Whether you’re a student or a parent, there are countless ways to celebrate Earth Day all year long. Make it a goal to be an active environmentalist, and help protect our planet.
One way to do this is by planting a tree. A tree absorbs carbon, helps reduce air pollution and enhances biodiversity.
1. Plant a Tree
Planting trees is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to help tackle climate change and show your Earth some love. Trees naturally absorb air pollution by removing carbon dioxide and storing it in their leaves and roots. This helps reduce the atmospheric carbon level, slows climate change and decreases pollution of particulates.
Trees also provide many benefits to our environment, such as reducing water and soil erosion, providing habitat for wildlife and providing shade on hot days. They also save energy by cooling homes and lowering electricity bills.
Since the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, it has grown into a global celebration of the planet with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects. Today, millions of people in 192 countries observe Earth Day to increase public awareness of environmental problems and encourage actions to combat them.
This year’s Earth Day theme is Invest in Our Planet. During the event, thousands of organizations will host in-person and virtual events for all ages and interests.
Whether you choose to plant a tree in your yard or join a community planting event, this is a simple and fun way to get kids involved with nature. It will also teach them about the benefits of trees and how they can affect the environment.
2. Play in the Dirt
Playing in the dirt is a great way to celebrate Earth Day, and it’s an activity kids can do year-round. It’s also a fun and easy way to teach kids about the importance of protecting the environment.
This activity is a great way to teach kids about composting, which recycles organic waste into nutrient-rich soil. You can get a compost bin from your local garden center, or make your own with a few supplies.
If your students don’t have a compost bin, help them start one by teaching them how to separate plastics, metals, cardboard and glass into separate bins. This is a skill they’ll use for the rest of their lives, so it’s important to teach them early on!
After learning how to compost, encourage them to add kitchen waste and other organic matter to their bin. This way, they’ll be creating a soil-rich environment in their own backyard!
If your kids don’t want to go now outside on Earth Day, they can still participate in the holiday by taking a virtual tour of a nature preserve, zoo, or other environmental wonder. These tours take place in the comfort of your home and are guided by experts online.
3. Create a Compost Bin
Whether you’re an avid gardener or just want to do your part in honoring Earth Day, creating a compost bin is a great way to make it happen. Composting helps to cut down on greenhouse gases from food scraps, leaves and other biodegradable items that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
Composting is a natural and easy way to reduce your household’s waste production. In addition to reducing the amount of trash going to landfills, it also helps to keep chemicals out of our waterways and ecosystems by recycling nutrients back into the soil.
To create a good compost pile, start with a mixture of wet (green) and dry (brown) materials. This can include fresh food scraps, coffee grounds, wood chips, shredded paper, dried leaves and grass clippings.
Once you’ve gathered up enough materials to make a three-foot-deep pile, it’s time to get started. Turn your compost pile every few days to help with air flow and aeration.
When it’s ready, you can add the resulting compost to your garden or other landscaping project, such as planting a new vegetable garden or fruit tree. You’ll be rewarded with a richer and healthier soil that you won’t need to use chemical fertilizers on.
Composting is a fun, family-friendly activity that you can do together and in honor of Earth Day! There are lots of different compost systems to choose from, so you’ll be able to find one that works best for you.
4. Go for a Hike
Hiking is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature and get exercise, but it can also help you improve your mental health. Scientists say that taking a walk in the woods can reduce rumination (anxiety) and boost mood. In addition, hiking can increase levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain like dopamine and endorphins, according to a recent study.
When you’re planning a hike, be sure to pick a trail that is safe and within your ability level. You should also check the weather a few hours before your hike to make sure it’s going to be okay, and tell someone where you’re going.
If you’re planning on a longer hike, be sure to bring enough water, snacks, and clothes to stay warm and dry. Wear layers that you can add or shed as needed to adapt to the temperature.
Ahead of your hike, check the park website and Twitter feed to see if trails are closed or are going to be difficult. This is an important step because it gives you time to change plans and avoid the risk of getting lost.
If severe weather is expected, plan to go to a lower spot on the hike, and if lightning strikes, take shelter under a rock rather than standing under a tree. Be sure to tell friends and family where you are going so they can check in and call for help if it becomes necessary.
5. Take a Virtual Tour
While you may not be able to travel to a national park, many of the nation’s 62 national parks offer virtual tours. These include a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon or fjords of Alaska, hiking with a virtual map and even drone video of national lands and waterways.
If you’re looking for more hands-on activities, the Smithsonian Learning Lab has a special area dedicated to Earth Day that features some amazing photography and videos. The site also offers tons of information and lesson ideas about animals, the planet, and more.
The exhibition explores past and present environmental activism both nationally and locally, the reality of the current global climate crisis, and sustainable practices for a livable future. It also shows that progress in environmental issues can be achieved through the everyday actions we take.
Several local organizations and businesses regularly consider the impact of their decisions on carbon emissions and climate change, including Alachua Conservation Trust, Sierra Club, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, League of Women Voters, and Gainesville’s chapter of Climate Reality. These groups act as if every day were Earth Day, and they’re making real strides to fight climate change.
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6. Make a Plan
While the focus of Earth Day is often on big projects, there are plenty of smaller things we can do to protect our planet year-round. Getting started is easy, and it’s an excellent way to build a foundation for a more eco-friendly future.
One of the easiest things you can do to start making a difference is to use less water in your home. This can be something as simple as turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth or taking a 5-minute shower instead of a full-on bath. Or it could be something as significant as replacing a standard light bulb with an energy-efficient one.
Another way to make a difference is by changing your family’s diet. Choosing to eat more food from local sources can be an inexpensive and delicious way to help the environment, while also saving money on your food bill.
This is an especially easy change to make at home and it can be an awesome way to introduce the idea of reducing our carbon footprint to your family. You can even take it a step further by teaching your children about the importance of eating more plants, and how to grow them at home.
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