Bonita Beach

Earth Day in Bonita Springs, Florida

It's the little things that count. Here are 10 things you can do as a citizen of Bonita Springs, or anywhere for that matter to make a difference to the planet Earth.

1. Rather than writing checks and stuffing envelopes each month, switch to tree-free billing and pay everything from your credit card to your cell phone bills online.

2. Get involved at the local level. Find out the quality of your community's rivers and streams at the EPA's "Window to My Environment," www.epa.gov.

3. Turn your backyard into a wildlife habitat. Visit the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) "Garden For Wildlife," and see what you can do to attract songbirds, butterflies and native species.

4. Eat healthier fish. Not only do certain fish species contain high levels of mercury but many of the world's fisheries are either farmed destructively, severely overfished or under threat from invasive species.

5. Use organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers. Fish emulsion, aged manure and compost are all great sources of nutrients.

6. Make your home sparkling clean with these earth-friendly products: baking soda, white vinegar, borax, lemon juice and vegetable-based liquid soap.

7. Support your local farmers and retailers by buying their products. This not only enriches your area's economy, it reduces the impact of shipping items.

8. Add a 3-inch layer of mulch to conserve moisture and reduce the need to use chemical herbicides to control weeds in your flower beds.

9. Conserve water by choosing drought resistant plants.  Successful drought tolerant gardens depend on deeply tilled, well-drained soil.  Your best bet is to plant in raised or mounded beds that are 12 to 18-inches tall.

10. Replacing a 100-watt incandescent with a 32-watt CFL (compact florescent light bulb) can save you at least $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

Don't stress, if doing them all is too much pressure, just start with one.