Earth Day is a yearly event that is celebrated on April 22nd. The goal of Earth Day is to make people more aware of the environment and to take action in order to protect it. This day was first celebrated in 1970, by US Senator Gaylord Nelson after he watched the documentary “Silent Spring,” and it has been held annually since then. Interestingly, to this day, the first Earth Day remains the largest one-day protest in human history with 20 million people participating.
In recent years, the number of participants of Earth Day events has increased significantly and has spread to the entire month of April for Earth Month. The event is now observed in more than 192 countries every year with over one billion participants annually. It’s also a time when many organizations and governments announce new initiatives for environmental protection.
The most popular ways to celebrate Earth Day are by organizing events such as tree plantings, trash pick-ups, rallies or marches for environmental protection, giving speeches about environmental issues, or just by doing something good for your local area like volunteering.
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Why are Earth Day and Earth Month important?
While the idea behind Earth Day and Earth Month is pretty straightforward – bringing more awareness to the environment is now more critical than ever. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently said that the globe is almost certain to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels. Despite 1.5 degrees seeming fairly trivial, it will have profound impacts across the planet. If we don’t make meaningful, coordinated efforts now to curb our emissions we will see even higher temperatures and more dramatic outcomes.
One interesting statistic is Earth Overshoot Day which is the day each year when we use more resources than the Earth can provide and replenish within that year. In 2021, Earth Overshoot Day was July 29th. It is crazy to me to think that not even seven months into the year we had already used more resources than could be regenerated.
15 Ways to Celebrate Earth Month in Your Community
Earth Month is a time to celebrate our planet and all the life it supports. Whether you’re an individual, school, business, or organization, there are many ways to get involved and make a difference.
1) Recycle – Reduce your waste by recycling and composting what you can.
2) Plant a tree – Planting trees helps reduce air pollution in urban areas.
3) Volunteer – Help out at your local conservation area or help clean up the beach with your friends.
4) Buy local products – Buying locally grown produce helps reduce the amount of food that needs to be transported over long distances.
5) Use reusable water bottles – Reusable water bottles are much better for the environment than plastic water bottles. You can use them over and over again.
6) Join a clean-up crew to pick up litter along your local roadways, neighborhoods, trails, creeks or rivers. You can just as easily do this on your own as well. If you’re taking a walk around your neighborhood or walking from your car to your office, pick up a piece or two of trash on the way.
7) Get involved with an environmental organization to spread awareness about issues related to climate change, recycling, water quality, etc., by doing presentations at schools, public events, etc., or by writing letters to government officials on behalf of the organization you work for (i.e., Sierra Club).
8) Reduce your carbon footprint by walking, biking, or taking public transportation.
9) Reduce your use of plastic and other non-biodegradable products by swapping them for reusable alternatives such as canvas grocery bags, stainless steel water bottles, and reusable coffee cups.
10) Conserve energy in the home by turning off lights when you leave a room.
11) Just get out and enjoy nature. While this isn’t necessarily helping the environment directly, spending time in the nature around us is a great way to start to build an appreciation for our planet.
12) Pick an item you use in your daily life and swap it with a zero waste option.
13) Switch to using energy-saving light LED bulbs that last longer than incandescent bulbs and use a lot less energy. Not only does this save you money on your electric bill, it also means you’ll be sending fewer bulbs to the landfill reducing your waste footprint.
14) Unplug unused electronics. Even when not being used, electric devices can still use small amounts of power, wasting energy and hitting your pocket book in the process.
15) Plant a garden. Not a lot of space is needed for a garden and can even be done indoors giving you veggies or herbs for dinner while also improving the air quality around you.
16) Make the switch to a more eco friendly search engine. Ecosia uses their revenues to plant trees all over the world. Making this switch is a great way to be more eco-focused while doing something you already do every day.
17) Switch to renewable energy sources to power your home. You can work with your power supplier to make sure the energy that goes to your home comes from sources like solar or wind.
18) Make a commitment to reduce the amount of meat you eat. The meat industry is a large culprit in the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest and also a massive producer of methane, a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide. If you can make one day-a-week meatless, you can reduce the environmental impact of the food you eat by a substantial amount.
19) Say no to plastic grocery bags. Next time you go to the grocery store, grab some reusable bags and reduce the amount of plastic you bring home with you.
20) Instead of condemning your food scraps to a landfill and having them break down anaerobically producing methane, think about starting a compost bin. Not only does a compost bin allow your food waste to break down in a more sustainable way, it produces great plant food for your garden.
Earth Month is a time to celebrate and give back to our planet. It’s a time to appreciate all the natural beauty that surrounds us and do our part to help reduce pollution, waste and our overall footprint. It’s important to take a step back and understand the importance of the environment and our planet at large. Together we can make meaningful progress to reverse climate change and start giving back, eventually pushing the Overshoot day back instead of always pulling it forward.
There are many ways you can participate in Earth Month, from recycling more to planting a tree in your backyard to picking up trash you might see. Earth Day and Earth Month are great times to start working to build more sustainable and eco friendly habits – if you focus on one sustainable task a day you’ll start to do it without even thinking about it.
If nothing else, I hope these ideas will inspire you to find your own way to celebrate Earth Day and Earth Month. It is important for us all to find ways to reduce our impact on the environment, reduce our waste footprint and our carbon footprint, and work to restore our planet. There are so many ways that you can make a difference for our planet this Earth Month, so get creative and see what you can do!