Celebrating Earth Day with 10 simple things you can do to help
Billions of people around the globe have been celebrating Earth Day each April 22 for the past 53 years. Celebrating Earth Day dates back to 1970, when a senator from Wisconsin organized a national event to raise awareness around important environmental issues — things like air pollution and oil spills. During that first Earth Day, rallies took place across the country and an estimated 20 million Americans took part. Today, the event is global, with more than 140 countries worldwide celebrating Earth Day annually.
Did you know? The first Earth Day helped create the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It also helped get the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts signed into law.
Turning ideas into action
Mother Teresa once said “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” While issues such as air pollution, water shortages, wildfires, warming oceans and animal extinctions can seem overwhelming and too massive to impact, there are simple things and small actions you can do that really can make a difference.
Buy reusable bags
Estimates show that Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year. As an alternative, buy a handful of reusable bags to use whenever you go to the grocery store.
Use a refillable water bottle
Buy a nice reusable water bottle to replace all those plastic water bottles you use. Just fill the bottle and go — with no waste left behind.
Unsubscribe to catalogs
More than 100 million trees are cut down each year just to produce junk mail — and a big part of that is catalogs. To opt out of receiving them, go to catalogchoice.org, complete the online form, and they’ll help get your name off the mailing lists that send you all those unwanted — and unnecessary — pieces of mail.
Shop smart when buying clothes
When you buy clothes, consider buying better clothing designed to last longer, rather than ultra-cheap “disposable” clothing that gets worn for a short amount of time and then thrown out. Buying thrifted or gently used outfits is another way to make an impact.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Whenever possible, consider sharing rides with friends, carpooling to work, taking public transportation or even riding your bike. You can also save your car-related errands for a single day or two each week and group them together to save gas.
Plant a tree
It’s no secret that trees clean the air and give off oxygen. They also help lower the temperature — and increase your property value! Plant fruit trees and you not only get the usual benefits, you also get fresh fruit without having to drive to the store.
Grow a garden
Find a spot in your yard or use containers to grow your favorite vegetables. When harvest time comes, you’ll have plenty of fresh veggies right in your own yard.
Make your yard more pollinator friendly
Birds, butterflies, moths, small mammals, and most importantly, bees, are pollinators. Without them, 75% to 95% of all flowering plants can’t exist. You can make your yard more inviting to these necessary creatures by planting native plants, removing weeds, starting a garden, providing water sources and providing shelter. Bees (and all pollinators) are our friends!
Choose nontoxic cleaners
Whenever possible, use nontoxic cleaning supplies in the home and office. Nontoxic cleaners don’t contain the harsh chemicals that can get into the water system.
Watch the lights
LED and energy-efficient light bulbs not only last significantly longer, they also reduce greenhouse gas. And remember to flip the switch and turn out the lights when you leave a room.
Remember, small acts matter. Even if it seems like simple things — like using a refillable water bottle or reusable bag — don’t make much of a difference, your small acts can change and improve the world around us. Doing your part, no matter how you do it, adds up. At the end of the day, we only have one planet. Happy Earth Day! And to learn even more visit earthday.org