Monday, April 22nd is Earth Day, and it is the most widely recognized secular event on the globe. It has grown from the 20 million protestors against industrial pollution in 1970 to an estimated 1 billion people and 100 million school children participating in some activity to change our planet for the better, according to the Earth Day Network. While Earth Day is really every day, April 22nd is a special, wonderful coming together of 174 countries toward a common goal, with the distinct reminder that each of us has a moral responsibility to be good stewards of the places we call home.
What are your plans for Earth Day this year? If you’re not sure, here are some suggestions of what you can do on April 22nd and all year round!
- Attend an Earth Day event in your area. There are lots of ways to find out what’s happening in your community. You can visit your city’s website directly, or learn about bigger events via the EPA’s website.
- Upcycle by making crafts from things you would normally throw away to make wonderful works of art. To start those creative juices flowing, here’s how to make a centerpiece out of old guitar strings and a flower ball out of old books (as shown by Green Wish board member Jenna DeAngeles!).
- Walk, hike, or ride a bike. Take a day off from using gasoline. Enjoy the great outdoors and burn some calories instead!
- Plant a tree. Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion. It also provides shade that keeps homes and cities cooler!
- Donate to your local community’s green projects. It’s the people at the local level that are making positive change that add up to huge global impacts. Learn about the good work that non-profits in your area are already doing to make your town or city greener, and get involved. A great way to help is to start your own Green Wish chapter, and we can show you how!
- Make your home more energy efficient. There are inexpensive things you can do that will pay you back quickly and help the environment! Switch your lightbulbs to Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), which last 10 times longer, use only 1/4 the energy and produce 90% less heat, and add weather-proof stripping around your doors and windows.
- Recycle, reduce, reuse. Carry your own reusable drink container with you. Don’t use any disposable plates or styrophom, and use cloth bags when you go shopping to cut down on the use of plastic bags.
- Support your local farmer’s market. This is a great way to connect to your community and contrary to popular belief, a recent survey of Vermont farmer’s markets found that prices for produce were comparable with or cheaper than supermarket prices for most conventionally raised vegetables. For organic items, the farmer’s market prices were almost 40 percent lower.
- Pick up litter. As you enjoy the day, stop to clean up trash from your own yard, sidewalks, and parks. This not only helps the environment, but also protects local wildlife.
- Clean green. Make your own household cleaners out of nontoxic ingredients, still proven effective at killing germs but much less harmful to the planet. You can get great tips on greening up your cleaning here.
Do you have other great ideas, or have you read an informative article about sustainability? We want to hear about them! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to send them our way.