As a platform for raising worldwide awareness for the protection of the environment, World Environment Day (WED) falls on June 5 this year and is one of the most widely celebrated outreach events sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). As an international happening, WED began in 1974 and has grown to a broad web of participation across over 100 countries. Each year, a different theme and host country is identified to call attention to specific environmental issues.
For 2016, Angola has the hosting honors, and the theme is centered on the illegal trade of wildlife, using the slogan of Go Wild for Life. You can read much more about the official WED activities in Angola here, including the efforts to preserve the environment for the endangered Giant Sable Antelope.
Though you may be many thousands of kilometers or miles away from these event happenings in Southern Africa, there is much you can do this week as well as throughout the year to positively impact and support this global environmental initiative by acting locally. And we are suggesting you act very close to home, by virtue of making incremental healthful, natural, and sustainable improvements to your dwelling and its surrounding parcel of land. A series of seemingly-micro, environmentally-responsible changes can produce macro pay-offs in myriad ways, including improvements in air quality throughout the home, minimized energy and water consumption, improved absorption and management of rainfall runoff, increased suitability of the surrounding property to support wildlife, and much more.
For example, contemplate making small but potentially meaningful changes around your homestead by considering the items on this list:
Recolor a room by using a non-toxic, zero-VOC paint;
Switch out incandescent or CFL lamps with their LED equivalents;
Install a smart-home lighting control to automatically switch off lights as you leave;
Replace a faucet in your bath with a water-saving, EPA WaterSense-certified fixture or equivalent;
Craft an exterior window awning to shade the interior of your home from harsh middle-of-the-day summer solar radiation;
Harvest rainfall from your roof by installing a rain barrel and a simple downspout diverter valve;
Create a rain garden in your yard to divert and capture runoff from heavier rains or overflow from your rain barrel;
Replace non-native foundation plantings with drought-tolerant indigenous native varieties;
Build or purchase a nesting box or two in order to provide a weathering and birthing shelter for visiting birds.
The list here of environmentally-centric opportunities can of course be endless, but the point in the week of WED 2016 is to begin by doing something meaningful and then building upon it. By the time WED 2017 rolls around, you may well be a significant distance farther down the road toward environmental stewardship. Let us know how it goes by keeping in touch with us through our social channels.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.