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How to be less of a jerk to the environment

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A green roof garden design
The right types of gardens can be great for the environment. Here are some more planet-bettering tips from our reporters on Earth Day 2017.
Tom Baker for MPR News file

Monday is Earth Day, which is a good time for evaluating how our daily routines affect the planet. 

We asked our environment reporters across the state for some tips on simple, everyday things most of us can do that can benefit the environment — or at least reduce harm. Here's what they told us.

Elizabeth Dunbar, St. Paul

Elizabeth covers the impacts of climate change. 

Reduce, reuse, recycle — in that order. People think recycling is green, but it actually takes a lot of energy to recycle. Better than throwing stuff in a landfill, but think about reusing something before putting it in the recycle bin. 

Keep reusable bags and beverage containers everywhere — in your car, your purse, your office, home. 

Replace halogen lights with LEDs. It used to be that there were no LEDs that fit into halogen fixtures. That's changed! LEDs use way less energy and last much longer. 

Think twice before spraying chemicals and fertilizers on your lawn. Explore alternatives that won't run off and pollute lakes and rivers.

Dan Kraker, Duluth

Dan's reporting in northeast Minnesota has him covering everything from Lake Superior's water quality to the mining industry. 

Bring a cloth bag to the grocery store.

Leave your car in the garage. Ride your bike or walk or take the bus. 

Get going on your garden. Plant bee-friendly flowers. Grow your own food. 

Get outside! Go for a hike, watch the sunset, appreciate the natural beauty we're lucky to have in this state. 

Get your kids outside! Start to instill a love for the natural world in the next generation.

Kirsti Marohn, St. Cloud

Kirsti focuses on water in her reporting from central Minnesota. As such, she has some simple fixes you can make that can help keep water clean.

Clean your boat and trailer thoroughly and check for invasive species after leaving a lake and before moving to a new body of water.

Don't flush disposable wipes used for personal hygiene, changing diapers or household cleaning. Throw them in the trash.

Skip the bottled water. Fill a reusable bottle at the tap instead.

Don't let yard trimmings or pet waste get into the storm drain. 

Fix that leaky faucet so you're not wasting water.

Dan Gunderson, Moorhead

From his base in northwestern Minnesota, Dan reports a lot about bees and the risks these important pollinators face. 

Embrace dandelions! And creeping Charlie!  

Use pesticides wisely. Put up a house for native bees in your yard. The Xerces Society has some tips for doing that here.