Earth Day – Our Annual Reminder to Treat Mother Nature with TLC
On April 22, 1970, concerned citizens of the world united in protest of pollution, pesticides, and the damage being done to the Earth’s air, land, and water. They made signs and marched, demanding action from lawmakers to reverse the dangerous by-products of modern industrial practices. The first Earth Day was a watershed moment for the world, and especially for the U.S. Then-President Nixon and the U.S. Congress instituted the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other measures intended to protect the environment – all within the year.
Earth Day is now a global, annual event. The Earth Day Network estimates that this year more than 1 billion people in nearly 200 countries will participate in “the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.”
If you want to be a part of this worldwide celebration of our planet, there are lots of options. You can join a group to plant trees or clean up a stream, take political action by meeting with lawmakers, or serve as part of a clean-up crew in your community to pick up litter or as part of a neighborhood recycling drive. You can also make your mark in singular, but no less significant ways, by pledging to tread lightly on the earth, and doing what you’re able to reduce your impact in terms of trash and natural resources.
Easy Ways to Make a Difference on Earth Day and Year-Round
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – The three “Rs” are easy to remember, and they make good economic sense too. Reducing the resources you consume, reusing and repurposing items rather buying new each time, and recycling as much as you can has a big impact on the amount of material that ends up in a landfill.
- Save energy and resources at home – Turn down your heat or air conditioning a bit and add/remove a layer to stay comfortable. Swap out your light bulbs for a longer-lasting LED bulbs. Don’t let the tap water run while doing dishes, preparing food, or brushing your teeth. These small but significant actions add up to major change.
- Reduce the amount of paper waste you generate – Signing up for electronic updates for bank statements and investment notices, subscribing to the electronic version of your local newspaper, and unsubscribing from mailing lists can eliminate a lot of paper waste. Recycle as much paper as you can, but remember to shred items with personal or financial information before recycling.
- Recycle electronic equipment, batteries, Christmas lights and other hazardous materials at a local recycling center. This one takes a little more effort, since most recycling centers have strict guidelines about what they will accept and when.
- Use mass transit when you can – Taking the bus or other mass transit reduces pollution (and lets you relax while you ride.)
- Buy local, bring your own bags, buy only what you need – Americans waste a tremendous amount of food each year, usually because we buy too much in the first place. Save money and precious resources by buying just what you need, buying local products when you can, and using cloth or other reusable bags to bring your groceries home.
Earth Day Activities to do with Kids
Get your grandkids in the eco-act by including them in your Earth Day activities:
- Adopt a tree, part of a park, or a stretch of beach, and invite them to help you take care of it – weeding, removing litter or whatever else you can do to keep your little piece of the Earth healthy and thriving.
- Create a “wonder table” in your home and invite your grandkids to look for natural wonders like shells, leaves, stones and other finds to display.
- Start seeds inside to get ready for warm weather planting
- An egg carton makes a great seed starter. Cut the carton in half and fill the individual egg cups with potting soil
- Poke one seed into each cup and make sure it’s covered with potting soil
- Use a spray bottle to get the soil damp, put it on a waterproof tray, and place near a warm, sunny window
- Get the grandkids to help transfer seedlings to a garden or other outdoor location when they’re ready
Get Outside and Be Amazed
Just being present in nature and paying attention to the world’s natural beauty is a lovely way to honor the Earth. Look for magic in the stars, in the spread of tree branches, in the smell of grass and flowers, or the sound of a lake lapping at the shore. Go for a walk with family or friends and share your feelings about being connected to nature. Try to see your natural environment with new eyes and be amazed at what you see.
Other Ways to Love your Mother (Earth)!
There are so many ways to celebrate Earth Day and every day just by being mindful of our impact on the planet. Whether you participate in a group event, lobby for change in a law, or commit to recycling just a little more than before, you’ll make a significant difference that will have a lasting positive impact on Mother Earth.