TODAY IS EARTH DAY, and given that it’s still a relatively new holiday (it’s only been around since 1970) with less established traditions, you may find yourself at a loss for how to celebrate it. We’ve got a few ideas to get you started.
Save a rainforest!
You can start by helping to fund the conservation of our rainforests: The website Stand For Trees runs a really cool program that directs you towards programs in developing countries that support local conservation efforts. While planting trees is great, keeping the trees we already have in the ground standing is even better.
Attend an event!
Earth Day events are literally all over the globe — from political protests, to local celebrations, to group litter clean-ups, if you are on land, you are not far away from an Earth Day event.
Plant a tree!
One of the initiatives being organized by EarthDay.org is a tree-planting initiative that hopes to plant 50,000 trees by the end of Earth Day this year. They of course want to plant far more than that — their goal is 7.8 billion, enough to match all of the people on earth — but you can help by donating at their site, or by going out and planting a tree yourself.
Ride your bike to work!
One of the main goals of Earth Day is to promote more sustainable ways of living on our planet. Given that transportation accounts for 26 percent of all carbon emissions in the United States, one of the best small things you can do to fight climate change and protect the planet is to skip driving for a day. You might find it’s not so bad — and consider doing it more frequently.
Skip eating meat!
Livestock bred for human consumption accounts for a disproportionate amount of carbon emissions. A more sustainable world is one in which less meat is eaten. If you can’t go full veg (or even vegan) then at the very least, you should try to cut back your overall meat consumption. Having a once-a-week meatless day is a good start (so long as you don’t make up for it on the other days), and any reduction is for the better.
Clean up a park or a beach!
One of the simplest things you can do in a local community is to clean up litter. This can be anywhere — if you live by a park, head to the park. If you live by a beach, go to the beach. If you don’t live by anything, just stay where you are: litter has a tendency to end up in our streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans, where it can do a lot of damage. Any little bit you can do to prevent it from getting there helps.
Go for a hike!
The entire point of Earth Day is to bring humans into harmony with the planet we live on. So even if you don’t do anything in the way of activism, your time will still be well-spent if you go outside and spend more time in nature than you usually would. Go hike around your local woods, or take a road trip to your nearest state or national park. In the words of the great environmentalist Edward Abbey:
“Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”