Earth Day is a global event and an environmental movement recognized by more than 192 countries. The first Earth Day celebration took place April 22, 1970. Earth Day’s 2018 theme is “End Plastic Pollution.”
April 22 is a special day devoted to showing how we care about the future of our planet, but you don’t have to wait for Earth Day to show your love. Here are 10 ways to celebrate the planet we call home all year round.
1. Invest in a Reusable Coffee Cup and Water Bottle
Like any other parent, my day doesn’t really start until I have a cup of coffee in hand. Single-use cups, bottles and plastics threaten the health of our planet. In response, Earth Day Network is launching a global campaign to build a post-single-use-plastics world. Consider purchasing reusable containers. Some coffee shops give you a discount for bringing your own cup, so you can save some money while saving the planet, too.
2. BYO Grocery Bags
Keeping reusable grocery bags in the car at all times is the easiest way to remember to bring them to the store. Reusable bags often can be found at the checkout in grocery stores, and many other retailers. They often feature fun designs and can fold up really small, making Earth-friendly shopping easy and convenient.
3. Pay Bills Online
Switch to electronic bills and statements to save trees and time. According to the PayItGreen Alliance, switching bills and statements to electronic delivery and paying bills online will save your household six pounds of paper, 23 pounds of wood and avoid 29 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
4. Go Solar to Charge Your Personal Devices
Plugging in personal devices to recharge at every opportunity is a common habit, but it costs money and the environment to do so. Small, solar-powered charging devices are available for about $20. Switching your phone, laptop or tablet to solar power can save a lot of money and put you on the frontline of personal renewable energy.
5. Recycle E-Waste
Everyone jumps to sign up for the latest electronic device, but what do you do with your outdated and unused electronics? Electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream in the world, suggests the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn where to locally recycle your used electronics by going to epa.gov/recycle to locate a responsible e-waste recycler in your area.
6. Disconnect to Connect
Once a week, try going without electronics for a designated amount of time. This means no TV, playing on phones, or using computers or tablets. It encourages quality time like lingering over a big breakfast, playing board games, and enjoying outdoor play together. Disconnecting from electronics gives everyone the gentle push needed to connect with friends, family and nature.
7. Use Earth-Friendly Cleaning Products
You can get your home just as clean and germ-free without the caustic smell of chemicals. You probably have the components to make your own cleaning solution in your kitchen right now. Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean countertops and floors. Bonus: it’s gentle enough for hardwood floors. For really tough-to-clean areas like shower walls, warm the solution in the microwave, generously spray shower walls, let stand 15 minutes, and then scrub and rinse.
Furthermore, rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol also works wonders as a glass, window and mirror cleaner. Homemade glass cleaner is 1 cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
8. Host an Eco-Swap
Someone’s “to donate” pile is another’s treasure trove. Give stuff (like clothes your kids have outgrown) to a friend who could really use it. That way, you get to see the kids wear the hand-me-downs, too. Gather friends and neighbors for an old-fashioned community swap. Everyone brings a bag or two of stuff (like clothes, toys and knick-knackery), then you “shop” and go home with a few bags of items new to you in exchange. Everybody wins.
9. Meatless Mondays: Go Vegetarian Once a Week
You can still be a meat and potatoes family, but consider taking advantage of all the delicious vegetarian recipes and mouth-watering meat alternatives just once a week. The negative impact meat has on the environment is staggering. Raising animals for food requires an exorbitant amount of land, food, energy and water. The Worldwatch Institute reports 51 percent or more of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture.
10. Introduce Your Kids to the Importance of Protecting the Earth
Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” which chronicles the plight of the environment, is not only a childhood favorite, but sends a really important message. The Lorax speaks for the trees against the Once-ler. (See what Dr. Seuss did right there?) You also can find “The Lorax” movie with a great cast of voices, including Danny DeVito as the Lorax, Ed Helms as the Once-ler, Zac Efron as Ted, and even featuring Taylor Swift. The book and movie are entertaining for kids and adults alike.