April is Earth Month, a time to raise awareness around the environmental issues that affect the planet and all living beings that call it home. In celebration, here are 5 things you can do today, this week, this month, and well into the future to live more sustainably and reduce your overall impact.

Plant a Tree

Large, mature trees sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, provide habitat for wildlife, and minimize heat. It’s important to plant trees native to your area for them to grow and thrive, as well as offer the most benefits to native wildlife. Planting a tree in your yard is one of the best actions you can take to help fight climate change. For residents of Saratoga County and the surrounding communities some great options for trees are: oak, maple, American elm, American basswood, Kentucky coffee, river birch, white birch, and black cherry. Check out our website for information on proper tree planting and care.

Turn off your lights

This applies to both indoor and outdoor lights. Turning off the lights in any and all rooms you’re not using can lower your electricity bill and reduce your use of fossil fuels. In addition to the climate and energy benefits, turning off your outside lights at night will limit light pollution which has detrimental effects on nocturnal animals and pollinators. Plants and animals rely on the Earth’s cycle of day and night to function and an ever-increasing amount of light pollution at night threatens this balance. Remember, no light at night!

Reduce your waste

Did you know that about 91% of plastic is not recycled? The vast majority of global plastic produced is designed to be single-use. The best way to end plastic pollution is to focus on reduction and reuse. There are many low waste and zero waste substitutes for household products including detergent sheets and tablets, cloth paper towels, toothpaste tablets, mesh produce bags, and silicone food storage bags. Bring your own reusable water bottle or coffee cup with you on the go and try shopping with refillable containers at the grocery store or a local low waste refillery. Composting is another option for recycling food waste that would otherwise end up in landfills. If you don’t have the option to start a backyard compost pile, there are companies that offer residential compost collection.

Help pollinators

Pollinators like bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles, flies and moths are essential for agriculture and support natural food webs. To help pollinator species thrive you can plant native pollinator-friendly plants, provide nests for pollinators, and avoid pesticides. Participating in Sustainable Saratoga’s educational campaigns like No Mow May supports pollinators by providing more food sources for bees and other pollinators in the spring. Do your research to identify native pollinator-friendly plants in your region that would make a great addition to your yard or garden. Some options available at our Pollinator Palooza native plant sale are: milkweed, goldenrod, jacob’s ladder, coneflower, and aster.

Donate to an environmental non-profit

There are so many amazing environmental organizations doing important work to make our world a better place. Sustainable Saratoga is fundraising for Earth Month! Help us reach our goal of $2,500! Your donation will help fund our projects to divert waste from landfills, plant more native trees and flowers, provide free community workshops and education sessions, protect our Greenbelt and natural resources, and promote renewable energy.