Happy Earth Day! Earth Day started in 1970 and is now celebrated by over 1 billion people in 193 countries! Earth Day serves to promote sustainable practices both in our personal lives and in large industries, as well as advocate for climate action.
Earth Day only comes around once a year, but that doesn’t mean you can only celebrate today. I’m sharing five things you can do to celebrate Earth Day all year round!
1. Go enjoy nature!
There’s no better way to get in the Earth Day spirit than by spending time in nature. Whether you’re trekking through the Grand Canyon, or strolling through a local park, being outdoors in green spaces not only helps you focus on the beauty of the Earth, but is scientifically proven to help “lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood”, according to these guys. Enjoy an adventurous or easy-going hike on your own or with a friend. Use the free Hiking Project app to find a hiking trail near you! They have compiled all sorts of trails of various lengths and levels of difficulty to ensure you can find a fun trail to explore. If you’re looking for a more low-key nature activity or can’t get to a green space, try outdoor meditation! Even if you’re on your apartment balcony in a bustling neighborhood, you can still meditate. This article on outdoor meditation says that “awareness is awareness, whether the focus in the sound of a nightingale’s aria or gridlocked traffic.”
Bonus: Can’t get out of the house? Try this interactive guided nature meditation from the New York Times.
2. Stock up on reusable, earth-friendly staples
Single-use plastics are bad for the environment. This is nothing new to most of us. U.S. landfills have an estimated 2 million tons of discarded plastic water bottles alone, and they aren’t going anywhere – each bottle takes around 1,000 years to biodegrade (fact check me here). Instead of using things that just add to landfills, get some reusable staples you can use every day.
- A reusable water bottle is a great thing to keep around because it reduces waste and helps you remember to hydrate. This insulated one keeps your drink chilly all day, and science says you’re more likely to drink more from a straw because it’s convenient. Also it’s dishwasher safe, because who needs more dishes to do? Or try this small glass water bottle that is a perfect size to slip in your purse or bag for on the go!
- If you haven’t joined the reusable straw club, now’s the time! I like FinalStraw because it collapses and fits in a tiny keychain holder, so you never forget it. Also check out their Biggie Straw if you’re a smoothie, boba tea, or frozen margarita drinker.
- FinalStraw also makes a spork and fork that collapse into tiny convenient keepers, too! Remembering to eat when you’re busy is super important, and having these handy tools around can help expand your on-the-go snack stash beyond finger foods, while keeping you low-waste.
3. Reduce, reuse, and recycle… responsibly
Single-use plastics aren’t the only thing piling up in landfills. Visit Earth911 to find a location near you to recycle or safely dispose of ANYTHING you no longer use. Find out where and how to unload clothes, paint, your laptop-turned-paperweight, an old yoga mat, or even that clarinet you haven’t played since 8th grade. Bonus: many of the sites listed on Earth911 will donate anything that has life left in it, then only recycle or safely dispose of things that can’t be reused, too!
4. Make an Earth Day friend!
The official Earth Day organization hosts a map of all kinds of earth-celebrating events around https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08D6WMNMM/the world to help you find a virtual or in-person event near you. Attend with a friend or make a new earth-loving bud while you’re there!
5. Follow these Instagram accounts to help you remember to be kind to the earth every day.
Accounts that will fill your feed with beautiful pictures to remind you why the Earth is spectacular:
- @paulnicklen is the founder of @sealegacy and is a @natgeo contributor. His feed is full https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HPFR6QL/of beautiful photography of sea life and each of @sealegacy’s posts directly relates to one of their causes – you can click the link in their bio to sign up for pledges or sign petitions to address the issues surrounding the subjects of their photographs.
- @usinterior will supply you with proof of all the beautiful, natural views in the U.S. @nationalparkservice does the same, but is also really funny! If you’re a nature-minded traveler, these accounts will give you some great domestic ideas, too.
- @earthpix is a travel community that shares beautiful pictures of plant, animal, and human life all over the world.
Accounts that will give you tips and tricks for developing more earth-friendly habits:
- @thegirlgonegreen is a sustainability and social justice queen. She advocates that climate justice is social justice and she recognizes that not only does consumer culture lead to irreparable damage from extreme waste, but that it is designed to lower your self esteem, then convince you to buy more things to lift it.
- @simpleishliving is only 49% sellout, is a minimalist hoarder, follows a “ethical(ish)” and “simple(ish)” lifestyle – she’s hilarious and totally relatable to those of us who are trying to be better… but not always successfully.