The first Earth Day (called May Day at the time) was held in 1970 in the US and it’s often considered the start of the modern environmental movement.
Since that initial march against environmental destruction, Earth Day has evolved into a globally celebrated event, with festivities occurring in more than 200 countries.
In its simplest form, it’s a day for people to step back, take a deep breath and appreciate Earth in all its splendor. But for many people Earth Day holds the potential to ignite broad environmental action.
As an internationally recognized holiday, Earth Day is guaranteed to attract the attention of an enormous amount of people. So figuring out how to harness and activate that attention toward sustained action is something activists work hard on.
Be on the lookout for all the environmental groups spreading awareness on April 22nd--they’ll have good advice! But in your free time, celebrate Earth Day by making a few easy changes the Earth will appreciate.
1) Get a recyclable water bottle
The US alone consumes 50 billion plastic water bottles annually. Most of these bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills, in oceans and elsewhere, which harms organisms and the environment. Just creating these bottles uses 17 million barrels of gasoline, which would be enough to power 1.3 million cars for a year. Even more energy is then spent transporting water bottles and then recycling them.
Ending society’s addiction to unnecessary water bottles would be greatly appreciated by Earth.
You can start your transition to an eco-friendly reusable bottle on Earth Day. Here are a few good list to choose from.
2) Start composting
Earth is the ultimate recycler--it reuses everything that it creates with a little help from the Sun. And everything that lives on the planet is cool with this system of recycling--everything except humans.
Humans are the only things that willfully don’t recycle what they create and use. And that means that a lot of nourishing substances that would otherwise feed wildlife and help it flourish end up in landfills or on strips of asphalt or somewhere else.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. 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 in your backyard or, if you’re a city slicker, store all your vegetable, fruit, and other natural scraps in a plastic bag in your freezer and then dump it when full at a compost collecting place.
3) Plant a garden
Plant some flowers and get a beautifully fragrant garden. And then plant some vegetables and get all the produce you need. Here’s a guide to starting a garden.
If you live in the city, check out this starter guide.
4) Buy a tree certificate
Trees are amazing. But humans relentlessly chop and burn them down. So this Earth Day buy a certificate from Stand for Trees to protect a batch of trees somewhere in the world that’s at risk of deforestation.
5) Build a birdhouse or start a bee farm
Building a birdhouse is definitely the easier option here. All you’ll need is a couple pieces of wood for birds to stand on and a place to put bird feed.
Starting a bee farm is more complex. But here’s a handy guide that will help you beat back the decline of bees around the world.
6) Make your home energy efficient
Houses consume a lot of energy for electricity and heating. In fact, 40% of the energy consumed in the US goes to residential and commercial buildings. For the world to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, everyone would have to consume a set amount of energy annually. The average US household surpasses that amount in 2 weeks.
Fortunately, there are many simple ways to cut down on this energy consumption.
From improving insulation to using LED lights to getting a water heater, improving a house’s energy efficiency both helps the environment and saves you a lot of money in the long-run. Here are a few pro tips.
7) Become a better grocery shopper
First, get a reusable grocery bag to limit all the plastic produced in the world.
Then try to buy fresh foods that you can carry in reusable containers. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables don’t come prepackaged. 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.
Finally, try to buy local, ethical and environmentally sustainable products. If you can't go local, go ethical and sustainable.
8) Enjoy nature!
Make sure you set aside a lot of time to enjoy nature this Earth Day. Go for a hike, head to the beach or just sit in a park and appreciate the moment.
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.