. The average monthly electrical bill in California is over $101, which is not something you want to be paying (this is one of the few times when you want to be 'below average'). Plus, it's better for the Earth if you use less, because then this power doesn't need to be generated from a plant or otherwise.

3. Carry a reusable water bottle.

This has a few benefits. 1) You'll be reminded to stay hydrated throughout the day. 2) You won't need to buy drinks on campus and waste money. 3) You won't use plastic bottles (if you do, please recycle them). What's not to love? Added bonus: You can get a water bottle for something you love, like a band or a city, which is an easy conversation starter with other people.

4. Cook your own meals.

Buying takeout is convenient, but it also creates a lot of unnecessary waste. Hopefully you can recycle your containers and usually you'll also get plastic silverware and a plastic bag (recycle this bad boy at the grocery store if you get one). Cooking your own meals cuts all of this out, plus it's way healthier and cheaper.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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