“The Earth is what we all have in common.”— Wendell Berry
There are few things all people share, but the Earth is one of the most important. We all have to share this land and face the consequences of our actions on the environment, and so we must do our part to protect the Earth.
Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22, and it’s time to start thinking about how you will celebrate this year. Here you’ll find our best tips and favorite activities you and your family can take part in, even with the pandemic still looming.
Earth Day History—What Is Earth Day and Why Do We Celebrate It?
Earth Day has been celebrated every year on April 22 since 1970. Leading up to the inaugural Earth Day event, there was growing public concern over pollution’s environmental effects. Unregulated industrial consumption led to air, land and water pollution with little regard and few consequences.
Public awareness grew with the release of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962, which raised concerns over the link between pollution and public health. The book sold over 500,000 copies worldwide and included in The New York Times Best Seller list.
The environmental consciousness movement continued to grow, and included lawmakers who were poised to act. After the disastrous Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969, Senator Gaylord Nelson began planning for what would become the first-ever Earth Day.
Senator Nelson enlisted Congressman Pete McCloskey and activist Denis Hayes to organize a teach-in inspired by student anti-war protests. The event was to be held at college campuses across the country but soon expanded to include the broader population. The event was dubbed Earth Day and inspired over 20 million people to celebrate the cause.
Earth Day united the country and catalyzed environmental protection laws. The Environmental Protection Agency was created within the same year and led to the passage of laws such as the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and many more.
The celebration of Earth Day continued to gain steam, and the event went global in 1990. These raised efforts helped lead to the 1992 United Nations Earth Day Summit.
Today the event engages over 1 billion people worldwide each year and continues to grow, spreading awareness on creating a cleaner environment.
To learn more about the origins of Earth Day, visit. EarthDay.org.
Earth Day Tips
There are countless ways to celebrate Earth Day, but one of the best things you can do is educate yourself on the cause and let your voice be heard in your community.
Another way to get involved is to consider your impact on the environment. You can use tools to measure your carbon footprint or foodprint to understand your consumption’s environmental cost and where you can cut back.
Below we’ve listed a few simple ways we can make environmentally conscious decisions daily. For even more tips, read our blog 11 Ways To Treat Every Day Like Earth Day.
One way to make an impact is through mindful consumption of water. Fresh water is a limited resource but essential for life. Though 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, only 2.5% of it is fresh water. It is critically important that we be concerned about the significant issues surrounding the quantity and quality of fresh water. FreshWater Watch reports that by 2050, almost half of the world will be living in areas facing water scarcity.
You can do your part by conserving water at home. Here are a few ways you can cut back on water consumption:
- Water the lawn wisely – Our lawns and outdoor plants need water to grow, but caring for your yard can lead to high water consumption. Try limiting watering to once a week and water in the evening or early morning to reduce evaporation. Consider converting all or part of your lawn to xeriscaping and choose drought-tolerant plants if you want to go further.
- Add shut-off nozzles to hoses – Another option for reducing outdoor water usage is to install shut-off nozzles to all hoses. These nozzles let you shut the hose off while you don’t need it without having to walk back to the spout.
- Choose efficient appliances – Modern appliances, like dishwashers, washing machines, toilets and showerheads, are designed to reduce water use without compromising function. Consider an appliance’s efficiency when purchasing new items for the home.
- Defrost food in the fridge – It’s common to defrost food under running water to get it to thaw faster, but doing so can waste thousands of gallons of water yearly. Instead, plan ahead and thaw food in the fridge to reduce water consumption.
Reduce Electricity Consumption
When you turn on the lights consider the fact that electricity consumption has a massive impact on the Earth. As the world’s population and industrial consumption increase, so does the demand for electricity. It’s estimated that electricity consumption will continue to increase per capita. This will lead to further environmental degradation without intervention.
If you’d like to reduce your electricity consumption, review your usage and see where you can cut back. Here are a few common ways to reduce your energy usage.
- Install energy-efficient light bulbs – The next time your light bulb goes out, replace it with an energy-efficient bulb. LED lights are the most efficient lighting option and use about 75% less energy than conventional bulbs.
- Try smart switches and thermostats – You can save a lot of electricity by turning off your lights when you’re not using them. New home technology like smart light switches and digital thermostats can help you reduce your energy usage from the convenience of your own phone.
- Unplug electronics when not in use – Even when appliances are off, some devices, such as chargers, televisions, printers, and more, can continue to drain small amounts of electricity when still plugged into the outlet. Prevent this by unplugging electronics when not in use.
- Purchase energy-efficient appliances – Just like how modern home appliances can help you reduce your water consumption, they can also reduce your electricity usage. Energy-efficient models may have a greater upfront cost but will save you money on your electric bill over the appliance’s lifetime.
Make the Switch to Reusable Containers
Another simple way to make more environmentally-friendly choices is to start using reusable containers. Single-use containers like plastic water bottles, bags and food wrappers contribute to the environment’s declining health.
Single-use food and beverage containers are some of the most commonly littered items. These items often decompose slowly and contain harmful chemicals that leak into the ground and water. The production of these items also contributes to the pollution caused by the manufacturing industry.
Make the switch to reusable containers to reduce the demand for single-use plastics. There are reusable options for almost everything. For example, you can:
- Switch to metal, glass, or reusable plastic bottles, straws and utensils.
- Bring reusable bags on your next shopping trip.
- Bring leak-proof reusable food containers to restaurants for leftovers and to-go orders.
Earth Day Activities and Projects for Kids and Families
Earth Day 2021 is right around the corner, so it’s time to start planning how you will celebrate it this year. Even if you forgo large community gatherings, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Earth Day this year from your home. Below we’ve listed some fun Earth Day activities for kids and families.
Find more activities to take on at home in our blog Tips and Tools for Staying Green While at Home With Your Kids in 2021.
Get Crafty With These 6 Earth Day Crafts
A great way to get kids invested in Earth Day is with a fun craft. Use this opportunity to teach kids about Earth Day’s history and goals and instill environmental consciousness while creating a timeless memory that you can cherish forever.
Here are six crafts to create with recycled materials for Earth Day this year:
- Build a fairy garden
- Make corn husk dolls
- Create candle votives with recycled jars
- Paint with styrofoam prints
- Make seed balls
- Make a bird feeder with pinecones and peanut butter
You can also print out our Earth Day coloring pages for another fun activity.
Enjoy the Outdoors on a Trash Cleanup Hike
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to go outside and enjoy the outdoors? If outdoor gatherings are still off the table for your family this year, you can still get out and celebrate this year with a trash cleanup hike.
Take a walk around your neighborhood, favorite park or walking trail, and bring a bag to clean up any litter you find. Doing so will get your family active, improve your community and instill a sense of responsibility for the environment in your kids. Use this opportunity to teach your kids about the value of leaving outdoor spaces better than you found them.
Test Your Knowledge With Free Quizzes and Classes
The most important thing you can do to celebrate Earth Day is to educate yourself on the issues facing the environment. There are educational resources available for all age-groups, so make it a point to help the whole family learn something new about Earth Day this year.
The early education of our youth about the necessity of environmental protection is crucial to our future. Today’s children will become tomorrow’s leaders, and if we want to make faster progress on our conservation efforts, we need our kids to know the importance of environmental consciousness.
Introduce your children to these concepts this year with the help of TDS. Take part in our Eco Academy this Earth Day to educate K-12 students about landfills, recycling and composting options. Lesson 1 of the curriculum available for free online.
You can find plenty of online teaching resources for additional lessons and test your knowledge with quizzes from EarthDay.org.
Celebrate Earth Day With TDS
There are all kinds of ways to celebrate Earth Day. No matter how you choose to celebrate this year, the goal is the same. The purpose of Earth Day is to unify us and teach us the importance of protecting our environment.
Let TDS help you with how you celebrate Earth Day this year. Use our tips outlined above or visit our blog to learn more about proper waste disposal and sustainability efforts.
Let’s make Earth Day 2021 the best one yet!