50 years ago, Earth Day began as a way to bring about awareness of a deteriorating environment. Protesters held rallies to inform the public on the hazards of oil spills, pollution, and toxic waste. In the years since, volunteers have continued this work by gathering to the streets, parks and beaches to educate their communities with many joining to pick up litter. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day but, of course, with current conditions, we cannot celebrate in the same fashion. Here are a few activities that you can do at home or in isolation:
Go On a Walk
Now this may seem counter-intuitive for the staying at home orders but with an increased air flow, getting outdoors can actually be beneficial to your physical and mental health. When outside, you'll also benefit in being surrounded by nature and a change of scenery. Just make sure that when you're walking along the trails or sidewalks that you move to the side and keep a 6 foot distance between yourself and any one you pass.
Plant a Tree, Start a Garden
Surrounding yourself with plants is a great way to keep the air around you fresh. Through photosynthesis, plants are able to take in carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen. And with the bonus of a stress relieving hobby, this is one Earth Day activity that not only helps the Earth but promotes a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.
Adding trees to your yard provides many benefits.
Trees provide shelter for small animals and, when creatively placed, can eventually provide shade for your home. This can reduce the amount of heat from sunlight, lowering your bill for air cooling. Of course, trees also have the added bonus of a calming aesthetic that can even relieve stress.
Planting a garden has its own benefits.
While you do reap a similar air quality, you also have the advantage of fresh produce. When you plant your own fruits and vegetables, you control the chemicals used, allowing you to eat organic (and at a fraction of the cost). Gardening also provides you with an outdoor activity to keep yourself busy as you stay home. And its a hobby that will not only reduce stress, but increase health. Bring out the kids and have them help you plant seeds and later harvest vegetables. This will teach them about the benefits of healthy eating while giving them something to do as well.
Plant flowers around your house to add a bright aesthetic.
Current conditions have caused an abundance of stress and heavy thoughts. Planting flowers will liven up your yard with the promise of better days to come. You'll also reap the same benefits of a stress reducing hobby and cleaner air.
Hydroponic gardens are great for those living in apartments or areas where gardens won't thrive.
Instead of using soil, hydroponic gardens rely on water. There are many different ways that you can create or style your garden allowing it to be as large or small as you want it so that you can easily find a place for it inside. And as an added bonus, this is one garden that will last year round.
Create a Bird Sanctuary
Invite nature into your yard by creating a bird sanctuary. Adding a few different houses and feeders will attract a wide variety of different birds to your home. Once birds have flocked to your yard, make sure to maintain food levels in the feeders to keep them coming back. From here, all that's left to do is to sit back and enjoy the sounds and sights of your new feathered friends.
Change Out Light Bulbs
If you haven't done so already, take the time to replace your old bulbs with LED alternatives. LEDs produce less heat which reduces emissions and costs you less on your electric bill. A common fear about LEDs is that they can't produce the same color or look of light as incandescent bulbs. However, with growing technology, LED bulbs are now available in different temperatures and styles giving you a comparable light output for a fraction of the energy usage.
While you're replacing your bulbs, it also may be time to look at other areas of your home. That leaky faucet? Time to fix it. The batteries in your remote? Replace them with rechargeable options. And don't forget to change out your air filters! There are many ways to fix and replace the appliances in your home for a more economically friendly alternatives.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Most towns have bi-weekly recycling pickup for paper, plastic, and glass making recycling easier than ever. It's not all about recycling boxes and bottles, however. We often throw out other items that can be easily reused such as clothing, books, or games. While you're spending time at home, go through everything and take out what you don't want or need. Find a local drop off or bin in your area that's accepting items and allow your clutter to be reused.
Use Water Filters and Reusable Water Bottles
Hydration is important but with 80% of plastic water bottles ending up in landfills, they can actually cause more harm than good. Why not invest in a water filter? Choose a water filtration pitcher that you can keep in your fridge or a filter that you can mount right to your faucet for easy, clean water. And when you're on the go, use a refillable bottle or container. A one time purchase of a bottle from YETI will give you a reusable bottle that will also keep your drinks cold for hours.
The easiest energy saving activity is one that most of you are already doing - staying home. Transportation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing to follow the guidelines put in place by each state, you are already doing your part to help the environment. So start a garden, take a walk around your neighborhood, or just sit outdoors with a good book. The best and easiest way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is to take a moment today to step outside or open a window to enjoy some fresh air and the nature around you.