This Earth Day, millions, even billions, of people across the world will spend the day working to preserve our planet, and in a single day, we’ll do immeasurable good. However, even though a 2014 study by the University of Maryland found “Earth Day’s growing popularity helped initiate the modern environmental movement,” the holiday is a bit like New Year’s Eve in that come the following morning, many of our well-intentioned resolutions are forgotten. This year, let’s spend part of Earth Day thinking about ways we can extend our impact. Technological advancements have helped increase the energy efficiency in many everyday products, which means that committing to “going green” is a lot easier than you might think. Here are five products to consider using to help make the Earth a healthier place and your life a little easier all year round.
Hybrid vehicles have traditionally been small coupes or sedans, more suitable for city-living than families who need to get from school to soccer to grandma’s house. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the first hybrid minivan in North America, and has a host of available tax incentives across the provinces, some as generous as $14,000! With a driving range of 911 km (53 on battery alone), an available two-hour quick-charge, and 261 hp, the Pacifica Hybrid is both good for the environment and powerful enough to have won a host of awards from J.D. Power, Green Car Reports, IIHS, and more. Green Car Reports touted “the sole seven-seat minivan with a plug-in powertrain” and when Good Housekeeping, in partnership with Car and Driver, awarded the Chrylser Pacifica Hybrid its 2018 Best New Car, they called it “a one-of-a-kind, no-compromise family vehicle.”
We all know composting is a great way to reduce waste in our landfills, but it seems so cumbersome…you have to manage a large pile of outdoor waste, carefully maintaining the right bacteria so as to ensure a healthy ecosystem. But now, the Zera Food Recycler by Whirlpool makes composting easy and convenient. Roughly the same shape and size as a trash can, Zera grinds food scraps into an odour-proof container and you simply insert a plant-based additive. After about a week, your waste will have turned into healthy fertilizer, perfect for your yard or garden.
- Philips Hue or other smart LED bulbs
Ever since Canada phased out incandescent light bulbs, the country has made strides to reduce the environmental impact of lighting the great north. But there’s still more work to be done. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, one of the popular replacements for incandescents, contain harmful materials. This Earth Day, invest in smart LED bulbs, which are energy-efficient in two ways. Not only do LEDs consume extremely low amounts of energy, but they can last 20 times longer than their CFL counterparts. And smart bulbs can be automated with a hub to reduce the amount of time lights stay on, meaning that accidentally leaving the lights on can be a thing of the past.
In recent years, solar panels have become increasingly affordable, while also being heavily subsidized by the Canadian government. Yet they’ve remained relatively bulky, necessitating large panels and batteries that many homes have difficulty accommodating. Tesla’s Solar Roof splits large panels into many small, tile-shaped components, turning roof tiles into solar-harnessing cells. They can even be styled to look textured, Tuscan, slate, or smooth. Rated to withstand hail, wind, and fire for 30 years, they’ll last longer than traditional roof tiles, and cost about the same.
Many smartphone components are made from valuable natural resources that a 2013 Yale University study called “critical” and “irreplaceable.” Fairphone, on the other hand, bills itself as an “ethical, modular smartphone.” The smartphone manufacturer aims to “source materials that are less hazardous” and “increase the use of recycled and/or renewable resources,” in an effort to curb the effect our reliance on smartphones has on the environment. As Digital Trends noted in its 2016 review, the Fairphone 2 is built to last five years—as opposed to the one or two more common to other smartphone manufacturers—helping to reduce e-waste, which the U.N. estimated over a decade ago to be around 50 million metric tonnes per year, a number that has surely only grown since then.
There’s no reason to retreat from the modern world in order to lessen your impact on the environment, so let’s make this Earth Day a time for long-term change. With hybrid vehicles, environmentally conscious cell phones, solar roofs, and other modern products you use every day, you don’t need to compromise effectiveness for efficiency.