Tomorrow is Earth Day, everyone! When you learn about the history of Earth Day, you’ll find out that the original date of Earth Day is also the marking of the Spring Equinox, even if the more popular date is tomorrow – April 22. Either way, one of the underlying themes of Earth Day is renewal, of starting again. I think this is something that everyone can get behind.
But, what does it mean to observe this date? I scanned the interwebs and mined my own imagination for a few ideas about how you might decide what Earth Day is about for you and your family. To me, a sense that we have a say in our destiny as a people is what we need to be reminded of the most on Earth Day. Our world becomes better when we have hope for the future. And sometimes the most powerful visions of hope start with single ideas.
Take a look at the list.
1. Talk about green issues. Hey! We’re doing this right now on this very blog! Don’t you love it when the first item on a list is instantly checked off! Of course, it’s up to you to leave a comment on this post (no pressure). Or, consider finding other blogs and forums where you can add your two cents. Or consider this; have a real time conversation with friends, family, and co-workers about the green issues that affect you the most.
2. Make art with your kids (or someone else’s). I suppose this idea is inspired by my drawing pictures with my four-year old daughter, who is obsessed with the natural world – animals, plants, and the aesthetic wonders of nature. We spent a lot of time on the weekend just drawing some of these things together. I think a fascination with nature is instinctive for children, and a good reminder to us as grown-ups too.
3. Read to your kids. Unlike Whitney Houston, I don’t believe the children are our future – they are in fact our present. As such, it makes sense to begin today in introducing the idea that we are a part of a wider, natural world, and that the choices we make as a people will have an impact on it. Reading stories is a great way to start this process of thinking in our kids. Take a look at this list of environmental children’s books to get a reading list together.
4. Take a walk in nearby woods or parks. One of the best ways to celebrate the earth is by being out in a place where the natural world holds sway, perhaps more so then in our regular urban or suburban environs. We here in BC are very lucky that our province is not only scenic, but also that forests, mountains, and lakes are very accessible. Explore the natural treasures in your own area, and maybe it will become a regular thing.
5. Plant a garden. This is another great activity for the whole family, and a great conversation starter between you and your kids about where food comes from, and about the idea of our earth as a place we depend on, and which in turn depends on us.
6. Leave the car at home for the day. It’s easy for me, I know – I don’t have a car. But, for those who do, consider giving up your usual commute for the bus/train/subway/light rapid transit, or whatever your city has to offer you. Support public transit today, and consider whether or not it makes sense for the rest of the year, too. If transit under-services your area, think about organizing a carpool with co-workers who live in your area.
7. Spring clean, and have a garage sale. Spring cleaning is a great way to celebrate renewal in your own space. And what better day to do it than Earth Day? Also, take all of those items that are just taking up space, and sell them on in a garage sale; the ultimate neighborhood tradition in recycling.
8. Find a green cause and donate. Time, money, or maybe both; you decide. There are lots of local, national, and international green charities that do good work. Find one you believe in, and go for it!
9. Write a letter or email to politicians. Most politicians at municipal level, and many at state/provincial levels have feedback channels that allow you to have your say on the ecological issues that most effect you. Think about the green issues that you’re most passionate about. And tell the policymakers what you’d like to see to strengthen the green credibility and lower the carbon footprint in your area.
10. Think about how to ‘green’ the habits of your day. Do you leave lights on when you leave a room? Do you leave the water running while brushing your teeth? Do you make full use of dishwater? Don’t take a trip to Guiltville over all of this. But, spending time examining the details of your daily practices can reveal a lot about how ‘green’ you’re living. And this is a great way of discovering how to make things better in your little corner of our planet.
And those are just ten of my ideas! How about yours? Add to this list in the comments section, and have a great Earth Day 2010, everyone!
And for no reason at all, check out this Treehugger post, showing some amazing wildlife photos especially for Earth Day!