How do you celebrate Earth Day?
Please allow me to preface my earth day post by noting if you are able to be at home with any size yard, you have reason to be thankful. If you are planting a garden, toasting marshmallows for s’mores, or sending your kids out to jump on the trampoline, give thanks! There are many people across the globe who live in a place where nature is not even visible.
For the last seven years, our family has celebrated Earth Day by attending our local EarthFest. Half of those years were ones I set up an educational booth to teach zero-waste methods. This year would have been Knoxville’s 21st Earthfest event.
Instead of festivals and celebrations, this year, there will be numerous virtual events going on all over the internet as Earth Day goes digital. Try to attend one or more online teach-ins with your family.
The Earth Day Theme for 2020 is Climate Action.
What this means is our goal will be to step up our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions worldwide are still on the rise.
Therefore I want to encourage you to celebrate Earth Day at home by making a pledge to take action. Just remember effort is a better goal than perfection.
By making the decision to reduce waste, you’ve taken the first step towards a cleaner planet. Next, set a goal to learn or implement a new strategy for reducing waste on a regular basis. Maybe every month or every other week.
Let your family know that you are vowing to make a difference and tell them which steps you are taking and how they can help.
Stay inspired and learn more by following some zero waste accounts on social media. Just look for the hashtag #wastefree or #zerowaste
Of course, achieving “zero” waste is pretty much impossible, but it is a good goal as long as you realize it’s a life-long journey. One in which you will continue to challenge yourself in new ways. I like to think in terms of reducing waste or “low-waste” but the term “zero-waste” is more popular.
Repurpose items that would otherwise be headed to a landfill. Creating art from repurposed materials is a fun and educational way to reduce waste, inspire your children, and de-stress.
Repurpose wine bottles into cool stuff for your home. Here’s how to use dryer lint in your garden with this STEM activity. Why not UPcycle your old stuff – I like the license plate room divider. You can also reuse paper; here are some clever ways to do it.
If you’ve been thinking about decluttering don’t toss useful items in the garbage! This article demonstrates 30 Creative Ways to Repurpose & Reuse Old Stuff. Check out how they turn a ladder into a bookshelf!
Instead of automatically buying everything new, try to buy the stuff you need second hand. Especially clothes! Fast fashion is a huge problem, so educate yourself on the subject and commit to making changes. Clothing recovery and reuse for charity purposes is an important part of the recycling effort. So consider donating your gently used clothing to a local shelter or other not-for-profit charity.
Earth Day Eats
This year, since we are all at home, why not start some seeds or plot a section of your yard to start your own victory garden? Grow some sprouts if you don’t have a yard.
Browse Pinterest for recipes to create a plant-based menu for the day. Have your new homeschool students work alongside you, choosing recipes and helping you cook.
Listen to this podcast episode about food waste, world hunger, and why you should love ugly tomatoes! Let your children listen to it with you.
Explain how you are all helping the environment by implementing these food saving tips:
- plan your meals
- only buy what you can eat
- eat what you buy
- freeze leftovers
- shop in bulk when you can
- avoid over-packaged foods
- use the Zero Waste Cookbook
Pets can join the Earth Day Celebration
Include your furry friends on Earth Day! Here are some recipes for homemade dog treats using 5 ingredients or less. After you brush your cat, leave the fur outside near a tree for birds, they will use it to line their nests!
Earth Friendly Travel
Since you’re already at home, you could try to think of it as a staycation, that is unless you are one of many heroes out working to keep us all safe or provide us with essentials.
Make plans for next year to travel locally – reduce flights when possible. Flying contributes to global carbon emissions, so only fly when necessary. Here’s a list of cities in America that look like foreign countries; make a bucket list of places you want to visit at some point after the “stay home advisory” is lifted.
When we are all able to get out and about more, consider your transportation methods. Walk or ride a bike when possible. Carpool or use public transportation where available.
Earth Day Cleaning at Home
Spring is a good time to implement some eco-friendly cleaning routines. Instead of cleaners with toxic chemicals, try natural cleaning solutions.
When you wear out your plastic and nylon bristle brushes, opt for natural bristle brushes with handles made from bamboo.
Consider cleaning laundry and dishes with Dropps. Eco-responsible packaging, no unnecessary fillers or dyes, and the company uses carbon-neutral shipping, meaning a net zero amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Ditch paper towels. If you have some old sheets that are stretched out or too faded to use, consider cutting them up to use for glass cleaning rags. Make your own glass cleaner to go with them. Using the blue spray is toxic anyway!
It’s more important than ever to wash your fruits and vegetables as the CDC recommends to prevent the spread of deadly viruses.
Reduce waste in the shower
In the bathroom consider installing a simple under the seat bidet to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use.
For showering, swap out your plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles for bars. These are my favorites:
- Small batch Shampoo Bar (I also use this instead of shaving cream with my safety razor!)
- Citrus Silk Conditioner Bar
When you use up the single-use items you already have, like razors, replace them with reusable products. (Never throw out perfectly good products to replace them with reusables, that defeats the purpose of zero waste!)
Start your own zero waste projects
Why not start your own community project? You can do a cleanup project, help small cafes and coffee shops recycle, or teach zero-waste workshops. Start with something you are already doing and simply share with others how you have achieved success.
Take a walk with your family, invite your neighbors, and pick up trash as you go.
At home, start with a “trash audit” – for one week analyze everything you toss. The average person has one giant garbage can in the kitchen plus, let’s start there.
What’s inside your bin:
- Glass (from spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise, beer, wine, and more) – separate this into a recycling bin
- Mixed paper – (cereal boxes, mail, old notes, etc.) – this can be recycled in with “mixed paper” or “cardboard”
- Plastic – Mustard bottles, yogurt cups, and other plastics are recyclable, rinse them and put them aside for recycling.
- Food Waste – Carrot peels, eggshells, avocado pits, and other food waste can go into the compost bin. Chicken bones can even go into the Foodcycler, which is what I use instead of composting. You can also sign up with a local company to have your compost collected to make nutrient-rich soil to add to gardens.
- Batteries – Take the batteries to the city or county recycling facility (call to see if your local facilities accept batteries first).
- Other stuff – Dirt swept off the floor – can be added to compost.
Vote, Speak Up, Get Heard
Use your power for good, get creative and stay involved. Show up at elections and vote for environmental change. Join a peaceful protest and let your voice be heard.
Contact Congress about taking action towards a 100% clean energy economy. “A newly introduced bill in Congress would set the United States’ economy on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050. Ask your member of Congress to cosponsor the 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019.”
Ask companies for greener policies. For example, if you notice unnecessary packaging in the produce section of the supermarket you frequent, ask to speak to the manager and make your preferences known. Perhaps your favorite brand of apples are only available in a plastic bag, reach out to them asking to reduce packaging.
Pass on what you know to your friends and family. If you are passionate about reducing waste and you have great ideas and inspiring things to say, why not start your own website like the one you are on right now? Grab this bundle and get started.
Learn all you can about Climate Action and the Low-Waste Lifestyle
Sign up for future workshops here.
Learn more about Climate Action: Read these books for inspiration on reducing waste:
- 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg
- Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson (also available on kindle unlimited)
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