Though Earth Day is celebrated each year on 22 April, we can allow Earth Day to inspire us all year by embracing a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. Here are three great ways to incorporate the spirit of Earth Day into our everyday lives.
Earth Day as a Teachable Moment:
Earth Day originated in 1970 as the brainchild of U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, who envisioned it as a “national teach-in on the environment.” He hoped to both educate the younger generation about environmental stewardship and to bring greater awareness to ecological abuses in hopes of inspiring action. Visit The History of Earth Day for more information on the founding of this movement.
To honour the original intent of this now-global movement, why not look for ways to educate ourselves and others, and create teachable moments of our own? Here are just a few ideas we can put into action:
- Organise a clean-up effort in a local park or waterfront, using social media for both recruitment and to raise awareness.
- Visit a local farmers’ market with friends or family, and talk with others about supporting local sourcing of fresh food.
- Consider planting a garden or exploring the outdoors with people you love. Encouraging a connection to nature is a great way to inspire good stewardship.
- Explore the Earth Day Network’s global call to action, and contribute to their public efforts to reach 3 billion Acts of Green.
Consider the Problem of Plastic:
This year, the Earth Day Network asks us to consider the growing problem of plastic pollution. As a non-biodegradable substance, plastic waste is building up and resulting in dire environmental outcomes in a variety of ways. We can begin to address the issue by first understanding how we are contributing to the problem. Click here to fill out your own plastic consumption calculator.
We can take action by committing to reduce our dependence on plastic, and we can share our intentions with others. We can begin by avoiding single-use containers and picking up plastic litter. Read more about the Earth Day Network’s campaign to end plastic pollution. Send them your ideas, or participate in one of their many ongoing events.
Simple Actions Contribute to Significant Outcomes
Whether we feel called to mobilise widespread action to serve a favourite environmental cause, or we’re more inclined to examine and alter our own habits, there are endless opportunities to practice good stewardship of the Earth. By starting with self-examination and small changes, we can, collectively, produce significant outcomes. Here are some simple ways we can get started:
- Consider changes we might institute to conserve water and increase energy efficiency in our own homes.
- Donate our time, talent, or financial resources to environmental causes, and let our representatives know that ecological issues matter to us.
- Tell our local businesses and favourite restaurants that we will support locally sourced and sustainable goods and services.
- Intentionally raise plants that encourage our pollinators. For more information about the importance of supporting pollinators, visit the Royal Horticultural Society’s science page, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s pollinators page.
- Recall the plea to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and think carefully about our own consumerism. If we’re honest, we probably purchase more than we need, or could more creatively use our goods.
- Sustain our commitment to protect the Earth by spending time enjoying nature.
Our intentional efforts on behalf of environmental causes, if enthusiastically undertaken, can inspire others. Our actions and attitudes impact our circle of influence; they are witnessed by our families, they are transmitted to our children, and they are shared with our friends. Collectively, our small actions can reap global consequences and honour the meaning of Earth Day all year.