The world has celebrated Earth Day every April 22nd for over 50 years. This global celebration is a chance for individuals and communities to do their part to help restore our Earth, but protecting the planet takes more than just one day of action. Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate Earth Day all year long.
Ditch Single-Use Plastics
Not only do plastics find their way into the natural environment at astoundingly high rates, but their toxic chemicals find their way into our bodies and our food. The world is drowning in plastic, and plastic production is expected to keep growing over the next 30 years. You can help slow that growth by making easy everyday switches: use reusable grocery bags, invest in a stainless steel or glass water bottle, carry reusable cutlery with you, skip the plastic straw, and switch to shampoo and conditioner bars. You can find more plastic-free ideas here.
Avoid Products with Toxic Chemicals
Synthetic chemicals, like those found in personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners, are like poison to the earth. Most cannot be broken down naturally, so they persist in the environment forever. These chemicals are also often known carcinogens and hormone disruptors, making them a lose-lose for the earth and for your body. Reduce these synthetic chemicals by switching to natural cleaning products, buying organic foods, and supporting brands that are chemical-free.
Compost at Home
Food waste is a huge contributor to climate change because it emits methane (a greenhouse gas) as it breaks down in landfills. You can reduce these emissions (and create super healthy soil) by composting your food waste at home. Simply layer your organic waste, like vegetable scraps, garden clippings, dry leaves and coffee grounds, in an aerated bin. Keep the pile wet and mix the layers weekly.
Green Your Diet
Reducing your meat consumption and being “imperfectly vegan” is one of the best things you can do to lower carbon emissions. Animal agriculture accounts for 18% of carbon emissions across the globe, and has negative impacts on soil, water, and biodiversity loss. Try out some plant-based recipes a few times per week and you could reduce your carbon emissions by almost half a ton each year. Learn more here.
Explore Educational Resources
Education is a critical part of protecting the planet. You can’t protect against what you don’t know, so it’s important to keep learning about new issues, trends, and solutions. It’s also important to make sure you are receiving information from diverse sources, as the solutions to the earth’s biggest problems must be intersectional.
Get Involved in Your Community and Beyond
Never underestimate the power of your community or your vote. Much of environmental policy and protection is done on a local level, so a group of informed citizens can make a huge difference. Organize cleanups, join a local environmental group, write letters to your representatives, and vote for environmentally-minded politicians at every level.
While solving our planet’s biggest problems will take unprecedented global cooperation from corporations, governments, and individuals, taking small actions every day can still have a large impact. How will you celebrate Earth Day all year long? Share with us on Twitter and Instagram!