There’s no planet B.
Beauty is truly all around us. Jagged snowcapped mountains tower over lush valleys. Rushing rivers cut through thick forests. Wild rainforests dot the earth, housing all kinds of plant and animal life. Waves crash on pristine beaches as tropical fish dart through colorful coral. Endless orange sand dunes meet clear blue skies in the heat of the desert.
Mother Earth truly has given us so much — a place to live, food to eat, air to breathe, beauty to enjoy. But we’ve got to take care of her in return, not only for ourselves but also for generations who will follow us.
And frankly, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
Forests are being chopped down, destroying natural habitats and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. 12.7 million tons of plastic waste are washed into the ocean every year, killing marine animals and threatening dozens of threatened species. Fossil fuels pollute the very air we breathe and contribute to global warming.
No matter which way you look at it, Mother Earth needs our help.
The good news? There’s plenty you can do. And Earth Day, April 22nd, is the perfect day to start showing the earth how much you care.
Small conscious decisions to live more environmentally friendly really add up. Anyone can make a difference. This Earth Day, consider celebrating the earth and taking better care of our planet in these ten simple ways.
1. Plant a Tree
Trees are absolutely essential to life. They filter the water we drink. They create the very air we breathe. They provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree. Whether it’s in your backyard or in a neighborhood park, it’ll definitely make a positive impact.
Don’t have much of a green thumb? No problem. Organizations like One Tree Planted will plant a tree for you with just a $1 donation! You can choose your tree species, choose where your tree will be planted, and even receive a certificate. (This also makes a great gift for an environmentally conscious friend!)
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It’s not just a snappy slogan. Reducing, reusing, and recycling can make a huge impact on the planet. Here are a few ideas on how you can make that saying your new mantra:
Cut back on your energy use. Use energy-saving lightbulbs and make the switch to clean energy. And no matter what, remember to turn off lights and appliances whenever they’re not in use.
Just say no to single-use plastics and other packaging. Use reusable straws, cloth grocery bags, metal utensils, reusable coffee cups, stainless steel water bottles, and so on. Purchase a few and keep them somewhere close, like in your car, at your office, and in your home. Then, use and reuse them often!
Always recycle paper and cardboard to reduce landfill waste and save trees. Avoid non-recyclable packaging, such as styrofoam. Whenever you do use plastic, make sure it ends up in the right bin once you’re finished with it. Learn more about common recyclables here.
3. Go Plastic-Free
Try going one entire day without using ANY plastic! It’s harder than it sounds, but it’ll be worth it. Going plastic-free for the day will help you cut down on waste and it’ll help you see how plastic really is everywhere. Replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. Say no to plastic grocery bags (including produce bags!). Eat at home instead of getting takeout. Bring a reusable cup to the coffee shop. Swap out plastic straws for stainless steel or bamboo straws. Spend the day thinking of ways you can reduce your plastic consumption long-term, too!
4. Ride Your Bike
Shake things up for your morning commute and leave the car in the garage. If you live close enough, ride your bike into the office or on your errands! Or walk. Or take public transport. Not only will it reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it’ll also help you get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Who knows — maybe you’ll end up turning it into a habit! (If none of those options work for you, carpooling is always a great way to conserve, too!)
5. Go Vegetarian For a Day
To celebrate Earth Day, say no to meat and yes to plants. Eating more plants can reduce global warming, save water, and reduce your ecological footprint. Try keeping your meals plant-based for the day, or at least go without meat for one meal. With so many great vegetarian- and vegan-friendly recipes out there, this can be a delicious way to celebrate!
6. Shop Local
Shopping is one of our favorite ways to celebrate any occasion! This Earth Day, make an effort to shop locally. Look for organic, locally grown produce and goods. Not only does shopping locally reduce environmental impact, but it also supports small businesses and helps them grow. Make sure to also keep an eye out for fair-trade, organic, sustainably sourced products whenever you shop.
7. Start a Vegetable Garden
Growing your own food is a surefire way to guarantee your food is organic, pesticide-free, and plastic-free. It’s a win-win for you AND the earth. Get your family or friends to help you out in planting an entire vegetable garden in your backyard. Carrots, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce, and green beans are all relatively easy to plant and grow. If you don’t have the time or space to plant an entire vegetable garden, pick up some decorative pots and plant some herbs near your kitchen sink. You’ll love having fresh basil and mint on hand!
Did you know that Earth Day is an international holiday, one that’s recognized around the world? That means no matter where you are, you’ll be able to find like-minded people looking to give back to Mother Earth. Participate in educating others about the environment, spreading awareness, cleaning up a local park, planting a community garden, or countless other organized events. It’s a great way to give back to your community and meet people. Head over to EarthDay.org to learn how you can participate in a local event.
9. Start composting
Earth is an amazing recycler. With the help of the sun, it puts everything it creates to good use.
But we humans tend to disrupt that process. A lot of nourishing substances that can serve to nourish wildlife or enrich soil often lend up in landfills. It’s about time we changed that! Composting biodegradable plants, foods, and other materials reduces waste and feeds the soil, plants, and other organisms. Composting might sound complicated, but it can really be quite simple. Just create a compost pile in your backyard. If you don’t have a yard, store your scraps in a plastic bag in your freezer, then take it to a compost collection center near you.
While Earth Day only comes around once a year, the best way you can show Mother Nature you care is by living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle year-round. As you celebrate Earth Day this year, consider what changes you can incorporate in order to live a greener, more sustainable life.
How will you be celebrating Earth Day this year? Let us know in the comments!