This coming Monday marks the 32nd annual observation of Earth Day. Most Americans will pass the day just as they would any other Monday, rising a little early to get a head start on the week, wishing the weekend hadn’t gone by so quickly.

If I could create the perfect day to celebrate the glory of this beautiful floating orb we live on, it might be one of planting trees, wild flowers and other plants that would cover her scars and give back some of the natural beauty she has lost. We as Americans just as other industrialized countries of the world should be leading the way where it’s estimated that 20 percent of the world’s population is consuming 80 percent of her resources, an alarming statistic.

Learning to live and tread more lightly upon the earth is the goal of everyone concerned with the environment. Unfortunately our big oil government does not seem to be leading the way, but don’t dishearten. Each family, every individual can do their part and make a difference. Some studies show that families that practice earth friendly conservative measures have saved enough in power, fuel, consumer & durable goods over a ten year period to send one of their children to college. A tremendous savings for the family as well as the earth.

Want to join, save money & the environment, here’s how:

1. Always at the top of the list: RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE – sending less waste to the landfill.

2. Other kinds of recycling are garage sales, second hand stores, Goodwill or just give it away.

3. Buying local produce saves energy used to transport food to markets

4. Eat less meat. It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef

5. Do all your laundry in cold water and do only large loads

6. Use energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, they cost more but they use less energy and last seven times longer

7. Buy products with minimal packaging

8. Landscape with plants that don’t need a lot of watering or chemicals to maintain their health

9. Set your thermostat down in the winter, up in the summer. Looks like the power companies are taking care of that one for us! Who can afford it?

10. Install a "dam" in your toilet tank to displace water. A brick or a two-quart plastic jug half filled with wet sand works well & saves 550 to 3,000 gallons of water a year

11. Run the dishwasher only when it’s fully loaded

12. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth instead of letting it run. You’ll wash your teeth with a cup full rather than a gallon or two

13. Make lists and run your errands when you have three or more things to do.

14. Ride your bike, walk, car pool or take public transportation.

15 Replace your showerhead with a "low flow" head that aerates yet still provides the same water pressure.

These small changes can make a huge impact. Even if you’ve never been a conservationist wouldn’t the money be nice! If we each do our part no one would be deprived of the luxuries of clean water and air, warm houses, cars and more that we’ve come to enjoy.

Till next time, Rebecca