As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, we are looking for ways to mark the occasion without the many special events that were planned for this year. But then do we really need an event to remind us to celebrate all that the earth gives to us and our role in protecting it?
Let’s consider what we can do throughout the year to keep the spirit of Earth Day alive, no matter where we are. Any changes we make in our everyday life, regardless of the size of the project or changed behavior we take on, makes a difference! Here are some ideas to get started.
- Exchange household cleaners with toxic chemicals for greener options, such as using vinegar for streak-free windows or making your own simple laundry detergent.
- Stock your kitchen with leftover containers from spreadable butter, sour cream, lunch meat, and other plastic tubs and use them to store leftovers or take your lunch to work.
- Instead of sending fruit and vegetable scraps to the landfill, use them to create healthier soil by mixing them with yard waste in a backyard composting bin.
- Cook using fresh ingredients to reduce packaging waste and only cook as much as you can eat while the food is fresh.
- Once the COVID-19 quarantine is over, donate or sell items you don’t use anymore that still work, such as electronics, clothing, small kitchen appliances, movies, and books. Online marketplaces make it easy to sell these items online, or donate them to your local community through a website like Freecycle or to a nearby charity.
In the Community
- Join in beautification activities in your neighborhood or at your home. Plant trees to help clean our air and provide cooling shade. Grow flowering shrubs and wildflower to attract pollinators. Plant a vegetable garden to feed your family and share any extras (safely left at the curb) with neighbors.
- Litter attracts more litter, so do your part to keep your neighborhood clean. Report any signs of illegal dumping, keep the lid on your trash bin secure, pick up stray paper or wrappers you see outside (never touch any needles, food, or other potentially contaminated litter), and dispose of any trash or recyclables in their appropriate bins in public areas.
- And after the quarantine, give your time and energy to help out at local events, such as community cleanups, tree plantings, or collection days, or volunteer with programs like a community garden in your neighborhood.
Everywhere, Every Day
- Know what is recycled locally and recycle all of those items regularly. Not sure what is accepted for recycling? Check with your local solid waste authority.
- Skip the bottled water and refill your own reusable water bottles or cups. Not only will you create less waste, but you’ll also save money since tap water is cheaper than bottled water.
- And, after the quarantine:
- *Kindly decline single-use plastics such as straws, plastic utensils, drink cups, or takeout containers when possible. Bring your own reusable versions to fast-food restaurants or coffee shops instead.
- *Carpool or take public transportation to work, school, extracurricular activities, and club meetings. Better yet, walk or ride your bike when possible.
- *Make it a habit to use reusable shopping bags when you go to the store or farmers market.
So, who needs an event? We can celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day everyday by committing to making a difference with the choices we make each day. For more on Earth Day, read Back in the (Earth) Day! and Earth Day–Then and Now.
Image credit: exxorian | DigitalVision Vectors | Getty Image Plus