I appreciate the idea that Earth Day should be every day, but as the official holiday approaches on April 22, this year I’m trying to do my part not to dismiss the celebration as a token. Here’s to using Earth Day as an opportunity to increase environmental and climate change literacy, put some Earth-friendliness into practice, and step up our personal commitments to living a little more lightly on the planet. Here are some ideas for places to start:
Cut back on your trash, two ways.
+ This is the week to finally work up the nerve to bring you own container into your favorite lunch spot and ask them to fill it up. Promise, it’s not so scary.
+ Continue your plastic-free grocery shopping habits. This week, focus on saying no to anything that comes in a plastic clamshell.
Plant something green, two ways.
+ Plant a tree: good for shade, good for animals, good for fresh air, good for the Earth.
+ No place to plant a tree on your own? Donate to the Canopy Project—an initiative to plant 7.8 billion trees globally before 2020.
Reduce your reliance on fossil fuels, two ways.
+ All energy isn’t created equal. If you haven’t already, sign up for clean energy so that you know yours is coming from a sustainable source.
+ If you have the local options, make an effort to include public transit in your weekly travel plans. If you don’t have nearby options, consider calling your local officials to see what plans might be in the works.
Save water, two ways.
+ Fill a glass bottle with water and put it into your toilet tank. The displaced water means your toilet will use less water with every flush.
+ Donate to provide places like Flint, Michigan with the filters they (still) need for basic access to clean, safe water.
Conserve electricity, two ways.
+ Warm weather is approaching, think carefully about when you turn on your A/C and whether you leave it on when you leave the house.
+ Surge protectors don’t just save your electronics from electrical surges, they come with a switch that can be turned off, which means that plugging a number of devices into one and turning the whole thing off when it’s not in use will cut down on phantom energy pulls.
Eat green, two ways.
+ Swap your avocado toast for toast with pea shoots (or another locally grown veg). (Here are a few reasons why you might consider the swap.)
+ Support your local farmers and plan an Earth Day trip to a weekend farmer’s market.
Have a conversation, two ways.
+ Education is the greatest tool we have to protect the planet. Start a conversation with family and friends about the realities of climate change and what we can do to combat it.
+ If striking up your own conversation proves daunting, look up local Earth Day meet-ups and have someone else do the talking for you.
Enjoy the planet, two ways:
+ Pack up dinner, tote along a blanket, and eat dinner outside. Lay on your back for ten whole minutes and watch the clouds.
+ Look up a local Earth Day events and attend a concert, join a clean up crew, or otherwise volunteer and support local environmental organizations; love your neighbors and your planet.