If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already familiar with Earth Day. This annual event — celebrated worldwide on April 22nd — is a chance to focus on our planet, teach people young and old alike about conservation, and try new things to help ourselves live greener lives. If you haven’t already made Earth Day plans, now is the time to figure some out!
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of activities related to different environmental issues which are great jumping-off points for your own Earth Day celebrations. These activities are also a great way to educate children or even friends about environmental issues and the importance of living a greener lifestyle. In fact, why limit your plans to one day? Why not celebrate an “Earth Month” and try one or more of these fun activities each week!
This article is the first in a two-part celebration of Earth Day we’ll be holding here on The Keeper Eco-Blog. We’re also holding a giveaway in which you could win one of 10 cups of your choice. We’ll announce the winners via our newsletter and email the winners to get cup size and cup choice. Sign up for our newsletter for giveaway announcements and other special offers, along with great tips on living green:Sign up for our newsletter here!
Combat Habitat Loss in Your Own Backyard
97 percent of all animal species on Earth are invertebrates (worms, insects, spiders, etc.) and more than half of them are endangered. There are probably also many times more invertebrates out there than are currently known to science, and the number of them endangered is likely similar, if not higher. The primary cause of endangerment for these species is habitat loss. If our insect friends have nowhere to live, they will go extinct, and because of how interconnected life on Earth is, will likely take other animals, who may be more recognizable, with them.
You can help by converting your backyard or local community green space into an official National Wildlife Federation Habitat. Even small green spaces in the urban landscape can provide shelter and the basics for local invertebrates and small animals: food, water, shelter, and a safe space to rest. Sustainable gardening methods can also be used for an even greener space.
Help Study and Preserve Biodiversity by Getting Involved
The diversity of species in a given habitat can be a good indicator of the health of the planet as a whole. Since the Industrial Revolution, a slow but steady decline in biodiversity has been observed. Studying diversity can help predict impending mass extinctions, as well.
If you can find a local land trust to volunteer with, they can connect you to local biodiversity initiatives. There are many citizen scientist efforts out there, cataloguing everything from bird to frogs to insects to plants — pick a group which interests you and learn some identification skills to help collect data on what’s going on in local environments. You’ll be assisting conservation groups and scientists in learning which species are threatened, and helping to identify what is responsible for those biodiversity losses.
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Fight Deforestation by Planting Trees
The world’s forests are in real danger of being wiped out by human carelessness and exploitation of the environment. Close to half of the Earth’s tropical forests have already been cut down to develop the land, farm it, or raise livestock. Clear cutting impacts so many environmental issues: it releases carbon stores which contribute to global warming, it destroys countless animal habitats, and it causes the extinction of many species, most of which we haven’t catalogued or discovered the value of yet.
Take a more active role in replenishing the trees we cut down by planting new ones. Whether you plant a tree in your own yard with your children, or go on a weekend expedition to plant as part of a reforestation initiative, this is one way to ensure that we keep some trees around! Other ideas include volunteering with a local construction group that rescues and/or repurposes trashed wood from buildings and construction sites for reuse.
Clean Polluted Waters with Local Initiatives
Any way you look at it, conserving water is a great way to live a greener life, but pollution is a major issue affecting the water we do have, and determining whether it can be used by people or even the wild species that depend on it. Some of the perpetrators when it comes to water pollution include: litter, chemical waste, industrial run-off, and other waste which hasn’t been properly taken care of. This sort of pollution can cause illness in both people and animals, kill plants, and harm sea life.
Find a water-related event near you by searching online or asking a local conservation group. Put on your old shoes, grab some rubber boots or hip-waders, and join a clean-up initiative at a local stream, river, or pond. Helping to maintain water quality at a local level can not only make a difference for the planet but for your community, as well.
Fight Global Warming by Educating Yourself and Others
Climate change is the biggest issue facing our planet today, and unfortunately it’s also become one of the most controversial. Due to the monetary costs of being eco-friendly, businesses have put the pressure on governments and scientists to downplay the importance of paying attention to global climate change, and sowed seeds of doubt among the public. People don’t want to face facts, and instead deny that it’s even happening, blame it on the Earth’s natural processes, or spread other misinformation. What’s not arguable when you look at the real data, though, is that humans are the primary cause.
If you’d rather not go out and get your boots muddy, one of the best ways to help save the planet is by educating yourself on environmental issues such as climate change, and sharing what you’ve learned with friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and even random strangers. Go to a reliable, scientific source such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and study up on the problem. Then, once you’ve got the facts in hand, come up with some polite counterarguments to share with the next person you hear talking about how global warming is a lie.
Finally, if you’re determined to make a real difference in every way possible, consider switching to the most sustainable menstrual product on the market. A Keeper ® or Moon Cup ® will be one of the best investments you make, both for yourself and the planet. Happy Earth Day, and share your plans with us in the comments section!
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Jennie Lyon is a green lifestyle writer and the owner of Sweet Greens, the award-winning green lifestyle blog. She posts on simple, fun ways families can go green together – starting with her own. When she isn’t blogging, you will find her paddleboarding, sailing, beach-combing, camping, or spending time with her amazing husband and 14-year old son