The official theme for Earth Day 2023 is ‘Invest in Our Planet.’ which is focused on engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and the more than 1 billion citizens who participate annually in Earth Day to do their part — everyone accounted for, everyone accountable.
But what does this mean to you and me? How can we be part of this movement in a way that makes an impact? How can we be involved in this important work and ensure we leave a lasting legacy for our children?
For you and I – the individual – we have the obligation to push for sustainable solutions across the board as voters and consumers. Vote with your wallet is the practical and effective way encourage positive change from both private companies and government institutions.
Climate change mitigation, restoration, and adaption require the collective will and voice of the people to make the change the planet needs.
Looking for immediate action? Here are 7 simple things you can start doing today to make a difference:
1. Plant Your Own Vegetable Garden
If you are lucky enough to have a small patch of earth around your home, you can plant a garden! Even if you think you may not have the space, think creatively – there are vertical gardens, sky planters and container gardening. Growing your own food is a fun and impactful way to help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. By growing your own vegetables, you reduce the amount you must purchase from grocery stores which directly impacts the amount of fossil fuels burned by importing from around the world. In addition, plastic packaging waste is completely eliminated and best of all: fresh food tastes better when its picked at peak perfection.
2. Download the Earth Challenge App
Download Earth Day Network’s new Earth Challenge app to gather air quality and pollution data in you community. Without leaving home, users can record the quality of air outside their window. Each reading will be added to a global database of knowledge to help scientist understand how our world works and how we can protect it.
3. Cut Plastic Pollution
You can make a plan to cut down your personal plastic pollution. Look around your kitchen and bathroom and count how many plastic containers, bottles, wraps, and bags you have purchased. Can you reduce this waste? ? Switch to products that use recycled plastics in their construction and packaging ? Bring your own bags when grocery shopping ? When you make to-go orders from restaurants, say “No Thank You” to plastic utensils ? Set up separate plastic recycling bins to ensure no plastic waste is accidentally tossed with the regular trash
4. Try a New Plant-Based Recipe
Eating a plant-based diet can be good for your health as well as the environment. Research shows that shifting away from animal-based foods would significantly reduce carbon emissions and waste byproducts. Spend some of your lock-down time trying out fun new plant-based recipes with the family. Here are a few of our favorites!
5. Ride Your Bike
Cycling directly benefits our world and environment by eliminating carbon emissions and greenhouse gases from your commute. Hopping on your bike for quick runs around town are not only more healthy for your body, but they they reduce traffic, noise, and parking congestion. Start today with short bike rides to build up your stamina. In some of the more congested cities, you can find that you’re bike commute takes the same amount of time as your car commute!
6. Listen to TED Talks on Environmental Activism
Take time to watch these informative and motivational TED Talks as they cover environmental topics of earth, air, water, energy, pollution, and wildlife. Who knows, you may be inspired to research further! Here are 5 of our all-time favorite talks on the environment:
- Why Bees are Disappearing by Marla Spivak
- My Wish: Protect Our Oceans by Sylvia Earle
- How to Grow Fresh Air by Kamal Meattle
- We Can Recycle Plastic by Mike Biddle
- Let the Environment Guide Our Development by Johan Rockstrom
7. Create a Compost Bin
When organic waste is dumped at landfills, it generates the potent greenhouse gas called methane. Composting food waste at home helps significantly reduce methane emissions from landfills. According to epa.gov, composting can help aid reforestation, wetlands restoration, and habitat revitalization efforts by improving contaminated, compacted, and marginal soils. Once you have a compost bin or area of your yard set up – you can compost all sorts of household organic waste:
- vegetable and fruit scraps
- fresh grass clippings
- egg and nut shells
- coffee grounds
- tea bags
- dead leaves, branches, pine cones, and pine needles
- paper egg cartons
- wine corks
As soon as your compost pile begins to work, you’ll be supplied with super fertile soil for your gardens, planters, and shrubbery!