Earth Day was started in 1970 to support and protect our planet. In 1990, Earth Day became a global event, with 200 million people in 141 countries taking part in the celebration. There are lots of fun and easy ways to celebrate Earth Day that can have a meaningful impact on the health of the Earth—not just on Earth Day, but all year long.
Here is an activity guide to help you get out and enjoy Earth Day:
- Plant something. Try bringing more plants inside your home. Studies show that many plants scrub pollutants from the air and help to provide your indoors with much-needed oxygen.[i] Even the smallest apartments or tiny homes have nooks where you can put plants. But don’t stop there—get outside and plant trees, flowers, or a vegetable garden on your property. You can also look for nonprofits that plant trees in cities or forests and join them for an event.
- Get outside. The choices are endless when you step out your front door. We often forget what it is like to walk among trees or how good the soil smells when working in the garden. Try going for a hike, bike ride, walk, or run.
- Help wild animals. While there has been some debate over the last few years, nonprofits like the Audubon Society suggest it is a great idea to feed wild birds. It is also especially important to provide them with water during the winter and dry seasons (and even more so during droughts). Bird feeders do need to be cleaned from time to time to help prevent the spread of bacteria among the birds that feed there. You can also help wild animals by supporting nonprofits that support animals. Consider donating to or volunteering with your favorite group.
- Leave your car in the garage. The cars we drive are one of our biggest impacts on the environment. Even people who purchase electric cars can help the environment by keeping their car in the garage a day or two each week. Try using public transportation, walking, or riding a bike.
- Improve energy use: You can reduce your energy use by simply caulking around doors and windows, or make a bigger commitment by installing solar on your roof. Unplug appliances, video game consoles, and old DVD players that are not in use (they drain energy even when they are not turned on). Your air-conditioner/heater uses the most energy in your home, followed by the hot water heater, refrigerator(s), lighting, and televisions/home entertainment units. You can adopt different strategies to reduce energy use depending on the situation. For example, consider buying the most energy-efficient appliance you can afford when you need to upgrade.
- Take a break from TV. Taking a break from television may not only reduce your energy use (see above), but it can also help you to get outside and enjoy the day.
- Volunteer. The world needs you to help maintain and restore the natural environment. Many beaches schedule cleanup days on Earth Day. If your favorite spot does not have an activity, organize one. Plant trees, fix trails, repair old homes.
- Make a year-long commitment. Use Earth Day as a beginning to make a year-long commitment to some part of the environment. Use less energy, walk to work, eat more vegetables, or support worthy causes.
[i] Wolverton BC, Johnson A, Bounds K. Interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement.
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