Earth Day, in its simplest form, is a day for people to step back, take a deep breath and appreciate our planet in all its glory. The first Earth Day was held in 1970 in the US, and it’s often considered the start of the modern environmental movement. Since then, it has evolved into a globally celebrated holiday, with celebrations occurring all over the world.
Every year, Earth Day raises public awareness and helps promote understanding of important environmental issues so that more people have knowledge of the critical actions we need to take to protect our environment. Harnessing that attention and making it a more sustained action to protect the Earth is something that we should all strive for.
There are many simple ways to celebrate and protect the Earth, not just on Earth Day, but every day!
Get a Reusable Water Bottle
Using a reusable water bottle is one of the quickest ways to reduce plastic use in your home. From the production of single-use plastic water bottles to where they inevitably end up (hello, landfill), there’s not much going for them. Investing in a reusable water bottle helps the environment in all the ways plastic water bottles harm it. Choose a durable, and reusable water bottle and simply add it to your mental checklist of things to remember when you leave the house (wallet, keys, phone, water bottle). They come in so many color & design options, and you can even have them personalized. Why would you carry around a flimsy plastic single-use bottle when you can have something much cuter that’s also better for the environment?
Become a Better Grocery Shopper
Try to buy fresh foods that you can carry in reusable containers. Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t come prepackaged, and you can always just get the amount that you need instead of buying pre-packaged foods that you won’t completely finish. Also, nuts, lentils, coffee beans and many other dry goods can generally be purchased from bulk containers. By using reusable containers, you’re further reducing the amount of plastic in the world. It’s also worth making an effort to try to buy local, ethical and environmentally sustainable products. If you can't go local, go ethical and sustainable.
Start a Compost Bin
Compost bins have become a huge trend throughout America in the last few years – and for good reason! Composting biodegradable food and materials is a great way to feed soil, organisms in the soil and plant life while reducing waste. All you have to do is create a compost pile or bin in your backyard or, if you live in an apartment, store all your vegetable, fruit, and other natural food waste in a plastic bag in your freezer (helps reduce smell!) and when it gets full simply dump it at a local compost collecting facility.
Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
This can be as simple as changing out your lightbulbs! Now I’m not saying you need to run out right now and replace all of your light bulbs even though they are still working, but the next time one of your lights burns out, replace it with a compact fluorescent light. CFL bulbs can last more than five times longer and use much less electricity than regular incandescent light bulbs, and come in many different brightness and shade levels.
Use Reusable Shopping Bags
Most stores these days offer a canvas bag alternative to their wasteful plastic and paper bags. Although a canvas bag might cost a small amount to acquire, in the long run they are useful for much more than just getting groceries. A canvas bag is sturdier than a traditional plastic or paper bag and can hold more goods, and can also be used to store items or to haul your kiddo’s things around. Even if you don’t use canvas bags, reusing plastic bags is a great way to live more eco-friendly. You can use your plastic bags in small garbage cans throughout your home, or recycle your used grocery bag. Even a small change can make a huge difference!
Borrow Instead of Buy
Why waste money on something that you can easily borrow? Borrow a formal one-time-wear outfit from a sibling or friend. Rent movies and books from your local library. Living green doesn’t mean you have to settle for less, many items that you find in a used-goods store are just as good as new at a very discounted price! By purchasing and using pre-owned items, you reduce those items that eventually end up in a landfill and save yourself money.
Make sure you set aside time to just enjoy nature this Earth Day. Go for a walk, head to the park, or just sit on your porch and appreciate the moment.
Let every Earth Day serve as a reminder to take greater care of our home planet. The time is now for citizens to call for greater global ambition to tackle our climate crisis. Unless every country in the world steps up – and steps up with urgency and ambition — we are consigning current and future generations to a bleak future.
The Earth is a truly marvelous place that provides all of us with life. As humans, we can surely do a better job taking care of it.