Earth Day brought 20 million Americans together in 1970 to demonstrate peacefully in favor of environmental reform. Since that time, Earth Day has only grown over the past 40 years and it is now celebrated annually by over 192 countries. Earth Day is now a global event focused on grassroots activism around environmental issues.
The Earth Day Network coordinates Earth Day and invites individuals, families, communities, and nations to become involved. Earth Day participation is as diverse as the people involved–it can mean becoming a political activist, planting a tree, cleaning up a local nature walk, recommitting to recycling, or finding a local co-op to order in-season produce year-round.
I like to think of Earth Day as the beginning of something, rather than a singular event. Earth Day is a day to recommit to advocating for environmental issues, as well as to daily choices that lesson my environmental footprint on the Earth.
It can feel overwhelming when we choose enormous goals or write a bucket list, then try to tackle them New Year’s Eve style–burnout happens quickly. Instead, I recommend sitting down with your family or a group of friends and choosing a few obtainable goals to commit to this year. Choose 1 to 5 goals that you believe you can commit to, perhaps even waiting to begin a new one until the first becomes a habit.
Don’t know where to start? Here are 25 Ideas for Earth Day Goals.
- Pledge an Act of Green. This is a concrete way to join a movement and commit yourself to taking action.
- Ride your bike or walk when you can.
- Commit to recycling, even when it’s inconvenient.
- Water your lawn wisely, choosing cool times of day and ensuring that sprinklers are not watering sidewalks.
- Green your period. Approximately 20 billion pads, tampons, and applicators are sent to North American landfills annually. Consider using a menstrual cup, cloth pads, or other kinds of washable or reusable feminine products.
- Consider changing one disposable item to cloth: paper towels, cloth diapers, and menstrual pads are all viable options and often a great way to support small businesses.
- Plant a garden as a family.
- Use the Water Footprint Calculator to find out how much water you use directly and indirectly each day and make adjustments accordingly.
- Bathe your kids less, cut down on shower time, and turn the faucet off while you brush.
- Put a bucket in the shower while you’re waiting for the water to warm up, and use that water later to water plants or clean.
- Get a Home Energy Audit and find ways to save money and reduce waste.
- Go energy efficient light bulbs.
- Fill your child’s art room with recyclables and encourage them to get creative.
- Hang your laundry to dry.
- Meal plan to use ingredients efficiently, reduce trips to the store, and eliminate waste.
- Introduce your children to nature and enjoy the outdoors as a family.
- Learn about endangered animals.
- Write a letter to your representatives about environmental issues that matter to you or give them a call.
- Support green initiatives.
- Eat locally grown produce.
- Repurpose items into something new.
- Donate before you throw away.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle.
- Ditch single use containers and plastic baggies and invest in reusable containers. You will save money (an average of $250 per family a year) and help the environment.
This is far from an exhaustive list–it’s only a small start.
What are ways your family participates in Earth Day?