For many, Earth Day is a celebration that momentarily spikes our consciousness and often moves into the back of our minds for the other 364 days in the year. In order to begin living a little bit greener each day, the Sea Shepherds, the eco-crusaders behind the Animal Planet show Whale Wars: Viking Shores, compiled a list of their favorite earth-saving tips.
Use Soap Nuts. Update your laundry routine by replacing washing liquid with Soap Nuts (buysoapnuts.com). They are a natural nut (yes, they are actually a nut!) that give out a soaplike substance. Each nut lasts for multiple washes and they're great for removing stains. Best part: when they run out, they can go in the compost to break down. Soap Nuts can also be used to make shampoo and a cleaner for all surfaces in my house.
Chantelle Derez, crew member aboard the Steve Irwin
Look toward native vegetation and produce. Whenever possible, eat locally to cut back on the pollution generated from transportation and to help support local farmers. Plant native plants to cut back on maintenance costs. For example, if you live in a desert, do not plant a palm tree; instead plant a native plant that thrives in the environment with no extra watering required.
Scott Johnson, ultralight pilot aboard the Steve Irwin
Reduce, reuse and recycle plastics. Plastic is designed to be used once and lasts forever; when it ends up in the world's oceans it has a devastating effect on marine ecosystems. Keep a reusable bag (or two) in your car at all times for grocery store shopping or use a travel mug (instead of a disposable plastic cup) to carry your morning cup of coffee.
Jonathan Renecle, crew member aboard the Steve Irwin
When buying fish, the smaller the better. When purchasing sea life, it can be confusing to decide which fish to eat when taking into account both health and moral factors. Different species are caught different ways, in different areas, with different degrees of environmental harm depending on how the caught fish fit into the food chain. When in doubt, a simple rule is use the size of the fish as a guide as big fish are usually high on the food chain, full of toxins, with plummeting populations, while the little guys are more ... expendable. So please munch on sardines, herring and anchovies instead of swordfish, salmon or tuna steak.
Willie Hatfield, engineer aboard the Steve Irwin
Use recycled material to make unique and 'earth-friendly' gifts. To make a truly thoughtful and one-of-a-kind present, turn to recycled materials and make things out of objects that are usually thrown out. For example, make rocker-inspired bracelets out of old guitar strings and then repurpose things like newspaper, chip packets, boxes and chart paper to wrap the gifts.
We all have a voice. Stay aware of your environment by having a discussion about the things that you are passionate about. The more information you share with others, the more informed we will all be. Change takes a global village.
Beck Straussner, crew member aboard the Brigitte Bardot
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is an international nonprofit, marine wildlife conservation. Watch the Sea Shepherds in action on "Whale Wars: Viking Shores," premiering at 9 p.m. Friday on Animal Planet.