The most important date in the calendar for environmentalists this year is April 22 and if you’re looking for ways to go green for not just Earth Day but throughout the year, look no further, because Earth Day should be celebrated and remembered everyday.
Following Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, which discussed the negative impact of pesticides on the environment, people began being much more concerned about the environment, the modern environmental movement began, and Earth Day was created. Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day in 1970 as a way to promote awareness about the health of the environment. It was celebrated on April 22, and over 20 million Americans demonstrated across the nation. It became clear that the environment was a huge concern of many people, and in December of 1970 Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was tasked with repairing damage to the environment. Environmental protection is still as important today as it was over 40 years ago, and there are many ways you can get involved in Earth Day, which is still celebrated on April 22.
This is one annual celebration where you aren’t expected to splash the cash, dress in your finery and make a big song and dance about the occasion. Earth Day is the one day of the year when absolutely everyone should be environmentally conscious and many of the ways to go green for Earth Day are easy and actually very frugal, so there’s no reason everyone cannot participate and do their bit.
When you are looking to get involved in an important cause like Earth Day, it is important to educate yourself. There are many different issues surrounding the health of the environment that you can learn about, including pollution, endangered species, climate change, water shortages, water pollution, and recycling. Learning about a few of these issues will help you be informed. It will also help you find something you are passionate about and would like to get involved in.
Aside from educating yourself, a great way to get involved in Earth Day is to recycle. If you don’t already recycle Earth Day is the perfect day to start recycling. When you do start recycling, remember that you can recycle many more things than just cans. Paper products, glass containers, and some plastic items can even be recycled. Different recycling companies accept different products. So, call your local recycling company to find out what you can recycle. You may be surprised at how many different things you can recycle.
One of the best ways to contribute to Earth Day is to start your own compost heap at home – you can even put your egg shells, the cardboard from your egg boxes and the wood ash from your fire place in there too. And, if you can't compost... throwing food waste in the disposal is greener than throwing it out in the trash. They are not the greenest way to dispose of your uneaten food, but better than throwing it in the trash.
Based on a variety of research, the hierarchy of green ways to dispose of food goes like this, from least green to most:
- Not-so-green: Throwing it in a trashcan headed for the landfill
- Light green: Running it through the sink disposal, from which it then heads to the wastewater treatment plant
- Green: Toss it in your compost bin for efficient composting
- Greenest ever: Reduce the amount of food we waste in the first place! Globally we waste about a third of our food every year. Talk about an environmental footprint.
Switch To Earth-Friendly Products
Many of the cleaning products that are used in homes are actually quite bad for the environment. Aerosol cans emit greenhouse gases, and detergents often have ingredients that are toxic to aquatic life. The Environmental Working Group has put together an extensive list of cleaning products that are both good and bad for the environment and your health. Each product received a grade, and those with an A are considered the best. You can find this list at ewg.org. Using this list to guide your cleaning product purchases is a great way to make environmentally friendly choices. Of course, you can always just use baking soda and vinegar to clean. They work great and are very friendly to the environment and your health.
Decrease Your Carbon Footprint
Earth Day is a great day to decrease your carbon footprint. Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouses gases that your daily activities emit. One of the best ways to decrease your carbon footprint is to go without your car.
On Earth Day, ride your bike or walk to wherever you need to go. Not only will this help the environment, but you will be getting exercise and fresh air! If a car is absolutely necessary, try carpooling. Carpooling is another wonderful way to reduce your carbon footprint. Perhaps you will even decide you want to go without a car or carpool long term, which would be really great for the environment!
Reconnect With Nature
It’s one thing to pronounce that you are environmentally friendly and care for the earth, but it’s another when you actually take the time to get out there and nourish your soul in natural greatness.
It is vitally important to take tours through nature as often as you can, especially if you are somebody who lives in a built-up urban area. Being in the great outdoors and hearing the natural sounds of animals is one of the most amazing free experiences that we are given on this earth, so make the effort to get out there.
We don’t all realize how much unnecessary paper we go through in one day with printing endless reams. Embrace a greener life on Earth Day and switch off the printer, and reuse paper instead of throwing it away. Take old paper home and let the kids use it for drawing pictures and projects instead of going out to buy them plain drawing paper. You will be surprised at how much less you use.
So many of us throw away our vegetable peelings, tea bags, newspaper and other biodegradable items, then get in our car and drive to the nursery and buy compost for our gardens. None of this makes any sense, especially when you put it like that.
If you’ve never considered embracing a greener life, you can see that these ways to go green on Earth Day are actually really easy, and there’s no reason why they can’t be the springboard into being more environmentally-friendly all round. Every little helps – will you be doing your bit for Earth Day 2018?
Valerie is a San Francisco native who loves overall health and wellness. She content creator and recipe developer, helping brands in the Fitness, Health & Wellness space tell their stories through gluten-free, mostly plant-based food, life + travel.