Billions of people across 192 countries rally for the same cause every April 22 — a testament to American novelist and Kentuckian Wendell Berry’s statement that “The Earth is what we all have in common.”
In fact, the inaugural Earth Day — established by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and first celebrated on April 22, 1970 — attracted nearly 22 million, all demonstrating for a healthier and more sustainable environment in response to the threat of smog and pollution.
You too can be a part of the world’s largest environmental movement, whether you participate in a rally, attend a march or visit your community’s Earth Day festival. The practices you implement at home, however, will make a lasting environmental contribution.
Consider these efforts as you celebrate the Earth this weekend:
If you don’t already recycle, adding this to your everyday routine can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. A major focus for Earth Day 2018 is ending plastic pollution by Earth Day 2020, which is the 50th anniversary of the annual observance. So even if you currently recycle, you can up your game by understanding how much plastic you consume (this calculator will help you reach that figure) and committing to recycle more of it.
Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. During the last 10 years, we’ve produced more plastic than we did during the entire last century, and it is responsible for injuring and poisoning marine life, as well as disrupting human hormones.
Check with your local recycling center on what types of recyclables are accepted — some do not handle glass, for example, while others only accept certain types of plastic (numbers noted on the bottom of containers). Then use boxes or bins to create a sorting station. Educate children on how to sort as they are throwing items in the trash, breaking down boxes and rinsing plastics if required. You’ll be amazed at how this relatively simple effort will reduce the amount of trash you collect, and that is important — just recycling 1 ton of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil and 3 cubic yards of landfill space.
Create a composting bin
Food scraps and yard waste make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, and those items are easily recycled or composted. A great, long-term experiment for your family is to create a composting bin for these items. As you add browns (twigs and dead leaves) with greens (fruit and vegetable scraps) and water, you will be able to watch over time as this organic material is broken down naturally by microorganisms. Composting enriches the soil while also reducing methane gases otherwise produced in landfills, reducing your carbon footprint. This guide will show you how to create a composting bin and details what items you should and shouldn’t include.
Go for a bike ride
It’s no doubt super easy to just hop in the car and drive to your destination. We all do it, sometimes multiple times a day. But consider this: If you replace one five-mile car ride per week with a bike ride instead, you’ve saved 260 miles in a year. Bicycling uses no fuel, and bikes do not require batteries or motor oil. A passenger car emits nearly 1 pound of pollutants per mile.
Grab your bikes on Earth Day and make a trip you would normally make by car. Not only will you help the environment, but you’ll get great exercise and participate in a healthy activity together while enjoying Mother Nature’s beautiful view.
Celebrate Earth Day all year with our Earth Day Every Day apparel!