What is Earth Day 2021, you might ask? 51 years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not exist, which meant there was no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act, and no legal regulatory mechanism to protect our environment. That all changed in April 1970 when Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to force this issue onto the national agenda. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities – and it worked. In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of the EPA, a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues. Now, each year on April 22, people all around the world come together on Earth Day to celebrate the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about pollution.
EARTHDAY.ORG’s theme for Earth Day 2021 is Restore Our Earth™, which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. In this way, the theme rejects the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only ways to address climate change. It is up to each and every one of us to Restore Our Earth not just because we care about the natural world, but because we live on it. We all need a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity.
You might be wondering how you can personally help in the matter, as did I. The planet is a big place, as you might know already, but it starts with our efforts. Every preventive measure adds up, even if you don’t realise it!
HOW CAN I HELP?
♡ ECONOMICAL DECISIONS IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- Shop Eco-Friendly Household Products
When it comes to your household products, shopping eco-friendly goes a long way. Instead of single-use, disposable items, look for “green” products that are reusable, sustainably sourced, or made of recycled materials.
- Use a Cloth Towel Instead of a Paper Towel
It’s certainly cheaper to hold onto a cloth towel than to buy a new roll of paper towels every week.
- Stop Drinking out of Plastic Water Bottles
This one’s a simple fix. Replace your regular single use plastic bottles with some of plastic, glass, and stainless steel reusable water bottles that are all the rage right now.
- Turn off Your Lights When You Leave the Room
Turning off your lights when you’re not home, or even not in that room, can significantly cut down how much energy you’re using. What do you need them on for anyway?
- Bring a Reusable Cup to Your Coffee Shop
You can still fulfill your caramel frappuccino cravings every once and while — without throwing a way a plastic cup afterwards. Bring your reusable coffee mug to your regular coffee shop and ask them to put the coffee in there — chains like Starbucks and Dunkin will even give you a discount.
- Collect Rainwater
Invest in a rainwater collection system. There’s so much you can use this non-drinking water for — like cleaning or watering plants.
- Ditch the Plastic Straws
Americans use nearly 500 million plastic straws every day. Replace your plastic straws with a set of reusable ones made from stainless steel, silicone, or bamboo — the sea turtles will thank you.
- Go Paperless
Everything is online these days. Think about how much paper you can save just by getting bank statements and bills sent electronically and paid the same way. It’s the same deal with event or travel tickets. Most places don’t require physical copies anymore.
- Plant a Tree
- The Conservation Fund: The Conservation Fund practices conservation to achieve environmental and economic outcomes. Every Fund program places conservation at its center, and our entrepreneurial staff create and implement innovative, practical ways to benefit the natural world and the well-being of Americans from every walk of life. Since 1985, The Conservation Fund has protected over 8 million acres of America’s most important, at-risk lands and waters. Last year, the Fund worked on more than 150 projects in 35 states conserving nearly 207,000 acres valued at more than $323 million—35 more projects than the previous year! None of this is possible without you—our partners and supporters. Click here to learn more about the Fund’s impact on the following focus areas: Land, Water, Wildlife, Finance, Food, Community Development, Cities, Partnerships, Climate, and Restoration.
- Feeding America: Many people think of ending hunger when they think of Feeding America – and they would be right. However, Feeding America is also an important ally in the work to end food waste. Every year, 197 million pounds of food goes into landfills every single day. That’s 72 billion pounds of food, or $218 billion, thrown away every year, while 42 million Americans struggle with hunger. Feeding America and its partner network rescues food every day — rescuing 4 billion pounds of food in 2020. Learn how you can fight food waste in your own kitchen and learn about one Feeding America’s newest innovations, MealConnect, which makes safe and quick food donations possible by matching food businesses directly to the Feeding America network. Local grocery stores, restaurants, hotels and more can use MealConnect to alert nearby food banks, food pantries or meal programs when they have food ready for immediate pick up, making more good food available and revolutionizing local food rescue.
- Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: The mission of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people. For 30 years, RTC has been the leader in the national rail-trail movement and is the voice of more than 160,000 members and supporters. RTC has helped develop more than 1,600 pathways, transforming more than 30,000 miles of former rail corridors into beautiful paths for walking, biking, riding, and other outdoor activities. Rail-trails encourage healthier, more mobile lifestyles by providing safe places to walk, bike and be active. They stimulate healthier economies by promoting tourism and local businesses, and increasing property values. They support a healthier environment by making active transportation a viable transportation alternative. They contribute to healthier, more vibrant communities, connecting people of all ages and abilities to the places where they live, work and play.
- Engage with others on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and let them know you are celebrating Earth Day. Be sure to include the hashtag #EarthDay in your posts to join the global conversation online.
ways to get kids involved
- Make a Pinecone and Peanut Butter Bird Feeder
- 75 Egg Carton Projects
- 35 Tips on How to Garden with Kids
- 15 Recycled Paper Roll Crafts
- DIY Wind Chimes with Tin Cans, from Hands on: As we Grow
How are you planning to help with the conservation of our precious Earth? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!