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Celebrate Earth Day Today – And Every Day!

Earth Day is an annual tradition with an over 54-year history. The first Earth Day was held in the United States on April 22, 1970, with an estimated 20 million Americans participating, about 10 percent of the population at the time. By the end of that year, President Richard Nixon had established the Environmental Protection Agency, an independent agency of the U.S. government tasked with protecting human health and the environment. Twenty years later, Earth Day had become a global event recognized by more than 140 countries around the world.

Today, Earth Day is celebrated by more than one billion people worldwide, making it the largest civic observance. April 22 is a day we collectively pause to appreciate our natural world and reflect on how we can better care for our planet for future generations. Many communities unite to commemorate Earth Day by organizing clean-up activities or educating citizens on native plants and animals. But remember, the power of change also lies in your hands. There are several things you, your family, and your friends can do to celebrate Earth Day in your own unique way, and every small action counts.

Ways to Honor Earth Day

Plant Something

Plants do many great things for us and our atmosphere. They help clean the air by capturing carbon dioxide and other toxins, producing oxygen, and feeding us and other animals. If you have a yard, consider what you can plant to help the Earth and beautify it. Planting a tree can attract beneficial insects and birds to your yard, reducing the risk of disease transmission. As a bonus, in some areas, it is estimated that trees can increase property value by 15 percent.

Have you been thinking of starting a garden? Now is a great time to start planning your own garden of fruits and vegetables, which will give you healthy, nutritious food and help reduce fossil fuel emissions. Or consider planting a bed to attract and support pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. You can also get the kids involved by making seed balls from materials around the house, planting them outside, and then enjoying watching them grow together.

Spend Time Outside

Earth Day is an opportunity to take in and connect with nature. Take a break from your daily routine, walk barefoot on the grass, or take a few deep breaths of fresh air. Get together with friends and plan a bike ride at a nearby nature trail. Or grab a blanket, a picnic lunch, and a book to spend the afternoon relaxing in the sunshine. Another idea is to take a family walk in the park or camp out in your backyard, spending quality time gazing at the stars. Whatever you do, be sure to bring a trash bag or reuse a plastic shopping bag and pick up any trash you see along the way – and recycle any plastic you find!

Take a Virtual Vacation

If you can’t get outside, consider an online field trip. Did you know that many of the parks with the U.S. National Park Service have webcams? Begin your Earth Day trip in Yellowstone National Park with Old Faithful, then swing by Denali National Park & Preserve in Alaska, and finally, end your trip in Boston at the Bunker Hill Monument. Also, be sure to check out the array of animal webcams available – you never know what you will see in the wild!

Play Nature Games

Bring the kids together and create your own Earth Day games that celebrate all you can find in nature. You could design a nature bingo by drawing boards containing different images of things you find outside: birds, bugs, animals, trees, plants, mushrooms, etc. Another fun-filled activity is a nature scavenger hunt. Create educational hints about natural things you can find in your backyard or a nearby park, and then have fun hunting down the clues.

Check Out Books or Movies About Nature

Visit your local library and find books to learn more about our amazing planet. Children’s favorites include The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Ask a librarian for recommendations for every member of your family. While you are there, ask if there are any movies about the planet you can check out. If you subscribe to a streaming service, grab a healthy snack and binge-watch a nature documentary.

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse

A great way to help the planet is to cut down on waste. For example, approximately 100 billion plastic bags are used by Americans each year – and the production of those bags requires an estimated 12 million barrels of oil. By using reusable bags, you will be helping reduce waste in landfills and saving marine wildlife.

Another consideration is to start using a refillable water bottle. Even with recycling being an option for plastic water bottles, over 2 million tons end up in landfills in the United States every year. And it takes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture the plastic water bottles used in our county annually.

For items that cannot be easily recycled but you no longer need, consider planning a yard sale. You can host it on your own or get together with your neighbors to sell items that need a new home. Then, you can use the proceeds to fund your garden, purchase eco-friendly household items, or donate to an environmental cause you’re passionate about.

Go to a Local Farmer’s Market

Shopping at a local farmer’s market not only supports community businesses, farmers, artisans, and workers but can also help reduce your area’s fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions. On average, food for grocery stores travels about 1,500 miles. Additionally, when food travels long distances, it can lose nutritional value and flavor, and buying locally can reduce your risk of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. Celebrate Earth Day by exploring the outdoor market at the Riverside Market at Moore Haven on Saturday, April 20!

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

Take a few minutes to calculate your carbon footprint, as well as your family’s. This will increase your awareness of your environmental impact and help you make more informed choices to live sustainably. Some of those choices could lead to financial savings over time, like purchasing energy-efficient appliances or implementing strategies to conserve water in your household.

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