Earth Day rolls around every April 22, and this year is a great time to celebrate with your family by adopting a few new Earth-friendly practices. First celebrated on April 22, 1970, it continues to this day to help make people aware of the importance of keeping our planet healthy and clean.
From planting a garden to helping to clean up your neighborhood, we rounded up 7 ways to make this day a family affair.
1. Clean Up Your Neighborhood. Picking up trash in your neighborhood or planting some flowers are great ways to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate Earth Day. Pick a local park, roadside or trail in your community and see who can collect the most trash and recyclables. Or is there someone in the neighborhood that you can help? Many people would love a group effort beautifying their yard!
2. Plant a Tree. Planting trees is an activity commonly associated with Earth Day, with good reason. Trees provide us with many benefits such as helping to reduce energy consumption by breaking winter winds and providing shade in the summertime, and they improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gasses by absorbing carbon dioxide. Whether you plant a tree in your own yard or participate in a tree-planting project in the community, this is the perfect Earth Day activity.
3. Plant a Garden. Growing your own vegetables and herbs is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint, and is a wonderful activity for the whole family. Your kids can help plant seeds indoors, which can be transplanted to the garden when the weather is warm enough in your area. Be sure to involve your kids in the decisions about which vegetables to grow, and get them to help care for the garden by watering or weeding. Check out Start a Garden if you aren’t sure where to begin, or need to figure out how you can grow your veggies and herbs indoors. They will get you started in four easy steps.
4. Have a Car-Free Day. Make a pact to leave the car at home for a day – or longer! Use other means of transportation to get to where you need to go, such as bikes, scooters, walking or taking public transportation. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, highway vehicles release about 1.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. So grab the family and take a bike ride to one of the day’s destinations. If travel by car is a must, then try to group your shopping excursions to save on fuel. Go to the market, the hardware store and the bookstore all in one trip.
5. Offer Your Services. When you volunteer and lend a hand on Earth Day and beyond, you help your neighbors and teach your children that becoming involved in environmental causes is worth the gift of time. Help build a home with Habitat for Humanity, bike, walk or run for the charity of your choice with Charity Miles, or work to clean up a park in your neighborhood. Volunteer Match can help you get started by providing volunteer information and listings in your local community. The folks at the Nature Conservancy also have a similar listing for conservation efforts across the country. Click on your state to discover some interesting and rewarding ways to get your family involved.
6. Have a Picnic. If the sun is shining and the birds are singing this Earth Day, head out for a picnic. What better way to celebrate than by getting out into nature? Use this opportunity to explore the environment around you. After your picnic, take a hike in the forest, or walk to a local pond or lake to look for wildlife and enjoy the scenery.
7. Visit a Local Farm. Taking a tour of a local farm is a great opportunity to show your kids where their food comes from. Those within the community-supported agriculture (CSA) network, which enables consumers to purchase seasonal goods from farmers directly, will be happy to fill you in on harvesting and production. Click here to find a local CSA.