NEW YORK, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Earth Day will officially be recognized today, but there are small steps you can take every day to improve the world around you. We asked some of Rodale's trusted experts for a few easy-to-follow ideas on how to "go green." Jonathan Dorn, Executive Editor, Backpacker Hold a dirty sock contest Do this with a bunch of friends or coworkers in a parking lot to demonstrate how auto emissions affect air quality. Each contestant places a clean white sock over his or her car's exhaust and runs the engine for 30 seconds. The contestants with the cleanest and dirtiest socks earn prizes, like a free dinner for the winner and a tune-up for the loser. Stencil storm drains Discourage dumping of harmful waste in public sewers by stenciling "This drain leads to such-and-such watershed" beside local storm drains. A simple reminder that someone else's drinking or swimming water may be on the other end of that drain can make a big difference. Ask your local water company for permission - and supplies. Make a pledge This is a great way to teach your kids about small habits that - when added up - can make a big difference. Have the entire family sign an Earth Day pledge that includes statements like, "I will turn off the lights when I leave the room," "I will turn off the water while shaving or brushing my teeth," and "I will wear a sweater rather than turn up the heat." Post the pledge on your refrigerator or in another visible place. Organize a hike Getting 20 people to explore a local forest or wetlands that are at risk for development will create 20 new advocates when the issue comes up for public debate. Plus, the fresh air will do everybody good. Best strategy: Work with a hiking club in your area to coordinate the event (find one at http://www.backpacker.com/community . Find more great tips on how to bring the outdoors to your doorstep in Backpacker. Visit Backpacker.com, or call 1-800-666-3434 to subscribe. Rosemary Ellis, Editorial Director, Prevention Save time, energy, and guilt on Earth Day by knowing that small things count. Here are a couple of tips from Prevention's April and May issues that will save money and keep you and your home healthy: Wash 'em, don't trash 'em We're talking about those plastic Zip-lock bags you use for storing everything from lunches to frozen foods. Save money and the planet's resources by using the nylon Bag-E-Wash gadget. It snaps into your dishwasher rack to hold bags open and secure them for easy cleaning and drying. One box of 30 plastic bags washed and reused 10 times each will save you $30 - and keep 300 bags out of landfills. The best green cleaners A 2003 study found that women who clean houses for a living have a 46- percent-greater chance of having asthma and a 61-percent-greater risk of chronic bronchitis than women in other professions do. Most green cleaners contain no phosphates, chorine, petroleum, distillates, or carcinogens - in fact, no hard-to-read chemicals at all. For more smart ways to live well, visit Prevention magazine online at Prevention.com, or call 1-800-813-8070 to subscribe. Jeanie Pyun, Editor, Organic Style Tips on how to make a difference on Earth Day and every day! Support your local farmer What do all the top chefs have in common? They all rely on local produce. It makes perfect sense: Vegetables raised nearby are fresher, and they taste better because they're bred for flavor and not for their ability to hold up in transit. By buying from farmers nearby, you'll not only cut down on pollution, you'll also keep money circulating within your community. Change your bleach Cleaning with chlorine bleach is a dirty job, potentially toxic and dangerous. Gentler and just as effective, choose hydrogen-peroxide-based bleaches (Chlorox 2) or borax, like Earth Friendly Oxo-Brite Non-Chlorine Bleach (available at Whole Foods) and 20 Mule Team Borax (available at any grocery store). The lightbulb that makes YOU brighter Three great benefits to compact fluorescent bulbs: One, they last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb, so they rarely need changing. Two, they use 1/3 of the electricity of a regular bulb, cutting pollution and saving you about $7 per fixture a year. And three, they cost less than the 10 ordinary incandescent bulbs they replace. Look for models with the energy star label, which are guaranteed to last at least 6,000 hours. Find out more about how Organic Style helps women live a healthy, authentic, and balanced life at OrganicStyle.com, or call 800-365-3276 to subscribe. Scott Meyer, Executive Editor, Organic Gardening Five steps to a better, more natural lawn: 1. Mow high. Set your lawn mower at its highest setting when you cut the grass - taller grass has deeper roots, which are better able to draw up nutrients and moisture from the soil. (And taller grass looks thicker!) 2. Leave the grass clippings. Rather than bagging the clippings, let them fall on the lawn and they'll add nitrogen to the soil, and you'll only need to fertilize your lawn once a year. 3. Feed sparingly, and when you do, use a slow-release natural fertilizer. High-nitrogen, fast-release lawn fertilizers are like steroids - they pump up the grass's growth (so you have to mow more often), and they make the lawn susceptible to diseases. (They also contribute to freshwater pollution.) 4. Water when necessary. Newly seeded lawns need to stay consistently moist while they are getting established. After that, don't water cool-season grasses in summer; they're dormant and the water makes them susceptible to stress. Unless you have an extended dry spell, an established lawn with the grass mowed high almost never needs watering. When you do water, don't sprinkle it lightly and often - this encourages the grass to grow shallow roots. Rather, give the lawn a good soaking infrequently. 5. Sow your grass. Whether you are seeding a new lawn or just trying to make an existing lawn thicker, you want to plant varieties that suit your conditions. In the North, use cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, turf-type tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. These varieties grow vigorously in spring and fall and go dormant in the heat of summer. Check http://www.organicgardening.com for more details about what grows best in your neighborhood. Let Organic Gardening help you grow your organic green thumb. Visit OrganicGardening.com, or call 1-800-666-2206 to subscribe. Steve Madden, Editor-in-Chief, Bicycling Once you learn, you never forget This Earth Day, if at all possible, try riding your bike to work at least one day a week. Americans make 4.5 billion car trips each week; the average one is 9.86 miles long. If we all replaced at least one car trip per week, we'd reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2.4 million tons/week; 126 million tons/year and lose a collective 37,714,286 pounds/week. Find out more about how a bicycle can help the environment - and your health - by visiting Bicycling.com. Or, call 1-800-666-2806 to subscribe. How would the gift of a bike change your life? If you live in one of the 20 designated BikeTown cities, you may just be about to find out. For more information, visit http://www.Bicycling.com/BikeTown . Stacy Sindlinger, Creative Director, Organic Style Boutique Trust What's Inside I suggest "instinct math." When you make any purchase, check the labels, and if you don't see answers to the What, Who and Where questions, ask (or better yet, get your kids to ask - they will love it!). Once you know what the product was made from, who made it, and where it was made...let your conscience be your guide. Your instincts will tell you if it's a good buy, and you'll be amazed at how great it feels to start "voting with your dollars." And, to bring a little more style to your home this Earth Day, try rifling through your jewelry box full of inherited clip-on earrings and pins that are "not-quite-you" but full of sentimental meaning. Consider adding them to curtain tie-backs, lamp- or overhead-light chain-pulls. During the month of April, the Organic Style Boutique will honor Earth Day by donating 5% of proceeds from the sale of select items to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Visit http://shop.organicstyle.com to order. About Rodale Inc. As one of the world's most trusted sources for health-and-wellness content, Rodale Inc. (http://www.rodale.com) reaches more than 30 million people in 42 countries each month through its category-leading media properties and integrated marketing solutions. For more than 60 years, the privately held company has inspired and enabled people to improve their lives through its reporting of groundbreaking, science-based health-and wellness information. Rodale's magazines, including the worldwide brands Men's Health, Prevention and Runner's World, as well as Backpacker, BestLife, Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Organic Gardening and Organic Style, regularly garner honors for editorial, design and circulation performance and, as a whole, consistently outperform industry averages in both ad-page and ad-revenue growth. Rodale is also the largest independent book publisher in America, with an expanding stable of international titles. Recent New York Times Bestsellers include the titles within The South Beach Diet and The Abs Diet franchises, as well as Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars and Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss. Special interest publications, including the company's newest title, Women's Health; a broad range of successful interactive media products, like http://www.absdiet.com; and integrated marketing solutions, such as the custom-publishing partnership with Curves International, are among the assets that round out Rodale's portfolio of innovative, mission-based brands and properties.
SOURCE Rodale Inc.