Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

In 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson realized the importance of raising awareness for environmental issues. So he suggested a large protest like those of the Civil Rights era. On April 22, 1970, about 20 million Americans rallied across the country. 

The demonstrations left an enormous impact. The next year, more people cared about the environment than ever before. This support led to laws like the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. 

We celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22 to continue that legacy. This list of things to do on Earth Day will help you kickstart your own festivities.

Learn a Green Skill

Earth Day is a great time to do things for the planet, but you should keep that energy in your everyday life, too.

There are many ways you can save the planet on a daily basis. If you want to live a more sustainable life, try out these Earth Day projects:

  • Composting: Turn food scraps and old leaves into fertilizer with your own compost bin. Compost keeps the soil moist and nutrient-rich, eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Sewing or altering clothing: Learning to sew can help you shrink your carbon footprint and save money. By making your own outfits or fixing clothes you already own, you can make sure nothing goes to waste. Plus, you can choose long-lasting materials, which will reduce your contributions to landfills.
  • Gardening: If you've got extra space in your yard, consider growing your own veggies. You won't need to go to the store as often, so you'll reduce your transportation emissions. Plus, you don't need to use harmful chemicals that can damage the environment.

Contact Your Local Lawmakers

Here are some email- and letter-writing tips to help get you started: 
• Clearly state your goal
• Keep it short
• Personalize your letter
• Address it correctly
• Use the right salutation
• Stay professional

Contact Your Local Lawmakers

Do you have an idea about how your local government can help the environment? One of the best ways to make a change is to talk to the people with the power to make impactful legislation. 

Making a change is even more possible when you've got multiple people in agreement. Ask friends and family to join you in writing their own letters. You can even get your kids in on it to teach them a valuable civics lesson. 

Here are some email- and letter-writing tips to help get you started: 

  • Clearly state your goal: Make sure your representative knows exactly what you're contacting them about. For example, if you're writing about water pollution, start with that.
  • Keep it short: A good letter is short, sweet and to the point. Stick to one page.
  • Personalize your letter: Write about how this issue has affected your life.
  • Address it correctly: Make sure you're using the right title for the representative you choose to contact. Include their title and department along with their physical address.
  • Use the right salutation: You also need to greet your representative correctly. A salutation like “Dear Representative Jones” is usually a good call.
  • Stay professional: Make your request in plain language without sounding threatening or angry. Using a neutral tone will make your letter seem more sincere, which could help your cause.

Invest in Reusable Gear

In 2018, American companies manufactured about 4.2 million tons of plastic packaging, including shopping bags. Only 420,000 tons of that packaging were recycled after use. That's only 10% of what we made. The rest was either burned or dumped in a landfill.

The same goes for water bottles. It takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil just to manufacture all the plastic bottles Americans use in a year. And very few of those bottles are recycled — American landfills contain two million tons of plastic water bottles that will take over 1,000 years to break down. 

Using reusable shopping bags and refillable water bottles can help reduce plastic waste. There's a wide variety of styles and materials to choose from, so you'll be able to find one that matches your aesthetic and that meets your needs.  

Spend Some Time in Nature

Earth Day is one of the best days to enjoy the outdoors. If you have access to a backyard or local park try the following:

  • Take your lunch break outside.
  • Go for a midday walk.
  • Read a book in the shade.
  • Get your friends together for a game of soccer.
  • Spend a few moments laying in the grass.

Time outside is good for you throughout the year, too. Even 20 minutes a day is a great way to boost your mood, reduce stress and reconnect with your surroundings. Exposure to sunlight allows your body to produce vitamin D, which is crucial for your health. Plus, outdoor spaces are great places for physical activity like walking or yoga in the park. 

You don't have to drop meat altogether to save the planet. By reducing your meat intake even by a quarter, you can reduce the number of emissions that go into the environment.

Try Going Meatless

We eat more meat today than we really need to. According to a 2019 report, Americans today eat more than six times the recommended daily amount of red meat.

But producing so much meat is damaging to the environment. Livestock farming releases enormous amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. For example, about 70 kilograms (about 154 pounds) of emissions enter the environment for every one kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of beef. 

You don't have to drop meat altogether to save the planet. By reducing your meat intake even by a quarter, you can reduce the number of emissions that go into the environment. Consider having a Meatless Monday every week, or just eating less meat overall.

On Earth Day, try swapping out your usual meat dish for plant-based protein like lentils, beans or tofu. You might even find you enjoy it!

Plant a Tree

Planting trees is one of the first things people think of when it comes to Earth Day activities, but it's a classic for a reason. 

Trees clean air through a process called photosynthesis, where they make their own food. Photosynthesis converts the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into oxygen, which we need to breathe.

If you have limited space, you can plant flowers, small vegetables or herbs instead. These plants also undergo photosynthesis, so they also help to clean up the air. Plus, depending on what you choose to plant, you might be able to save money on produce, too.

Clean up Litter

Got an hour or two? Head outside and pick up as much litter as you can. Find out where to dispose of your haul through your local government's website.

The following precautions can help keep you safe while you're out:

  • Bring a partner: If you're going to be working in an area that could be hazardous, bring someone along. Better yet, get a group together. You'll be able to clean up more trash in less time while also staying safe.
  • Wear bright colors: Bright or reflective clothing makes you more visible to drivers, which can help prevent accidents if you're working near a road.
  • Use trash pickers: If you have access to a reaching tool or grabber, you can use it to pick up trash. This tool lets you pick up the trash without touching it, so you won't risk contact with contaminants. Once you're done, make sure to sanitize your grabber before using it for other purposes.
  • Wear gloves: Non-permeable gloves are a must-have for picking up litter. Make sure you avoid touching your face, clothes and hair with your dirty gloves so you don't get anything on you.
  • Wash your hands: Once you've finished and removed your gloves, wash your hands right away. If you don't have access to soap and running water, hand sanitizer will work until you can get to a bathroom.

Go Thrifting

As a whole, the fashion industry consumes 10% of all the water typically used to run factories across all industries. And just one cotton shirt takes about 3,000 liters of water to produce. For context, that's 101,442 fluid ounces.

What's more, about 57% of all discarded clothing will end up in a landfill, where it will stay until it finally breaks down.

So if you want to update your wardrobe, try visiting your local thrift shop instead of hitting up the mall or buying online. Shopping second-hand is beneficial because it:

  • Reduces waste: It keeps clothing that's still in good condition out of landfills.
  • Saves resources: Thrifting reduces demand for new clothing, which can influence companies to produce less.
  • Benefits a good cause: Many thrift stores donate some of their proceeds to charity.

Thrift store clothing is heavily marked down from the original retail price, so you'll be able to find something that fits your budget. Plus, you might come across some funky vintage finds you'll absolutely love. 

Add even more Earth Day activities into your visit by clearing out your closet. You can sell or donate clothes you don't wear anymore so someone else can enjoy them and pick up some new-to-you pieces in the process.

Go on an Earth Day Scavenger Hunt 

An outdoor scavenger hunt is a classic Earth Day activity for kids. Give your kids a list of things you often see in nature, like animal tracks or specific flowers. Then, let them run loose in your backyard or local park — while keeping a close eye on them, of course.

If you want, you could provide your kids with a camera or phone to take pictures of what they find. Kids will become more familiar with the natural world, which can help them appreciate the environment and want to protect it. Read up on some Earth Day trivia to share with your kids on the scavenger hunt, like how the day became a global event in 1990 with 200 million people participating.

Make Earth Day Crafts

Earth Day cards
Personalized recycling bins
Bottlecap environment painting
Toilet roll bird feeders
Water bottle flowers

Make Earth Day Crafts

Entertain your kids and teach them how to reduce, reuse and recycle through arts and crafts. Here are some great ideas for Earth Day crafts for kids that only require household materials: 

  • Earth Day cards: Use old paper and cardboard to create beautiful Earth Day cards you can send to friends and family. You can inspire your recipients to take action by including a sustainability tip or a seed packet in every card.
  • Personalized recycling bins: Encourage your young ones to recycle by helping them to make their own recycling bins for use around the house. Gather some old cardboard boxes and paper and art supplies like glitter, magic markers and scissors. Then use these supplies to turn the boxes into unique recycling bins.
  • Bottlecap environment painting: If you have old bottles lying around, you can use the caps to create a painting of a natural scene. Attach googly eyes to the bottle caps and use glitter glue or paint to draw scales, wings or other features. Glue the cap creatures to a piece of paper to complete the landscape.
  • Toilet roll bird feeders: This is a fun and simple Earth Day craft that preschoolers are sure to love. Use peanut butter — or sunflower butter, for those with nut allergies — to cover an empty toilet paper roll. Roll it in birdseed until it's completely covered. To hang it outside, thread a piece of twine or string through the roll and tie it to a structure of your choice.
  • Water bottle flowers: Cut the bottoms off of plastic water bottles and paint them whatever colors you like. Attach your blooms to straws to create stems. Make multiple flowers to create a beautiful bouquet.

Unplug for the Day

Nowadays, we're always typing away at a laptop or scrolling through our phones. But being wired in all the time can have negative effects on both ourselves and our planet. 

Take a digital detox — a complete break from electronic devices — if you're able to. Use this time to fully experience nature and reconnect with the people closest to you. You'll be able to recharge yourself mentally and physically while extending the life of your devices, which can reduce e-waste. 

You can also save energy around the house with a few simple steps. Leaving devices plugged into power sources saps energy from your other appliances and raises your power bill. Save power — and money — with the following tips:

  • Unplug devices like phone chargers and small appliances when you're done using them.
  • Connect devices to smart power strips to completely cut off power when not in use.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Open the blinds and use natural lighting whenever possible.
  • Put your devices on sleep mode or power them off completely when you're not going to use them for a long time.

Sell or Recycle Your Phone With ecoATM

If you're looking to get rid of your phone, we can help properly recycle or sell it for you. 

Sell or Recycle Your Phone With ecoATM

Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, refers to devices that are either at the end of their useful life. With our dramatic increase in electronic usage around the globe, e-waste generation has risen. The best way to counter e-waste is to reduce it, and one way you can do that is by recycling or selling your used devices with ecoATM kiosks. 

If you're looking to upgrade your phone to the most recent model, we can help your make sure your current phone stays out of landfills. Learn how the process works here, then bring your old phone to one of our 5,000 kiosks across the U.S.