10 Activities to Celebrate Earth Day and Beyond
The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 during the early days of the environmental movement and Friday, April 22, 2016 we will be the 46th year. That’s nearly 50 years of encouraging people across the world to stop and think about their environment and what they can do to make an impact! There are so many ways to get involved from simple tasks at home to supporting community events. This is a great excuse to make changes to your daily life and be a little greener as well as becoming more aware of local conservation efforts. Whether you’re looking to do something on your own or get the whole family involved, here are a few activities to get you started on your way to a greener planet.
Start Recycling at Home -I’m often shocked at how few blue bins I see in our neighborhood on trash day despite the service being included with our waste hauler service. My little family manages to fill up more in our recycling bin than our trash bin these days. Even if you don’t have curbside recycling pickup, it’s likely the local municipality provides a drop off location. Most of what you dump in a trash bag will just be dumped into a landfill where plastics may sit indefinitely. Recycling items like retail packaging, newspapers, and empty food cartons is an easy way to make a huge impact on our environment and add to a sustainable economic footprint. Recycling is a great habit to add to your daily routine and a good way to get kids involved. My daughter, aka Recycling Girl, has a cardboard box to collect used items and take out to the big blue bin.
Volunteer at a Local Event -Feel extra motivated to save the Earth? How about just your local green spaces? There are often several local events in your area for Earth Day including cleanup and maintenance at nature parks, downtown/urban renewal projects and community gardens, and playground cleanup. This is a great excuse to get outside and support your neighborhood environment. Encourage friends and family to help out to get even more done!
Recycle Old Electronics – Is that clunky old CRT monitor still staring at you from the corner of the basement? The garbage man just kept leaving it on the curb, eh? It’s now much easier to get rid of old electronics. Local municipalities typically offer recycling programs a few times and year and many retail chains have also stepped up their game. Big Box stores like Target, Lowe’s and others often have bins at the front of the store to dump used batteries and some small electronics. Best Buy will take everything from ink cartridges and laptops to larger appliances and TVs.
Get Outside – Here’s an easy one: walk out your door. Yep, just spending time outside will bring you a bit closer to nature and keep it in the back of your mind. Stroll around your yard or neighborhood and think about what activities, like a little gardening or cleaning up a playground, will improve the environment. Want to go a few steps further? Head out to a local park or nature center for a hike, picnic, canoeing, or whatever way you like to relax in the outdoors. As a society we spend so much time inside our homes and workplaces that ‘nature’ seems so far away. As a bonus, US National Parks have free admission all week! Find one close to you here.
Crafty? Upcycle Items Around the House -If you’re big into crafting, or just need something for the kids to do, think about upcycling some old items around the house or even things about to go into the recycle bin. Glass jars, paper towel tubes, and that old sock are just waiting for a second life as some beautiful decoration. Try as I might I’m not always so good at crafts, but luckily there are 17 billion things your can find with a simple Pinterest search!
Plant a Garden – What better way to add a bit of green in your life than with a garden. There are plenty of options depending on where you live and how much room you have, or don’t have. Grow some herbs or veggies to use in your cooking or plant some flowers to give your yard a burst of color. If you can, add some native plants to your yard, particularly ones that will benefit local wildlife. For rainy day fun or apartments, create a small planter with herbs, cat grass, or a moss terrarium. Kids love making little fairy gardens, so pick up some miniature figures at a craft or garden store.
Go Electronics Free for the Weekend – That’s right. Ditch the cell phones, iPads, and Netflix this weekend in your household and get outside. We are so distracted by all the pretty lights nowadays we forget to look up and enjoy our surroundings. For many of us, work-related emails, texts, and calls also add a lot of unneeded stress to our days off. Unplug, tune out, and soak up some nature.
Donate to a Green Cause -There are several organizations, such as EarthDay.org, who can use even a small donation to help plant trees in neighborhoods, cleanup natural areas, build parks, and revitalize the food systems in our cities.
Host a Recycling Drive – Want to take your recycling efforts a bit further? Organize a local recycling drive through your kids’ school, Parks & Rec, neighborhood association, etc. Encourage people to drop off old magazines, cans and bottles, etc. Contact your local government, waste hauler, or school system to see what options are available for taking away the recyclables.
Learn About Sustainable Food Management – The US EPA has a program focusing on Sustainable management of Food this year. With expanding populations, industrialization of agriculture, and urban food deserts we need to be more aware of what we can do as both individuals and as a nation to maintain adequate food supplies and improve upon what is already in place. There is also a massive amount of food waste in the US that is not being recovered; but things are starting to change on that front. Find out more about this program on their website.
I hope your enjoyed this article and find some useful tips to help celebrate Earth Day in your household. What activities do you do to celebrate Earth Day each year? Feel free to post in the comments section or on our social media accounts! Check back for more great advice on going green and what we are doing around our home to take part.