April 22, 2015 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual event first celebrated in 1970 that promotes the importance of environmental protection. The Earth Day movement started in the United States, but its reach has grown significantly. Today, over 1 billion people around the globe take part in annual Earth Day activities and the day is considered the largest civic observance in the world. Earth Day activities support environmental education and a variety of issues including reduced energy consumption, water conservation, recycling, and more.
While there are many public, high-profile Earth Day events happening throughout the world, here are a few ways you and your family can celebrate the day at home, work, or school. These eco-friendly tips and activities are great for Earth Day and beyond. Make every day Earth Day!
6 Easy Earth Day Activities
- Recycle – Many communities have recycling programs which help reduce the amount of waste going into landfills. If you aren’t complying with your local recycling program, Earth Day is a wonderful time to start. Sort out your paper, glass, cans, and plastics and put them out for collection or bring them to a recycling center in your area.
- Conserve water – Did you know that April is Water Awareness Month? Celebrate the month and Earth Day by making an effort to conserve precious water resources. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth or scrub your hands, take a shower instead of a bath, make sure the dishwasher is completely full before running it, and match the water level in your washing machine to the amount of the load. Find more water conservation tips at WaterUseItWisely.com.
- Put the brake on your car – Automobiles are a huge source of pollution. According to the US. Energy Information Administration, one gallon of gas with 10% ethanol, which is the most popular type of gas sold in the U.S., produces 17.68 pounds of carbon dioxide. To do your part to reduce pollution, try car pooling to work, take public transportation, or even better – ride your bicycle.
- Repurpose – Instead of filling up landfills with items you no longer need, see if you can reuse the items in different ways. Old clothing can be turned into throw pillows. Use old toothbrushes for cleaning grout or corners. If you want to get really creative, check out these amazing re-purposing ideas or your home or garden.
- Plant a tree – Give back to the environment by planting a tree. Trees produce oxygen and clean the air by filtering out pollutants. They also beautify your property, provide shade, reduce erosion, and provide a habitat for wildlife. If you do not have an area suitable for a tree, try planting flowers or vegetables in a garden or in pots. Planting is a great family activity that gets to the “root” of what Earth Day is all about!
- Reuse Styrofoam – Styrofoam is a material used to make many products including cups, paper plates, food storage containers, and packing “peanuts.” Unfortunately it is also very harmful for the environment. It is a toxic, petroleum-based plastic that is non-biodegradable. It does not break down, and as a result, it has an enormous impact on landfills. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Styrofoam products constitute almost 30% of total landfill area. Since the material is so detrimental to the environment, the best thing you can do is to avoid Styrofoam products altogether. If you do have Styrofoam in your home already (and most people do), the next best thing you can do is to try to reuse it. Styrofoam cups can be used as pots for seeds, plates can be used in craft projects, and food containers can be used to store art supplies. Here is a Styrofoam egg carton turned into a paint tray.
Earth Day is officially just one day a year, but you can make a difference all year long with these eco-friendly tips and activities. When it comes to the preservation of our planet, every little bit helps!