The snows are melting (we hope), the flowers are starting to bloom, and here in FL it's not quite obnoxiously hot out. It's spring, and with it comes one of my favorite yearly holidays - Earth Day!
That's right - April 22nd is Earth Day 2009. Started in the 1970s by a smart senator from Wisconsin as a way to "shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda", Earth Day has been pushing for environmental action for almost 40 years.
Lots of communities have organized fairs, festivals, or clean-ups to celebrate. But even if you don't want to join the masses at these public festivities, you can do your little part to celebrate Earth Day. Here are some ideas I've found:
- Visit your local nature park. You can get some nice exercise while enjoying the natural beauty of your local area - and your entry fee or gift shop purchase helps keep them running, to ensure generations to come can do the same.
- Write a letter to or call your political leaders about an environmental issue. Research some current bill you want passed (or not) or find a petition to sign from a non-profit like Sierra Club or National Wildlife Foundation. Let the people in power know that the enviroment matters to you!
- Clean-up your own little neck of the woods. Even if it's just picking up some trash on your block, every little bit of garbage that goes in a trashcan helps. If your area seems pretty clean, consider starting a compost heap for your house to put your degradable garbage into. The plus side of that is you'll have nice, fresh compost for a stellar vegetable garden!
- Do some Earthy craft projects with your family. Here's a few examples: make an eggshell planter, tin can herb pots, a milk carton bird feeder, or your own reusable grocery bag.
- Switch some of your office supplies to eco-friendly versions. Shepenco makes a whole line of green pens, pencils and stationary. Or just resolve to cut down your paper usage and make sure there are plenty of labeled recycle bins around for you and your coworkers to use.
- Plant a native tree in your yard or start a garden. Trees can help save on electricity bills, clean the air, and are just nice to sit under on a hot summer day. Growing your own herbs or veggies will give you some great meals later on, as well as some much-needed time outside and exercise.
- Stop using pesticides on your lawn. Pesticides poison our water supply, endanger human health, and sicken wildlife. There are many effective, natural alternatives available, and you can always go for a more wild, rustic look.
- Buy organic, or at least local. Supporting organic and local farmers is good for your community, and buying organic helps reduce the pesticides and agricultural runoff which pollute our environment.
- Switch to energy-saving, compact-fluorescent light bulbs and other energy efficient products. They last 10 times as long, and over their lifetime, use 1/4 the energy of an incandescent bulb.
- Shop Green. Check out EcoMall.com, which has a directory of companies that offer green products.
- Join or make a donation to any organization that supports the environment.
So what are your plans for Earth Day? Let's hear what you guys are doing!!