On April 22, 1970, Americans took to the streets to protest a growing environmental crisis caused by oil spills, smog and polluted waterways. Twenty million Americans from hundreds of cities, schools and college campuses demanded that we care for our home: planet Earth.
That first protest was dubbed Earth Day and is credited for launching the environmental movement. It’s also credited with launching action that resulted in the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Earth Day soon spread to other countries who adopted similar laws and legislation. Today, countries around the world celebrate Earth Day on April 22 every year.
Maintained by the Earth Day Network, each year a theme is chosen for Earth Day. For this 50th Anniversary, the theme is climate action.
We know it’s hard to think about things to do to help the planet while we are experiencing a global pandemic. Normally, during this time we’d come together for civic projects that focus on our planet. Today we are working together in a different way – by keeping our physical distance to ensure the health of our community.
Keeping that in mind, we’ve come up with a few ways that you can take action for the planet while social distancing this Earth Day.
Perhaps you made a resolution to introduce more plants in your diet this year. Or, perhaps you’ve read about some of the benefits of a plant-based diet like reducing the risk of cancer, promoting a healthy weight or boosting your immune system. Now could be the perfect time to try it! Try some new plant-based recipes using fresh fruits and vegetables. Canned vegetables, canned or dry beans, and rice are nutritious and easy to prepare staples in a plant-based diet, and can be used in many recipes.
Did you know that 28% of household waste is organic matter that can be used in composting? Organic matter like old produce, paper towels and cardboard boxes are less likely to break down quickly in a crowded landfill, causing them to release harmful methane gas that increases the rate of global warming and climate change as they slowly break down. These same items break down quickly in a compost. So, instead of throwing your banana peels and cereal boxes into the garbage can, try composting. You can make a compost bin outdoors or indoors and out of almost anything: an old garbage can, a barrel, or a plastic container you keep under the sink. Here’s a list of items great for composting. Your compost will make a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.
Start a Garden
If you don’t have a garden, this would be a great time to start one. Grow the vegetables and herbs you love or try growing new and interesting ones you’d like to try. This is a great family activity for all ages and a teaching opportunity for young children. Children learn where our food comes from. There are many health benefits to gardening besides fresh produce for your recipes. Gardening can relieve stress, boosts your mood and provide a bit of aerobic exercise. So, get out and get some fresh air!
Make Your Own Disinfectant
With the increase in buying at this time, you may find that stores have limited or no supply of disinfectants. Yet disinfectants are important in fighting this pandemic. You can make your own earth-friendly disinfectants and cleaning solutions from items you already have in your house. Just make sure your mix is 70% alcohol and leave it to dry on its own. White vinegar and vodka make powerful cleansers that can cut through grease and remove mildew. Here’s a recipe using those same ingredients for a powerful disinfectant. Using rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel, you can make your own hand sanitizer. Reuse existing spray or squeeze bottles in your home instead of buying new ones.
Help the Bees
Bees are important to our eco-system. They pollinate the plants that we need for food. Unfortunately, the bee population is dwindling reaching a 40% decline last year. We can help the bees by giving them more eco-friendly places to thrive. Build a habitat for these crucial insects in your yard out of items you have around your house. This is a great activity for the entire family.
Staying inside can drive some people a little stir crazy. Go outside and go for a walk around your neighborhood to enjoy the beauty of our planet. Make sure to keep a distance of at least six feet from your neighbor. Or play outside in your yard with just family members of the same household for a few minutes. Spending time in nature reduces stress.
Find more ideas on how you can help the planet, while social distancing on the Earth Day website.
Whatever you choose to do this Earth Day. Remember to stay safe.