Picture it. It’s Earth Day 2030. The air is cleaner, there is less waste in landfills, oceans, and incinerators, and we’re on track to reversing the effects of climate change for good. Sound good? We’ve put together a list of five simple ways you can help turn that dream into a reality this Earth Day.
1. Go for a Walk — But Make it Green
Grab a plastic bag and some gloves and head out on a trash-finding mission. It’s a win-win situation: you get out of the house, move your body, and help clean up the area where you live. If you want to make things more interesting (and maybe even a little competitive), download Litterati. It’s a free app that allows you to take photos of the different pieces of trash you find, then upload and share it with a community of like-minded ‘litterati’.
Get your friends and family to download it too and see who picks up the most. Not only does this make your mission more fun, but you’ll also be helping collect data that highlights what type of litter people pick up, and where and when they pick it up. This is the kind of data that helps drive environmental reforms.
2. Give Old Stuff New Life
Take a look around and find creative ways to keep items you no longer use, in the loop. Think old jars and containers for storage or flower vases, old clothes for selling or donating, old furniture for repairing, you get the idea. The possibilities really are endless, and so are the benefits. When we reuse, repair, or recycle items we no longer use, we help reduce the number of new materials that are made.
3. Shop Better
There are a few ways you can do this. First, choose retailers and brands you know are eco-friendly. A quick Google search is all you need. Every time you make a sustainable choice, you encourage brands to make more sustainable choices too.
At the grocery store? Challenge yourself to buy mostly plant-based items for the day. Farming animals for meat and dairy takes a lot out of the environment. Your plant-based trolley will help take a load off. Oh, and don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!
If you’re shopping online, consider buying brands that support sustainable packaging companies like RePack (an online shopping platform that partners with brand, swapping regular with reusable packaging) and Loop (a company that re-designs packaging into durable, reusable ones).
Now, to take this tip a step further (or, in this case, a step back), ask yourself whether you actually need what you’re about to buy. Nothing reduces our environmental footprint like buying and using less stuff.
4. Make a Donation
Most environmental organizations rely on donations to do their work, but it can be difficult to know how to pick the best one to give your money to, especially when there are so many to choose from. Fortunately, there are a few websites that can help you make that decision. Visit Charity Navigator (browse by category or hot topics), Charity Watch (get detailed information on different charities), or BBB Wise Giving Alliance (get evaluative reports) to find the right fit for you.
Remember, organizations also rely on volunteers, so you can donate your time too (this can be as quick and easy as adding your name to a petition).
5. Stay Informed and Speak Up
The more you know the better. The more you talk the better. Stay up to date with what your favorite brands are doing to be more eco-conscious and let them know where they can improve. As a consumer, you have a huge influence on what brands do. Use it. Take your knowledge and voice to social media. Start conversations with your friends and family. Use your knowledge to empower and encourage change within your own community. Share what you’re doing to inspire others.
And there you have it. Five simple ways you can restore our earth this Earth Day. Challenge yourself to do just one of them (and don’t forget to share that one thing with us)!