7 Ways to enjoy Earth Day around the lake

Mitch Prentice
Lake Sun Leader
Red tulips are seen outside of U.S. Bank in Eldon.

Happy Earth Day! While it may not be the most exciting holiday compared to Thanksgiving and Christmas, Earth Day gives us a moment to think about the Earth and the ways we interact with it. If you find some time and inspiration to make a change, here are some easy ways to adopt simple green lifestyle choices into your daily routine around the lake. 

-Clean up the lake

For those living around the lake area, the condition of the lake itself is vitally important. Being able to enjoy the water without seeing a heavy amount of contamination keeps the water enjoyable for all and attractive for tourists. Consider volunteering in shoreline cleaning efforts or simply cleaning an area of the lake you might own property on. Any small aid in an effort to help clean the lake clean goes a long way. 

-Plant something

It’s a simple task that can grow into something amazing.  Whether it be a garden, a tree or even just a favorite vegetable in a pot, planting and gardening can be a therapeutic exercise and result in amazing things. By making an effort to grow your own food, you can save money and a trip to the store. And of course, helping plant a new tree can have a lasting impact on generations to come. Plus, you can help local pollinators and help preserve native flora in the area by planting native Missouri wildflowers. Visit https://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/1997/06/wildflower-favorites for ideas.

-Visit a state park. (Leave your phone in the car)

Weather permitting, taking a trip to one of the many great parks in the lake area can be a great way to get outside and enjoy nature. From Ha Ha Tonka to Lake of the Ozarks State Park, there are many options in the lake area for getting your feet on the ground and enjoying a free trail walk. If you happen to make the effort to head to a park for the day, try to keep your phone usage at a minimum and take the opportunity to take a deep breath and immerse yourself in your surroundings. There are few better times to do this than at the peak of spring. 

-Purchase a reusable shopping bag and shop local

A simple way to cut down on waste is to purchase reusable shopping bags. Most grocery stores and supermarkets have begun offering inexpensive reusable shopping bags that can be used to tote items in and out of the store instead of the regular plastic bags. This gives shoppers an easy way to cut down on their waste, as you’ll no longer have to throw out plastic bags at home. And as an added bonus, reusable bags are typically much stronger and easier to carry. 

-Buy a reusable water bottle or water filter pitcher. 

If you don't like tap water due to high calcium levels or taste, get a water filter to keep in the fridge. You can fill the pitcher or filtered water bottle at night and have cold, filtered water for the next day. This ensures that you have water ready to go at a moment’s notice and gives that water an upgraded taste through filtration. The amount of plastic bottles you’ll keep out of a landfill over a year’s usage of a reusable bottle is staggering and a great way to reduce waste. 

-Try going meatless for the day

Ok, this one might sound insane for many BBQ-loving folk at the lake, but a single day meatless can have a massive impact. Meat manufacturing is an extremely intensive resource hog, from feed cattle to the energy used to produce and distribute meat around the world. While the vegetarian lifestyle is difficult for most to achieve, going just one day a month without any meat consumed can add up to help the world in a big way. Plus, your body will thank you for the added veggies! 

- Research local recycling options 

Even if your area doesn't offer recycling, look at the nearby facilities that accept recycling of certain types. Try to get into the habit of collecting those items and dropping them off once a month. Lake Ozark: Waste Watchers Recycling, Osage Beach: Walmart, Target, Dogwood Animal Shelter, Camdenton: Walmart, Dogwood Animal Shelter Thrift, etc. By recycling packaging waste, a large amount of landfill buildup can be avoided. In some cases, recycled material can even go on to be reused in manufacturing. It’s an easy step that can have a big impact on the world around you.