This year, on April 22nd, marks the 50th anniversary of the original Earth Day celebrations, which was started by Senator Gaylord Nelson in the United States in 1970. Traditionally, Earth Day has been honored with public gatherings and community events, where people come together to celebrate the Earth and commit to treating the planet with care and respect.
Current social distancing practices means that we’ll all be honoring Earth Day privately from our homes this year. But because our celebrations aren’t public, doesn’t diminish our commitment to a healthy planet. Here are a few ways you can honor the Earth from home.
1. Turn the lights off
Electricity generation emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Turning off the lights - even just for one hour - stops these emissions, and at the same time can lower your electric bill. Switching to candlelight for a few hours on Earth Day is a gentle reminder that electricity is a resource to be grateful for, and using it mindfully is better for our planet and your wallet.
2. Plant food
Growing your own food gets you back to nature, gives you an appreciation for where your food comes from and can increase your feelings of independence and food security. While you’re home, try planting a small vegetable patch or even herbs in pots. Having a few of your own simple food sources will heighten your awareness of what you eat, and how food gets to your table.
3. Start to compost
Food scraps and yard waste currently makes up 28 percent of what we throw away. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane gas. And the fertile soil you’ll develop from composting will be a great addition to your new vegetable patch! If you don’t have outdoor space, a small compost bin can be kept in a cupboard in your kitchen.
4. Buy Eco
When buying things for yourself or your home, be mindful of what you’re buying and where it’s coming from. Choose items that don’t contain excess packaging like shampoo bars, reusable items like bamboo water bottles, and common household items made from sustainable materials. Look up the companies you’re buying from, and when you can, choose local companies that are trying to keep it green.