By Charlotte Pototsky, member of the SSC Zero Waste and Youth Committee, with a few edits from SSC Founder, Dr. Ricky Stern
Earth Day is just around the corner. Here are a few of my favorite ideas for actions you may want to try out in honor of Earth Day this year! Enjoy!
- Do a litter pick up!
This is something anyone can do as long as the weather cooperates. You don’t need anyone else to help you out, but it sure does make it a lot more fun when you invite friends and/or family to come along. The best part is that you can pick up double the trash if you invite even just one friend!
Not much time? So… start small. Everyone should do something sustainable on Earth Day. Start with a piece or two of litter. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole bag full of trash and you’ll have saved a ton of wildlife from being affected by garbage.
- Build a backyard compost
Today is as good a day as any to build a backyard compost. It really is a super simple process. All you need to start is a bin of some sort that is big enough to fit many months’ worth of compostable scraps. Trust me, you might make a lot more compost than you expect. On average, Americans throw away a pound of food waste every day! Watch this video to learn more about composting. Heck, watch all of my videos this Earth day!
- Buy nothing
To have the best impact on the planet, have no impact… well no negative impact. Buying products is unfortunately one of the easiest ways to have a negative impact on the environment. Instead, on Earth Day commit to: Buy nothing. Save money. Save the planet. You will automatically now save the energy it takes to ship the product, the waste it eventually creates that goes into the landfill, the chemicals created as the waste matter breaks down and everything upstream that is harmed in the process of making your item. If you find that you DO need something on Earth Day, look for a second-hand version. It can reduce at least some percent of your waste created!
- Plant seeds
At this point, we are about a month into Spring. Now is a great time to plant some seeds. People often plant trees for Earth Day, which is an awesome idea, but you can also do something as simple as starting a small garden. There are numerous plants that you can grow this time of year. I strongly encourage you to try it, if you have access to some seeds.
- Read books about sustainability to educate yourself
Reading books is an awesome way to educate yourself about sustainability (as is watching any of my YouTube videos!). Reading books can help you see these issues from a personal perspective as well as a societal one. A few months ago, Bill Gates released his book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. Last month I finished reading the book The Future We Choose. There are so many great books out there about Climate Change and Sustainable Living. I recommend you either support your local library, borrow a book from a friend, or find an online pdf to avoid buying anything or wasting trees.
- Eat vegan or vegetarian meals all day
Of course, I recommend you do this every day, but if you chose to go vegan one day out of the entire year, I think Earth Day is the best day to do it! There are vegan options out there for everything! However, you can also just stick to good old fruits and vegetables and grains for a day. It reduces your carbon footprint substantially.
- Use public transit or walk or bike everywhere
One of the most emission producing daily practices we contribute to every day is how we get around. I strongly suggest that you just boycott your car for a day! Walk wherever you can instead. Of course, if you have somewhere you need to go and you can’t carpool, walk, bike, or take public transportation, then don’t worry about it. Again, I just give suggestions. Strong suggestions!
- Overall – Just try making as little waste as possible
I’ve mentioned before that it is actually impossible to make no waste, but you can try just for a day. If you aren’t buying anything, it becomes a lot easier to produce minimal waste. Simply reduce and set goals for yourself such as not creating the 4.5 pound of trash that the average American throws away every day! It definitely takes some effort but really feels great for so many of the reasons. Good luck!
Don’t take a shower (…just for fun)
It’s just a day… save a few gallons of water today and ditch your shower. It’s just a day. And you’ll get back some time which is a reasonable bargain.
Watch a documentary about sustainability
Whether it’s a rainy day, or you just want to relax, try a movie or documentary that can help educate you about how to live the most sustainable lifestyle.
Support a local business
Instead of impulsively buying an amazon package, try supporting a small local business if you need to buy or repair something.
I hope these tips were helpful as always. I hope you all have a sustainable Earth Day and a great day.
As always, please feel free to share your thoughts on clean energy or how you live sustainably. Here are three ways to make your viewpoints known and keep the conversation going:
- Join SSC on the first Wednesday of every month
- Check out this list for some “fun” facts about deforestation.
- Visit or comment on my personal blog or my YouTube channel
Sustainable Sharon Coalition
We inspire, educate, connect, and catalyze our community to protect the planet.