Earth Day is a global event held every April 22 to encourage us to reflect on how we can protect our environment. We celebrate Earth Day to spread awareness and support local and worldwide efforts to protect the environment against climate change.
Earth Day may be an annual celebration, but we can make daily, sustainable choices that align with this year’s theme, “Invest in our planet.”
It all starts at home
Celebrate Earth Day daily by changing some of your at-home habits. The following is not an exhaustive listing, but just a few habits for daily greener living:
- Use non-toxic cleaners in your home. Non-toxic cleaners do not contain harmful chemicals that contribute to long-term illnesses and are less hazardous to the environment. EWG offers a helpful online tool for consumers to search for greener household cleaners.
- Use energy-efficient lightbulbs. The use of energy-efficient lightbulbs reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of power used in homes. It also helps to cut your energy bills.
- Turn off appliances. The simple act of turning off lights and appliances conserves energy and reduces carbon emissions.
- Recycle. Recycling items such as batteries, cell phones, old electronics, glass, plastic bottles and containers, aluminum, and wire hangers can help create a “circular economy” in which items are repurposed as new products, allowing for continuous use of resources. Recycling also combats climate change by decreasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
- Use dishcloths, sponges, and reusable cloth napkins instead of paper towels. Paper production is one of the highest energy-intensive of all manufacturing and accounts for 40% of waste in our landfills. Using dishcloths, sponges, and reusable napkins is a more eco-friendly choice.
- Turn off the water. Take shorter showers and turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth. Doing so preserves the amount of water diverted from local water sources and can save you money.
Clean up a public area
Participating in a community cleanup is an incredible way to celebrate Earth Day. Some cleanup activities include trash and litter collection, beautifying public areas, and gardening. Community cleanups can help raise awareness about the harmful effects of litter and can be an innovative way to introduce initiatives such as composting and recycling to neighbors. You can also participate in the Great Global Cleanup campaign to help remove trash and plastic pollution from local beaches, parks, trails, rivers, and lakes.
Support eco-friendly brands and products
Eco-friendly products are generally made with recycled or organic materials, are longer-lasting, and do not use toxic chemicals, making them safer than other products. As a consumer of eco-conscious products, look for brands that use less packaging. Also, consider purchasing from local sources. This helps stimulate your local economy, decreases transportation pollution, and helps maintain a lower carbon footprint. Overall, in addition to being safer to use, eco-friendly products reduce energy consumption and aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Explore our Volunteer+ directory to find local Earth Day volunteer opportunities.
As Program Manager of the Idealist Action Incubator, Carol offers guidance and support to our community of action-takers.