Earth Day 2012: How YOU Can Celebrate
By Laura Hogg
From the NatuREport Blog Series
Welcome back to NatuREport! This week in the news: Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22nd. Here are some green ideas for celebrating!
When I lived in Canada growing up, Earth Day was a big deal. I can remember, among numerous other activities, planting trees and having entire days primarily devoted to cleaning up trash. I was in elementary school, so it was an easy holiday to celebrate. When I moved back to the States, that changed, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the difference between the countries or the simple fact that we now had other coursework to attend to that didn’t allow time for planting trees.
Regardless, in some ways, it’s gotten a little bit harder to celebrate Earth Day since I was young. Since I don’t have teachers there to set up activities (or even just remind me that the day is coming up), I’ve let many Earth Days pass me by.
But no more!
This year, I’m determined to make Earth Day count, and I’ve found – it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some ideas for how to celebrate. Add your own in the comments!
Cut out the trash
If you normally fill up on coffee or water from a disposable cup, invest in a reusable mug, tumbler, or BPA-free cup. (Even better: reuse a glass jar!) When the lunch hour hits, if you’re the sort that grabs for plastic forks and knives – I know I am particularly guilty of this – make sure you have some real silverware handy, and pack your lunch in Tupperware. Try to make your lunch as trash-free as possible. If that feels daunting, just try making one small change per week or per month. I promise you – the benefits will add up!
Eat lower on the food chain
For those needing their memories refreshed: meat production is just not good for the environment. It takes 20 times more fuel to make feed for beef versus plant-based protein. Think dietary choices can’t make a difference? Think again: if every American replaced chicken with a vegetarian option for just one meal one day a week, it would be the environmental equivalent of taking a half million cars off the road. I could go on listing reasons, but I’m sure you get the point: going meatless is a wonderfully positive way to make a difference this Earth Day. For continued impact, try participating in Meatless Mondays.
I’m a huge fan of this tip! If you’re looking for a specific item of clothing, check out your local thrift stores first. Take some time on Earth Day to go through your clothing and get together a donation bag for Goodwill; you’ll be supporting your local economy and the planet. I was looking for a striped shirt recently and decided to check out Goodwill before Target. Lo and behold, I found something even better than I was hoping for – and for a tiny fraction of the price! I also found this blue cardigan, pictured above. It wasn’t something I was looking for, but as far as impulse buys go, it was a lot cheaper than something from a boutique!
If you need furniture, check out Craigslist before heading to the big-name stores. Earth – not to mention your wallet – will thank you.
Pledge an act of green
Support Earth Day Network by pledging an act of green towards their A Billion Acts of Green initiative. It is, well, exactly what it sounds like – and at the writing of this blog, they’re up to 977,877,550 environmentally-friendly acts. Sounds close, but they’re still over 22 million acts away from their goal. If you try any of the tips on this list, why not make it official and log it on their website? It’s super easy – and there’s no limit to how many pledges you can make.
All of the above suggestions are well and good, but sometimes it’s nice to get a real-life reminder of why we’re doing all this. So go outside, enjoy the fresh air, and remember – we live on an incredibly beautiful planet.
It’s time we showed her some love.