Earth Day is around the corner—it’s on Friday, April 22nd this year—and while it would be amazing if we all respected and honored earth every day of the year, sometimes we need a little reminder to focus on our environment and do what is best for the future of our planet. After all, we know that life can get hectic, and sometimes you go for solutions that are simple and convenient instead of actions that are environmentally conscious and responsible. It’s OK. But Earth Day is your chance to partake in Earth Day activities, make a change, both for you, your current world, and the future of the planet that your children will live in. And while it might not always seem like it, little changes can make a big difference.
Read Related: Mother of Mothers: The Origins of Earth Day
Earth Day started 46 years ago, in 1970, with a movement that “gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues.” The mission of Earth Day was, and continues to be, to “build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations.” And while Earth Day movements and events have certainly led to environmental progress over the years, there is still so much work to be done. Climate change is an undeniable threat to our world, and we need to make sure we not only take action to protect our planet but also educate future generations about these issues. And there’s no better time to start than now, with Earth Day, and with your loved ones. Here are 8 little things you can do to make this years’ Earth Day more meaningful for you and for our environment. Smalls steps can create monumental change, and there’s always more we can do.
1. Recycle (or drink water from a glass)
According to DoSomething.org, “the average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.” And of that trash, about 75% is recyclable, but most of it is never recycled. Those are some scary stats, but luckily they are stats that can be changed when we all commit to a recycling plan to tackle this issue. It’s as simple as recycling all your plastic bottles, cans, glass containers and reusable jars. And if you honestly don’t think you can commit to recycling your goods, simply don’t use them. Drink glasses of water instead of single-serving bottles and store food in reusable Tupperware instead of disposable plastic containers.
2. Stop Wasting Water
Instead of letting your water run while you wait for the shower to heat up, or keeping your faucet on while you brush your teeth, stop wasting water and remember that drinkable water on planet Earth is running out. Fix leaky faucets, cherish every drop of clean water you have, and teach your kids to do the same.
3. Start a Carpool Crew
We can combat climate change by reducing the harmful emissions released by automobiles, and it starts with you. Get together with friends and start a carpool group to drive your kids to school and after school activities. It seems like a minor adjustment to your day, but if everyone did it the results would be hugely beneficial.
4. Shop for Locally Sourced Produce
Support local farmers and business by shopping for locally sourced produce. You can attend farmer’s markets and fruit stands to grab fruits and veggies that are fresh and from your own hood. Plus you’ll teach your kids the importance of eating nutritious, fresh foods.
5. Teach your Kids about Being Kind to the Environment
Speaking of teaching your kids, they’re never too young to understand the value of the world around them. Encourage them to learn about nature, spend time outside and respect their surroundings. Older kids can even participate in conversations about climate change and the future of the planet, and you can collectively come up with ways that you can help. They’ll feel empowered to make a positive change in their world, and they are the future of change, so it’s never too early to get them educated and involved.
6. Attend a Local Earth Day Event
Chances are your community has local events to celebrate Earth Day and educate people of all ages on these environmental efforts. Check out what is going on in your neighborhood and support those local campaigns.
7. Plant a Garden or Tree
Get outside and get a little greener as a family by planting a tree or growing a garden together. Deforestation is a real problem—about 18 million acres of forest are lost each year, and eve if you don’t think that affects you, it does. Less trees directly impacts the global greenhouse gas emissions, so to combat those changes the world needs more trees. Plant more trees around your home, encourage your children’s schools to plant trees and teach kids about why the world needs trees.
8. Organize a Community Cleanup
And if you’re not happy with the Earth Day activities going on around you, make your own. You can schedule a cleanup effort in your own backyard. Gather a group of friends, families and neighbors and get outside to tidy up the environment. You can pick up trash at a local park, cleanup a local beach, or improve your kids’ school.