I recently wrote about my love (and confusion) of celebrating Earth Day. I love that it exists on a global scale, but I’m confused why we don’t celebrate it every day. I mean, it’s not like we live on Mars the rest of the year. Having said that, I’m totally on-board with anything that encourages heightened eco-awareness for any length of time-even during a pandemic. We have learned to make adjustments for special days so we can still celebrate Earth Day while keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. You know we gotta remain cautious; even as those vaccines are rolling out. So, with that in mind, we are sharing 10 ideas for Earth Day on Thursday, April 22 and beyond because, well, it’s where we live.
10 Ideas for Earth Day that you can also apply to your everyday life
- Show some gratitude. Luckily, Earth Day is in Spring so the weather should be (fingers crossed) nice enough for you to get outside and appreciate all things nature that we have to stop taking for granted. Do this even after Earth Day. Go for a walk or just step outside and breathe the air, feel the grass, hug a tree. Just remember to mask up and respect social distancing.
- Stay informed and be a Greta or a Jane. This year, Earth Day is going digital with virtual events like environmental films and talks taking place to educate and entertain. You can review the full line-up of official events on earthday.org. After Earth Day, stay informed by keeping in touch with environmental developments in your country and around the globe. Demand change from your local and Federal politicians. Demand that the companies you support reflect your eco-values. Join a march when/where possible and necessary. Let your voice be heard.
- Clean-up and beautify. Organize a group to gather at a specific area to clean it up and/or beautify it. You can do things like pick-up litter and recycle any plastic and other allowable materials. Plastic wreaks havoc on our earth and wildlife. You can also plant trees and/or flowers (if permitted), which will improve our air quality and life for pollinators (see more on that below).
- Grow a Bee-Friendly Garden. Did you know that 1/3 of the world’s food production depends on bees (and other pollinators)? We need to do all we can to protect their existence. You can do this by planting bee-friendly plants or creating a bee-friendly garden. This will attract native bees (super-pollinators) and other pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds. Examples of plants are lavender, Bee Balm, Calendula, Asters, English Daisy, and Sunflowers.
- Plant a tree or two. Trees do so much for our environment and, in turn, the betterment of our lives. We seriously owe them. I won’t even get into trees that provide us with food like fruit, berries, and nuts. I’ll just keep it to the “in general” benefits like providing us with oxygen, improving our air quality, helping to control/temper the climate, improving water quality, and providing shelter for wildlife. Oh, and they are just plain beautiful. If you haven’t ever, hug one and say thanks.
- Cancel receiving printed mail pieces. Track all those invoices, catalogues, newspapers, and newsletters you receive and make a vow to switch them to electronic or virtual by Earth Day. Contact the company and ask to be removed from all printed material lists and switched to the environmentally friendly version. If they don’t have a green option, find another vendor. Don’t support a company that doesn’t consider the planet in their business plan. They are plain selfish.
- Switch to green household products. Many widely used/available household products contain chemicals that can harm your health and the health of the environment. Green products are (generally) not harmful to your health, nor are they hazardous to the environment. To help identify a green product, Clean Water Action recommends you confirm they are: Non-toxic, Biodegradable, Phosphate Free, Recycled content containers, Bulk packaging, Natural fragrance, Contain no dyes, chlorine, or hypochlorite, and Full disclosure or labeling of “active” & “inert” ingredients.
- Stop using pesticides in your garden. The negative effects of pesticides on the environment go far beyond just the area of their target use. The pollution and damage they cause is widespread through the soil, water, and wind. We understand it’s tempting to use pesticides in your garden. The perception is that they make maintenance easier and encourage growth but organic gardening can be just as simple and effective. You can organically enrich your soil so your plants will thrive and keep garden pests away through companion planting and other toxin-free solutions. The David Suzuki Foundation has great organic gardening tips for beginners.
- Conserve water. We waste water in our everyday lives – sometimes we are not even aware we’re doing it. Like brushing your teeth and letting the water run. When shaving or conditioning our hair in the shower, we will let the water run. We will run a load of dishes or laundry when they are not full. It’s not that we intentionally set out to waste water, we just take it for granted. We have to remind ourselves that water is a precious resource to be respected every time we turn the tap on.
- The food you eat. Where to start? There is so much to cover but I’m just going to focus on food choices here. First, 1/3 of our food goes to waste either at the store level or (mostly) after purchase due to spoilage, not fully using ingredients or just plain 1st world ridiculousness like it doesn’t look pretty. It’s so problematic. The strain and drain on our planet to produce food only to have it wind up in the bin, is a reason why we are in a climate crisis. Secondly, we must eat less animal products. Going vegan for at least 1-2 days per week would have a monumental impact on our planet. Even just swapping one non-vegan meal a day for a vegan meal would reduce your carbon footprint by 25%. That’s just going vegan for one meal a day.
Hopefully you’re able to incorporate a few (or all) of these suggestions into your Earth Day celebrations and then keep them long after. Earth Day really has to be celebrated every day. We still have an opportunity to change things and set an example for younger/future generations to build on.
How do you plan on celebrating Earth Day? How do you show your appreciation for the planet in your every day life? Let us know in the comments.
Be the change the planet desperately needs you to be.