Celebrating Earth Day
By Susan Chandler
The first Earth Day occurred 51 years ago, April 22nd. Being a young naïve college student at the time I assumed that we would solve the problems in a year or two. Unfortunately we haven’t and it has only gotten worse. The impacts of climate change have a severe affect on our local area. Increased threat of fires, high winds, drought and dwindling snow packs. As an example, over the past 140 years the Sierra Nevada snowpack average has been 407” of snowfall, whereas in the past 10 years the average has been 313”. It is time to act and educate with gusto. This is the determining decade. We are at the point of no return and we must act now.
While we may not be able to participate with an in-person organized event on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22nd, there are still ways that you can make a difference! And remember that Earth Day is every day of the year, so you can participate any time!
This year’s theme per Earthday.org is “Restore our Earth”. On their website they have shared 51 ways (1 for each Earth Day) that you can take actions to “Restore our Earth”. These tips range from supporting the Great Global Cleanup by picking up trash while enjoying the outdoors, or changing your diet for one day each week to fight Climate Change by participating in Meatless Mondays. And please tune in to the Earth Day Live series on Thursday, April 22nd to learn firsthand from experts about campaigns and ways that you can help from a grassroots level.
Below are just a few ideas from the list of 51 actions, but there are many more to choose from. To see the full list of 51 actions go here. These might seem like small actions but if we all participate we can make a difference.
- Be a part of the change. Change your diet to fight climate change! Try participating in meatless Mondays! Check our plant based recipes. Try a foodprint calculator to find out exactly how your meals impact the planet. Meal prep is one of the biggest ways in which you can help reduce your foodprint. Check out our Foodprints for the Future campaign to see the many other ways you can get involved to help stop food waste. Buy local food to reduce the distance from farm to fork. Buy straight from the farm, frequent your local farmers’ market, or join a local food co-op. Reduce your meat consumption to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry. Learn more about your food’s impact on the environment
- Stop deforestation by supporting companies that take an active role against it. And, this Earth Day, consider donating to The Canopy Project where every dollar plants a tree.
- With the Global Earth Challenge app, anyone can be a citizen scientist! Through a mobile app, this initiative helps monitor and mitigate threats to environmental and human health. Download today and collect environmental data near you!
- Calculate your personal carbon footprint and make changes to reduce it — it’s something we can all do to help the planet.
- Plastic pollution is one of the most important environmental problems that we face today. Calculate your personal plastic consumption then use our tips to help break free from single-use plastics! Use a reusable water bottle to make a big impact on your plastic consumption and avoid single use plastic items and if possible buy products in glass or paper. Glass products are easily reused and paper is a much friendlier product to the environment.
- Help protect pollinators by pledging to go pesticide-free! We need pollinators to ensure the persistence of our crop yields and ensure healthy sustainable ecosystems now and in the future. Sign our pledge to limit the amount of pesticides used in your garden. Save the butterflies and bees! Help contribute to meaningful scientific research on pollinator populations through the Global Earth Challenge mobile application. It’s as easy as snapping a picture.
- How much do you know about clean energy? Test your knowledge by taking our quiz and make small adjustments to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Action requires education. Test your knowledge of climate and environmental literacy with the Earth Day.org quiz
Take a CNN quiz to find out what you know about the most effective ways of curbing climate change .https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2019/04/specials/climate-change-solutions-quiz/index.html
Sign up for the Nature Conservancy Climate Change Symposium featuring Jane Goodall, Alexandra Cousteau, Dolores Huerta and others for a virtual earth day summit on April 21, 2021. To learn about their work in the fight against climate change and what you can do to make a difference in the “Determining Decade” register for the summit at nature.org/casummit
Yes, this is a political issue. Your vote and voice matter. Do research on your local candidates and vote like the Earth depends on it. Just think how our world might be different if Al Gore had won instead of Bush in 2000. We’ve missed decades worth of opportunities for climate action. Now, we’re running out of time to correct our mistakes. Contact your representative and tell them that the health of people and the planet should be the top priority. Send a letter to your local elected officials urging them to ban plastic bags and other single-use plastic items. Advocate for governments to make climate change and climate literacy a core feature of school curriculum across the globe.
Join EARTHDAY.ORG and thousands of groups around the globe as we stand up for three days of climate action summits from April 20-22. Hear from activists, educators, researchers, musical artists, influencers and more. Mark your calendar and learn more.