Make this Earth Day Meaningful
April 22, 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary for Earth Day! Many people will feel compelled to share an inspiring quote or a beautiful photo of nature; but what about making this Earth Day special and meaningful? Whether you are a seasoned environmentalist who already recycles and uses all “green” products in your home, or a newbie who’s just starting out and becoming more aware of your personal impact on the environment there are some great ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day and make an impact this year. In honor of Earth Day on April 22, we created a list of the top 22 ideas on how to make this special anniversary Earth day really count. If you have kiddos take a look at our Fun and Meaningful Earth Day Kid Activities for some ideas.
Covid-19 Precautions: In light of the current public health situation regarding Covid-19, some of the Earth Day ideas listed below may not be possible or may need to be modified to remain in compliance with social distancing and “stay at home orders” in your area. Please, for the health and safety of yourself and others, always defer to your local public health officials and follow their recommendations and guidelines.
1. Don’t Drive…Enjoy a Bike Ride
Whether biking to work is feasible for you or not, think about a time you could choose to take an enjoyable bike ride instead of jumping in the car. Maybe you have a long commute, and biking isn’t possible for work, but what about that quick trip to the post office, or coffee shop? Or dropping the kids at school, visiting a friend? You will enjoy some fresh air, get some healthy exercise and save some gas, all while helping the environment and celebrating Earth Day!
2. Plant a Vegetable or Herb Garden
Ever think about what it takes to get food to your table? GMO’s, factory farming, the pollution created to transport it’s a big impact. Organic and locally grown food is so much better for the environment, but it can be very costly. Try out your green thumb and plant some foods your family eats regularly. Whether you’ve got room for a full vegetable garden or a shelf with a few herbs you enjoy, its a step in the right direction.
3. Take a Nature Hike
There is beauty all around us every single day, take advantage of Earth Day to spend it outdoors in nature. Pack a picnic with friends, bring the dog, or go solo and spend some quality time with mother nature. You can find local hiking trails very easily with apps like AllTrails, that let you know the difficulty level, length, and all sorts of useful details. Try to find an ecological preserve in your area to hike in and make sure to make a donation on your way in or out to help keep the area clean and beautiful for all to enjoy. Don’t forget to snap some pics to share!
4. Create a Rain Barrel or a Compost Bin
You can purchase a ready-made rain barrel or create a rain catch yourself using some easy DIY tutorials online. Rain is free and instead of it draining off your roof and down the rain gutters catch it and use it for your flowers or vegetable garden? Cutting back on your water consumption is great for the environment.
5. Organize a Litter Cleanup Party with Neighbors or Friends
Take the lead and set up and organize some friends and neighbors for a community clean up party. You can visit a local beach for a litter pickup event or set out into any open space, park, or trail in your area. Be sure to bring some different colored bags for any recyclables that are found along the way, so you can recycle them properly afterward. The great thing about this idea is that all ages can participate, making it a great community event. Plus you get to see the results of your hard work right away with a cleaner more beautiful community.
6. Make some Earth-Friendly Household Cleaners
Most household cleaners are made with dangerous, harsh chemicals that are not good for the environment. In reality, these harsh cleaners are usually unnecessary, there are safer more eco-friendly cleaning options available. The most cost-effective way to use these in your home is to make your own. There are some easy to follow DIY instructions online to help you replace regular household cleaners such as glass cleaner, countertop cleaners, even toilet, and shower cleaners.
7. Visit a Local Farmer’s Market
This one is a double win. This Earth Day you can help support local organic farmers while saving on transportation energy and fossil fuel use. Go a step further and make this part of your weekly shopping routine and not just a one-time special occasion. Your local farmers will surely appreciate it.
8. Finally, Get your E-waste to a Recycler
If you are like most folks you’ve got a small to a large collection of old, broken, and outdated electronics collecting dust in a closet or corner of your garage. Hopefully, everyone is aware that e-waste should never be tossed in the regular garbage or curbside recycling bins. Make this Earth Day the day you finally take all that junk in a make certain it gets recycling the right way, keeping it out of our landfills!
9. Plant a Tree
Simple, but always a winning choice. It is estimated that planting a single tree can absorb nearly 10 pounds of polluted air each year while releasing 260 pounds of oxygen. With deforestation eliminating 18 million acres of forest each year, the least we could do is spend the time to plant a single tree in honor of Earth Day. Make sure to choose a species of tree natural and local to your area, a local nursery can help you make the right water-wise choice for your area. There are other benefits such a reducing erosion, and storm runoff, creating a home for local animal life and of course the overall beauty of your surroundings.
10. Unplug for the Day
If you have teenagers in your home this one might be a hard sell, but let’s be honest most of us adults would struggle as well. Planting a tree or doing some community cleanup are both great outdoor activities. Whatever you decide, leave the cell phones at home and get outside.
11. Change Out your Lightbulbs
The simple act of swapping out your household’s lightbulbs to energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs is a great way to honor and celebrate Earth Day. It seems so simple, but it can make a big impact. Replacing your home’s lightbulbs can reduce your energy consumption by 75% and that is great for the environment and even your pocketbook. Switching out incandescent bulbs can be a great jumping-off point for your family’s move to energy efficiency.
12. Swap to Solar
Even if you don’t own a home, don’t skip over the idea of solar. There are other ways to take advantage of free solar energy from the sun; from pocket-sized phone chargers to small portable multi-panel kits. We all charge our laptops and cell phones on a daily basis, think about the impact charging with solar could make over the course of a year.
13. Sign up for a Class
Whether you are new to the idea of living green or a seasoned expert in everything from recycling to solar energy there is always more to learn. The more you know the more of an impact you can make. There are community classes available in most areas in everything from composting, upcycling, to organic gardening and water conservation. Check with your local library, community college, or city’s community center for available classes.
14. Email or Write your Local Representative
Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to voice your concerns, ideas, or frustrations with your local representatives, whether it is a senator, state rep, a city council, or mayor, regarding environmental policies in your city or state. It is important to open up these discussions and engage with our leaders if we hope to see changes that can impact the environment.
15. Donate Old Clothes and Household Items
Another very simple way to get involved this Earth Day is also entirely free! Collect all of your unwanted or unneeded clothes, bedding, and household items and take them to be donated. Donated items can reduce waste in our landfills and also be helpful and useful to others, which means less is consumed. So, instead of dumping these items or leaving them taking up space in your home, gather the items this Earth Day and drop them at your local thrift store or Goodwill location.
16. Organize a Carpool
Take advantage of this special day and talk to your coworkers about organizing a carpool. Carpools are an awesome way to reduce pollution, gas consumption, and save money. It really isn’t that hard to do, and definitely worth the effort. Think if everyone in your company could share a ride, even one or two days a week would make a huge impact on the environment, plus you get to take the carpool lanes!
17. Eliminate Unnecessary Plastics at Home
Another great way to help the environment this Earth Day is to take the time to walk through your house or take note throughout your day when and where you are using unnecessary plastics. Then, pick a few items to replace with reusable versions to get started on lowering the number of plastics you consume on a daily basis. Think plastic ziplock bags replaced with hard BPA free plastic sandwich containers; there are even awesome washable zip-lock pouches for packing lunches. Or how about buying bulk hand soap to refill hand and dish soaps instead of buying new smaller soap pumps each time.There are so many ways to eliminate plastics throughout our homes.
18. Donate to the Canopy Project
If you don’t have a place to plant a tree or the time, you can look into the Canopy Project. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, The Canopy Project has an ambitious goal of planting one tree for every human being on the planet! That is 7.8 billion trees for Earth Day 2020. You can help reach that goal with a donation as small as $1…every dollar donation equals one tree planted.
19. Switch to Paperless Billing
A great way to reduce paper waste is to switch to paperless billing for all your bills. Use this Earth Day to get online and set up paperless billing which will save tons of paper waste every month. You can go a step further and opt out of junk mail offers by visiting sites like: optoutprescreen.com and catalogchoice.org or utilitze an app like PaperKarma that attempts to do the unsubscribing for you by simply sending in a pic of the junk mail.
20. Purchase Reusable Shopping Bags
If you have not made this switch yet, Earth Day is a great day to start. Start out by purchasing a few sturdy, reusable shopping totes and make sure you place them in your trunk while it is fresh in your mind. Next time you go shopping bring your bags along and say NO to all those plastic bags. Many people chose to specify a certain color of bags for meats and poultry and another for fruits and veggies. This is such a simple way each of us can cut down on the use of plastics and live less wastefully.
21. Swap out Plastic Water Bottles
Make the switch this Earth Day and upgrade your hydration game. FIrst of all, plastic water bottles contribute greatly to the amount of plastics polluting our earth. Secondly, the single use plastic water bottles you are drinking from can leach chemicals into the water you’re consuming. Yuck. Upgrade to a sturdy stainless steel water canister or other refillable water bottle. There are so many designs and colors to choose from you’re bound to find one that fits your style. Keep this in mind for your next party as well, you can supple recyclable paper water cups and a water dispenser instead of dozens and dozens of plastic water bottles.
22. Share your Earth Day Activity and Challenge your Friends!
Perhaps the easiest Earth Day move of all is sharing your story with your friends and family. Don’t let this 50th Anniversary Earth Day go by without taking some action and sharing your experience with your posse. You can go a step further and have some fun challenging them on social media to match your donation or repeat your Earth Day activity themselves. You just may be the motivation for a friend or acquaintance and every one of us needs to get involved and make changes if we hope to really change things. Happy Earth Day!
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