How Does One Celebrate Earth Day?
Today is Earth Day. So we’re supposed to go forth and save the planet. Unlike other holidays and awareness days, its kind of difficult to know what you’re supposed to be doing. On Halloween, you go trick-or-treating. On Valentine’s Day, you buy cards and stale chocolate. For heart disease awareness in women, you wear red. You can’t wear green, that’s for St. Patrick’s Day.
Novelty aside, its tough to know how you can make a difference, and to know if you’re actually making a difference. NBC just suggested that I brush my teeth without running the faucet. How does that save the earth? Not being silly, just trying to understand the impact.
What is Earth Day?
According to my favorite website for insight on any issue, Wikipedia defines and describes Earth Day as:
Earth Day, celebrated April 22, is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. It is held annually during both spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year.
Okay. How does one inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment?
Since green is the new black, the media will give you lots of ideas, likely overwhelming you with multiple and conflicting ideas on “celebrating” Earth Day.
Wikihow gives some advice for the environmentally-challenged on how to celebrate this auspicious occasion. Below are some that are actually doable - minus the suggestions to sing earth songs, hold an Earth Day Fair, cook an Earth Day meal, and buy carbon offsets.
Plant trees. As the date also roughly coincides with U.S. Arbor Day, over time Earth Day has taken on the role of tree-planting. Planting trees helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean pollution, secure soil in place to prevent erosion, and provide homes for a lot of biodiversity.
Learn more about the environment. Earth Day is a good time to make a commitment to learning more about the environment and how you can help to protect it. Borrow some library books and read up on an issue such as pollution, endangered species, water shortages, recycling, and climate change. Or, learn about a region you’ve never considered before, like the Arctic, the deserts, or the rainforests. Think about the issues that concern you the most and if you haven’t done so already, join a local group that undertakes activities to help protect the environment in your area.
Reduce, reuse and recycle all day long. Buy as little as possible and avoid items that come in lots of packaging. Support local growers and producers of food and products – these don’t have to travel as far and so reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Take your drink container with you, and don’t use any disposable plates or cutlery. Recycle all the things you do use for the day or find other uses for things that you no longer use. Carry a cloth bag for carrying things in and recycle your plastic bags.
Rid litter. Rid litter from our roadways. Many groups use the weekend of Earth Day to clear roadways, highways and neighborhood streets of litter that has accumulated since the last clean-up day. Many companies donate gloves and bags for clean-up groups and villages organize bag pick ups. Once the group has collected the trash and placed the recycled bags along the road, get the village public works department to pick the bags up. It’s a wonderful community project. Great for scout troops, rotary clubs and the like.
Happy Earth Day!