Almost 50 years ago, 20 million Americans participated in massive coast-to-coast rallies, advocating for heathy, sustainable environments on America’s first Earth Day celebration. Today, speaking up for our planet is more important than ever as our country teeters on the edge of returning to reckless industrialization or moving forward with responsible innovation. Since the beginning, we were entrusted to care for the earth, so I wanted to share 5 easy ways you can celebrate Earth Day while making a lasting impact for generations to come.
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycling is one of the easiest ways you can celebrate- most counties have a central recycling pick-up service, and recycling reciprocals are often located in accessible areas. Take a moment this weekend to familiarize yourself with what items your reciprocals will accept. I also challenge you to take recycling a step further and work toward cutting out plastic consumption all together with a zero waste lifestyle. Over the last few months, I made a handful of these changes myself!
Recycling also goes beyond far more than the traditional plastics, glass and metals we’re familiar with. Did you know? You can actually recycle old electronics at Best Buy, recycle (or resell) clothes and compost certain foods and paper products. Before tossing anything in the trash, think first, can this be recycled or reused?
2. Grow A Garden, Plant a Tree
Spring is the perfect time to plant a garden or grow herbs in your kitchen. Not only will your new plant babies add flavor to your dishes, they’ll bring clean air into your home and neighborhood as they “exhale” oxygen. Gardening can also include flowers, bushes, trees and more. When you plant new foliage, the roots will help prevent erosion and the plant itself offers new habitats for local wildlife, making your yard an outdoor oasis.
3. Clean Up Outdoor Messes
When I worked at Crooked River Adventures, I regularly saw tires, traffic cones and other trash sitting in the Cuyahoga River on low water days. This Earth Day (and every day) you can intentionally pick up trash in our parks, rivers and cities. My town also plans to host a Clean Up Kent event Saturday, April 21- check with your city leaders to see how you can help clean up your hometown too.
4. Learn About Our Earth
Education is the foundation of economic prosperity, improved societies and overall growth of individuals and nations. Make an effort to learn something new about our wonderful planet and your place in it. You could visit a nature center, enroll in an environmentalism program, read a book, watch documentaries like Planet Earth 2 or Before The Flood with Leonardo DiCaprio… the list goes on. Learning is the necessary first step to making any kind of lasting impact- if you don’t know it, how can you support it?
5. Go Outside
This one’s simple: get off the couch and go outside! As you’ll find in this blog, Ohio has an unending amount of outdoor recreation. Our state is filled with national, state and local parks, breathtaking cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls, rivers, lakes, forests, meadows, swamps– really anything you can think of, I’d argue we have it or something very similar. So find a way to be outside this Earth Day! My plan is to go camping at West Branch State Park and make some awesome memories with my friends.
Earth Day celebrations don’t have to be limited to just one day out of the year. Why not take one or two suggestions from my list and make them a new habit? Will you commit to reducing your trash through recycling? Or read up on Ohio’s habitat preservation efforts? Maybe it’s as simple as going outside more often. Regardless, I hope you’ll make Earth Day and what it stands for less a holiday and more of a lifestyle.