Earth Day is fast approaching. To celebrate April 22nd, we’re rounding up our top Earth Day tips to encourage you to live greener not only on Earth Day – but every day, every year.
Before we get to that though, we thought we’d start with taking a look at what Earth Day is actually all about.
What is Earth Day?
Every year, April 22 marks the anniversary of the start of Earth Day in 1970. An environmental movement that gave voice to an emerging consciousness and the anti-war protest movement, Earth Day finally put environmental concerns top of the mainstream population’s minds.
Gaylord Nelson, who was at the time a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, came up with the idea of Earth Day after watching the atrocities of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson realised that by injecting enough energy into the rising public awareness about air and water pollution could encourage environmental protection onto the national political agenda.
Fighting for change
Senator Nelson managed to get a conservation-minded Republican Congressman to serve as his co-chair and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes hired 85 staff members across the country and April 22 was chosen as the date for a huge demonstration to take place. 20 million Americans took to the streets that day to protest against oil spills, polluting factories, toxic dumps and more.
A rare political alignment was reached on Earth Day 1970, which is what made the day so special from an environmental perspective. By the end of the year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Humanity’s joint desire to protect the environment had led to actual change – something that continues to inspire environmentalists today.
Today, Earth Day is the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year. The principles the day was built on by Senator Nelson half a century ago are as relevant as ever, if not even more so. With new global challenges such as the devastating impacts climate change is having on the planet, we think Earth Day is as relevant as ever.
11 ways to celebrate Earth Day
So now you know what Earth Day is all about, it’s time to plan what you’re going to do to celebrate this significant day.
1. Remember your tote
Hopefully, this is something you’re doing anyway, but Earth Day is the perfect reminder to ditch the plastic and carry your lunch to work in a trusty tote. It’s also ideal to keep with you for picking up groceries on your way home.
2. Leave the car at home
Yes, we know, no one likes to be squashed up against a stranger on a busy bus or train in the morning. But leaving your car at home will not only save energy – it’ll save you money, too. Try leaving a bit earlier to avoid the peak of rush hour on public transport. Or, if possible, why not cycle to work?
3. Use a reusable cup
Another habit we’re hoping you’ve already adopted is using a reusable cup for your daily caffeine fix. But if you haven’t, make Earth Day the first day of the rest of your life (that you use a reusable cup). We’ve actually teamed up with JOCO to bring you an awesome Boody cup, but there’ll be more about this later in the month.
4. Go vegan
Ok, this doesn’t have to be a permanent dietary change, but going vegan for Earth Day might inspire you to ditch meat a couple of days a week. Even going partially vegan or vegetarian will have hugely positive impacts on the environment. You conserve water, you reduce energy consumption, you purify the air. And that’s just the beginning!
5. Get outside
Earth Day is the perfect excuse to get outside and get close to nature. Whether it’s the park on your lunch break or a post-dinner neighbourhood stroll, Earth Day is all about being outside and remembering how lucky we are to inhabit this beautiful planet.
6. Plant a tree
Once outside, why not take the opportunity to plant a tree? A classic and simple action with a powerful outcome, planting a tree will help with the long-term fight against global warming and with living an overall more environmentally-friendly life.
7. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
Cleaning products are often filled with nasty chemicals that have detrimental effects on the environment. If you’re guilty of using these, make Earth Day when you switch to buying eco-friendly cleaning products that use natural ingredients that are gentle on the planet but still effective at keeping your surfaces clean.
8. Buy local
There are countless reasons why buying local is important to living an environmentally-friendly life, but the key reason is that it reduces your carbon footprint. When your food travels a shorter distance, it means better air quality and less pollution.
9. Lose your incandescent light bulbs
The main reason people still purchase incandescent bulbs is that they cost less than the energy-efficient alternatives – mainly LEDs (light emitting diodes) and CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps). Sometimes, though, it’s worth paying that bit extra – especially when it comes to protecting the planet. Ditch your incandescent bulbs this Earth Day and go green.
10. Change your air filter
Changing your air filter regularly will avoid it getting clogged and having to work harder. A harder-working air filter will release more greenhouse gases such as carbon monoxide. If you haven’t done it in a while, make Earth Day the day you change your air filter.
11. Switch off the lights
Finally, for a bit of fun this Earth Day, why not switch off all your lights in the evening and light some candles? You could even switch off the TV and read a book, spend time with the kids or do something creative. You never know, these little acts might inspire you to shake up your evening routine beyond Earth Day!
After all, even though Earth Day is a great day to remember how important it is to live an eco-friendly life, we should be living every day of our lives like that. So let’s make every day Earth Day!
Find out more ways to live an environmentally-friendly life this Earth Day and beyond.