This year on April 22nd is Earth Day – a day dedicated to sustainable living, community engagement, and making our world a better place for everyone on it. From beach cleanups to trash audits, and everything in between, there are a ton of ways you can celebrate Earth Day with your family, friends, and community. Join us as we dive into 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day!
Restore Our Earth
Each year the Earth Day Network, the non-profit organization that founded Earth Day over 50 years ago, assigns Earth Day a specific theme – each one designed to bring the community together around a common goal. This year the theme is “Restore Our Earth”, which focuses on five tangible paths towards global sustainability beyond greenhouse gas mitigation. These five pillars of the Restore Our Earth are: reforestation, food and the environment, plastic pollution cleanups, climate literacy, and science-backed education and activism. When combined, they give us as community members the power to fight climate change and environmental destruction.
See our picks for 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day below!
1: Plant a Tree
To support the pillar of reforestation, we’re gonna kick off the list with planting trees! Groups like Trees for the Future and Eden Reforestation Projects are amazing non-profits that you can donate to – and with that donation, they’ll plant trees in your honor. They ensure that the trees they plant benefit and give back to the local communities they are planted in as well! If you want to take it a step further, plant a tree in your own backyard or community. This is an amazing activity for your family to come together around – and will help sequester carbon as the tree matures!
2: Grow a Garden
Save money, reduce community food scarcity, and learn a new skill when you grow a garden! Research what fruits and veggies will grow well in your climate and in the space you have access to, and get to work. If you have an apartment, you may opt for herbs grown indoors – but if you have access to a backyard or community garden space, the sky is the limit! Growing your own food also helps to reduce the environmental impact and cost of food transportation, and if grown outside, supports pollinators like bees.
3: Start a Community Cleanup
Launching a community plastic and trash cleanup can be an amazing way to get involved this Earth Day, as well as safely connect with eco-minded individuals in your area. Simply find an area that has lots of litter (oceans, waterways, and shorelines are a great place to start!), post to your community, and collect trash. Want to do a cleanup on a smaller scale? Just simply go on a walk, bring a trash bag and gloves, and pick up what you find. You’ll get fresh air and exercise – and clean up our beautiful planet.
4: Swap Out Single-Use
Another great way to make a difference in your own household for Earth Day is to swap out any single use items that may be in your home! We recommend you start by doing a trash audit – this means looking at what you’re throwing out, and analyzing what could be replaced with something reusable (or even recyclable/ compostable). Some common swap-outs include plastic water bottles, plastic bags, face cotton rounds and Q-tips, single-use straws, and plastic-packaged personal care products. Investing in a reusable version of things you throw out often will make big difference in your overall carbon footprint, and reduce the amount of trash going into our landfills.
5: Try Thrifting
Love fashion, but don’t love the impact it has on the planet? Go thrifting this Earth Month! Did you know the fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries behind the oil industry? Thrifting and shopping secondhand is a great way to help reduce clothing waste and benefit your community. Not to mention you can score some pretty sweet deals!
6: Rethink Your Grocery Routine
What does your grocery routine look like? Earth Month is an amazing opportunity to rethink it! Investing in reusable shopping bags and reusable produce bags is a great place to start. For produce, see if you have a farmer’s market nearby – that way you can benefit local farmers in your community. Research if you have access to a bulk store, and bring your own containers to fill with common bulk items like grains and spices! By making subtle changes in your grocery routine, you can save money, reduce waste, and support local businesses and farmers.
7: Try Composting
Want to reduce your food waste even more? Try composting! When we throw our food waste into landfills, it actually emits a greenhouse gas called methane. By composting these foods and organics instead, the greenhouse gases being emitted are significantly decreased. If you have access to an industrial compost facility, we would start there – but backyard composting or vermicomposting are amazing options as well. Find out what works for your lifestyle!
8: Switch to Paperless
Our next tip is one that may slip people’s minds: if you can, change your paper bills and utilities to digital instead. Paper bills and mail make up a large portion of waste in U.S landfills, and are sometimes only looked at or used for a few moments. If every American household switched to paying their bills online, it could reduce the amount of solid waste in U.S landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year and help decrease the amount of greenhouse gases by 2.1 million tons. This could save an estimated 18.5 MILLION trees a year! In a world that is almost entirely paperless as it is, it makes a ton of sense to reduce your paper waste and go digital if you can. Bonus tip: you can also reduce junk mail and catalogs! Check what is coming into your mailbox, reach out to the companies, and ask to be removed from their mailing list.
9: Spend Time on Education
An important part of the Restore Our Earth campaign is to promote climate literacy and community education. One of our biggest strengths in the fight against climate change and global warming is knowledge! As new science, documentaries, and knowledge is found, it is important to stay up to date and educated. There are some great documentaries available, some on Netflix – including Down to Earth, and David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. There are also great books you can find, YouTube videos, and so much more. These are just a few of the options out there – so take advantage of your resources and educate yourself! Check out the EarthHero Library for some of our resources as well!
10: Read Labels
Last but not least, read the labels on the products you are purchasing! Being actively conscious of the products and companies you choose to support is a great way to become more eco-friendly, and shift the markets towards more sustainable products as a whole. Look for third-party certifications, ethically sourced products, clean ingredients, and things that are durable, reusable, and high-quality. Supporting brands that do better will not only make your life more sustainable, but support local businesses and promote an eco-friendly economy.
We love Earth Day, and are celebrating all month long! There are so many ways to be an advocate for our planet – these are just 10 of our favorites. Connect with your friends, family, and community, and pick what works for your lifestyle. When we work together on common sustainability goals, we can achieve so much! How will you be celebrating Earth Day? Let us know in the comments!