Happy Earth Day! Celebrated each year on April 22, Earth Day puts a spotlight on environmental issues, encourages us to explore sustainability, and reminds us to appreciate the world around us.
Earth Day is for everyone, of all ages, across the globe—regardless of our differences, we share this planet and must work together to preserve it. Wondering how you can do your part? We’ve put together eight activities for Earth Day celebration, many of which can be worked right into your daily routine. These suggestions can be done while reflecting on what access to clean air, water, and land means to us, as well as further steps we can take toward sustainability throughout the year.
Spend the day making conscious choices about your energy usage. Instead of flipping on unnecessary lights and frequently checking your phone, try to avoid using non-essential appliances and devices.
You can also reduce your carbon footprint today by avoiding unnecessary and/or solo travel. To get to work, try carpooling with colleagues, or riding your bike rather than driving.
One of our favorite ways to appreciate nature: hitting the trails. Visit a favorite trail, lake, or nature preserve for a hike of your choice—from a family-friendly jaunt or walk with the dog to a more challenging trek.
No time for a hike? You can still get some fresh air! If the weather is clear in your area, take in the sunset this evening, or step outside tonight and spend a few minutes stargazing.
Whether at home, on the trails, or just on your lunch hour, set aside a few minutes to simply sit outside and appreciate the world around you. (Psst, our folding bag chairs are great to keep stashed in your trunk for this!) Find a quiet spot to relax, listen to the sounds around you, and connect with nature.
Appreciating the planet doesn’t require an all-day outing. Sit-down meals are a great opportunity to connect with your family and friends—and with nature, as well. Pick up some nutritious, locally grown food from a nearby farm or market, if possible, and plan an al fresco dinner. It doesn’t need to be fancy—look for things that can be tossed on the grill, allowing you to spend the entire evening outside together.
GCI Tip: Cooking outdoors doesn’t have to be chaotic! For camping and backyard barbecuing, a one-piece camp kitchen like the Slim-Fold Cook Station™ keeps everything you need organized and at your fingertips.
One of the most popular Earth Day group activities, clean-ups at beaches, parks, and rivers are typically coordinated by local organizations. Join up with a group, or go it alone at your favorite spot. Just grab a pair of gloves and a few heavy-duty bags (designating one for recyclables). You could even pick up trash that you see while taking a stroll through your own neighborhood.
Gardening is both a rewarding activity and an eco-friendly way to use your outdoor space. If you’re new to gardening or tight on space, start with a single square foot of land—which can grow much more than you might think! Visit a local garden center and look for pollinator-friendly plants that are native to your area. If you’ve already started a garden, Earth Day is a great time to make a sustainable addition to it, such as a compost bin for your kitchen scraps or a rain barrel for collecting and re-using rainwater.
Birdwatching is a peaceful activity that can bring a little of the wild to your backyard. Invite feathered friends your way by hanging up a bird feeder. Before purchasing one, however, check your recycling bin—feeders can be made from a variety of items we typically dispose of, including cardboard tubes, milk jugs, and aluminum cans. (Otherwise, you can buy one locally or put in a custom request with a woodworker or crafter in your area.) With a little effort, a little patience, and a lot of bird seed, your backyard can soon feel like a wildlife sanctuary.
You were going to do it anyway, so why not today? Clean out your closet and cupboards, looking for items such as gently used clothing or old magazines that are ready for a second life or a second home.
If you’re not the crafty type, join a community “freecycle” group or plan a yard sale for this weekend. Go the extra mile by donating your tag sale proceeds to a local environmental organization, or use the funds towards a sustainable purchase for your home—see the next section for ideas!
Small changes can add up to big improvements—and Earth Day is the perfect time to make a smart swap. This year, choose one item to upgrade to a more sustainable or eco-friendly option. For example, by switching from plastic grocery bags to reusable bags, or from plastic water bottles to a reusable bottle, you can help prevent excess plastic from going to landfills and harming wildlife. On a larger scale, you could replace your home’s lightbulbs with CFLs or LEDs, or pick one older appliance to replace with a more efficient, ENERGY STAR model.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Even if you can’t get to any of these Earth Day outdoor activities today, it’s still a great time to reflect on what you most appreciate in the great outdoors, and to commit to spending more time outside in the coming months. Plan that camping trip or set up your backyard oasis, and keep the momentum going. By spending more time outdoors—whether it’s in the backyard, at the campground, or at a national park or nature preserve—we can help the environment (and environmental issues) remain in focus year-round.