April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013 – Make a Difference

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For many, climate change is seen as only an outdoor issue involving extreme weather and melting icebergs. For others, climate change can often seem remote– a vague and complex problem far off in the distance that our grandchildren will have to solve.  Still others see today’s global climate issues as massive and hard to tackle. You may feel that the problem is too big, it’s beyond my control, or that life’s big problems require big solutions and big thinking.

Unfortunately, climate change and other environmental issues affect communities all around the globe as well as your community. Having clean air to breathe, water to drink, and a neighborhood and home safe from hazards is important to ALL of us! And guess what? Often, all it takes is the smallest steps or solutions to make a difference. You can make a difference.

Take Action – Small steps can make a difference

Each year on April 22, Earth Day is honored around the world. It draws attention and support to environment protection. However, Earth Day is more than a one-day event or annual environmental wake-up call. It is a catalyst for ongoing education, action, and change. HUD and its Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC) recognizes that each person can make a difference. You can take action inside your home as well as outside, and reduce your carbon footprint. To learn more about the history of Earth Day visit www.epa.gov.

The OHHLHC wants to let you know of simple steps that you can take in your home that can make a difference. By choosing five or more of these ideas and sharing your own, you are joining thousands of others who are doing the same! Make your actions count today!

Pick 5

  • Did you know that radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer? Learn about testing for and reducing radon at www.hud.gov/healthyhomes
  • Learn about the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke and the impact of smoking on smokers and others at www.cdc.gov. Also check out information about how HUD is encouraging apartment building owners and public housing agencies to make their buildings smoke-free at www.hud.gov
  • Use only the water you need, and reuse water when possible, such as for watering plants.
  • Help keep water clean by using biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  • Dispose of potentially hazardous solid and liquid wastes such as solvents, electronics, and medications safely.
  • Use pesticides safely! Always follow the label.  Reduce or eliminate their use where possible by starting an Integrated Pest Management program. Learn more about IPM at www.epa.gov/pesticides
  • Have a home energy audit. An audit can discover issues such as air leaks, lack of pipe insulation and many other issues that leads to energy over-usage and that may cause other health hazards. For more information, contact your local providers.
  • Save energy at home. Choose energy-saving appliances if they’re available. Look for Energy Star!
  • Buy products that contain minimal amounts, or no, hazardous ingredients. Products that contain hazardous ingredients should, if they can’t be replaced with products without hazardous ingredients, be used and stored properly to prevent accidents in the home.
  • Keep hazardous products in their original containers, and never remove labels. Never store hazardous products in food containers.

Did you pick 5? If you did, you are part of the millions around the world who are striving to make a difference in climate change. If you want more information on steps that you can take to make a difference, visit www.epa.gov, Pick 5 for the Environment.

To learn more about Earth Day events in your community visit EPA Earth Day events.

To learn more about HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control efforts, visit www.hud.gov/healthyhomes

To learn more about HUD’s sustainability efforts, visit our Sustainable Housing and Communities website.

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