Reversing climate change, ending plastic pollution, protecting and preserving our fellow species, reducing fossil fuel emissions and rebalancing our relationship with planet Earth are just a few of the things that Earth Day hopes to tackle, and it’s just around the corner… Hooray!
Since this international day began, millions of people all over the world have taken part in raising awareness and addressing the crisis we undeniably face; from planting trees and beach cleanups, all the way to global protests. The interest in helping our planet has continuously grown over time, and this year is certainly no exception!
With the widely celebrated day coming up on April 22nd, everyone is beginning to think of ways that they can personally help give Mother Nature a little extra love, and I thought it was about time that I give you 10 of my suggestions too (and in no particular order):
PLEASE NOTE! These aren’t just things to consider on Earth day… I encourage you to take these into account long into the future too!
1. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Wherever Possible
Every person on this planet has a carbon footprint, and unfortunately that’s never going to change. What we can and must do, however, is actively try and reduce!
To put things into perspective, it’s been suggested through scientific research that we need to stay under 1-2 tonnes of CO2 per person per year if we want to have any chance at tackling climate change, and the average American currently emits around 8 tonnes… If you’re curious to know the extent of your own carbon footprint, you can calculate it using a carbon footprint calculator!
Although some big changes do need to happen, don’t ever forget about the little things too:
Turn off your lights, use a blanket instead of turning on the heater, limit your shower time and your water usage, turn off your appliances when they’re not needed, offset your carbon footprint, carpool, adjust your diet if you can, ditch the dryer, take public transport, ride a bike, WALK…
Whatever adjustments you make to your lifestyle, never forget that making any change, no matter how big or small it might be, is so much better than doing nothing at all!
2. Contact Companies and your Local Government Reps
Despite my last point, it’s important to also note that the fate of the planet should not weigh heavy on your shoulders alone!
For change to happen, we cannot be constantly criticising individuals who are “not doing enough”. We should instead be urging government officials and people with power to start being responsible for the destruction they’ve ultimately caused, without shifting the blame onto the consumers. In the end, it’s big organisations that are creating the most damage…
Systematic change is what we really need if we want to speed up the process in the way that’s desperately needed. So, email or write a letter to your local government representatives; senators, banks, big corporations and companies, and voice your concerns in any way that you can. Signing petitions is an amazing way to do this too!
Tell these companies and corporative leaders why they need to reconsider their actions and the impact they’re having on the planet. Demand systematic change in any way that you can. When your next election comes around, make sure you’re taking the health of the planet into account. Vote for a leader that really cares about the future.
Don’t ever forget about the strength in collective power!
3. Find Companies with a Green Initiative
With climate change pushing life on Earth to the absolute brink, many companies have started to take part in green initiatives!
Haircare company, oVertone, is a company that has created a green initiative in time for Earth Day. Because they specialize in creating vegan & cruelty-free hair colour, a core of their business is to help protect the planet. So much so, oVertone has developed a special Earth Day initiative. They have partnered with Sambazon where for every purple hair selfie posted and hashtagged #PurpleforthePlanet, Sambazon will purchase 5 acres of the Amazon Rainforest to be protected through the Rainforest Trust… A simple photo and you could instantly save 5 acres of rainforest!
This is only one small example, but there are many positive acts occurring over the Earth Day period and into the future too. Regardless of the kind of green initiative, showing your support for Earth-conscious companies is a great move in helping to bring further awareness to eco and ethical practices (just make sure you’re not being greenwashed first)!
We want sustainable companies to be the norm… So give your love to those who are fighting for change, rather than those who are fueling the destruction. It’s so important in shaping the way of the future!
4. Eat Local & Organic
Regenerative and restorative agriculture is vital in maintaining the health of the Earth’s soil, which in turn, is vital in maintaining the health of the entire planet. Unfortunately in a lot of agricultural practices, soil health is very much ignored… But you can assist in changing that!
Not only does eating local, organic produce promotes a healthy Earth, it also avoids the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides which harm you and the bees, but it also reduces carbon emissions, it supports your local community, it helps to conserve biodiversity and minimizes waste and pollution in all other areas too!
I understand that eating organically (and selectively) is a huge privilege… But for those of us with that privilege, why not embrace it to the best of our ability? The easiest way to find local and organic food is by going to a farmer’s market in your area. If you don’t have one nearby, you can always support a local fruit/veg shop instead – they’re a much better alternative to the typical supermarket produce!
Aside from that, another amazing thing to consider for Earth Day is reducing your meat and dairy consumption! While diet is extremely personal (and something I would never EVER push upon anyone), I can’t deny the fact that the animal agriculture industry is very damaging, and for more reasons than one…
If you have the ability to reduce your consumption and are willing to give it a try, please know that you’ll undoubtedly be doing a world of good for the planet. Even if you only have one vegan day per week, or start small with meatless Monday’s… Every little bit helps!
No matter what kind of diet you live by, incorporating a more organic approach will not only bring benefits to you and your health, but the Earth’s health too!
5. Participate in an Earth Day Project
Have a look online, on social media or in your local newspaper for any events that might be happening in your area. Whether it’s a peaceful protest, a trash cleanup, = an educational event or an Earth Day market… Join in with your local community and help spread the love!
6. Become an Advocate!
Tell your friends, tell your family and post it on social media… You don’t have to be annoying or belittling (we all know that doesn’t help), but having a kind conversation is often all it takes to plant a valuable seed.
When you’re getting your daily coffee, tell the staff WHY you’re choosing to use a reusable cup. Post on social media talking about Earth Day and the many amazing initiatives that are taking place around the world. Email your favourite companies and offer them some constructive criticism (in a kind way of course), the same with companies that you wish to do better… Use every opportunity to explain your actions and encourage others to do the same if they can!
Earth Day is about activating a global movement, and for that, we need all hands on deck!
There are so many incredible charities and organisations (BIPOC and Indigenous especially) that are already doing the hard work to tackle major issues, and supporting them in their endeavours is one of the most effective ways to help. I understand that not everyone has money to spare, so I’m definitely not going to pressure you in this… But remember that even if it’s an incredibly small amount, every dollar is 100% appreciated.
If you can make it a regular, reoccurring contribution, that would be even more helpful too! And don’t just look for environmental causes either – supporting organisations that aid in women’s education, international development and other social issues are just as important in helping the planet thrive.
8. Be Open to Learning!
This Earth Day, one of the very best things you can do is be open to learn! This isn’t a situation of “ignorance is bliss”… We need everyone to be as open-minded as possible, as in the end, it’s our lives and the lives of our future generations that ultimately depend on it.
Take the time to research, listen to the facts, watch the Our Planet documentary, learn about Indigenous ecological knowledge… Take in as much information as you possibly can before coming to a decision of your own. Look at what we face on a planetary scale and always observe things holistically. Don’t forget that we often need to address social issues in order to tackle environmental ones.
It’s complicated (trust me, I know) but all you can do is be willing to listen, learn and grow as new information comes your way. It’s the only way forward!
9. PROTECT OUR SPECIES!
The theme for 2019’s Earth Day is “Protect our Species“… And in order to immerse yourself deeply in this theme, here are a few things you can do:
+ Have a look at what you have in your home and how it could be negatively affecting our fellow species. For example: Look at your sunscreen to ensure that it’s ocean-friendly, look at your regularly purchased products and investigate the company’s palm oil stance, ensure that what you’re buying is created with love and kindness before all else.
+ Have a look at the food (and flowers/plants) you purchase to see if herbicides and pesticides are used. See if you can switch to an alternative that won’t harm the bees!
+ Educate yourself on the species that are currently facing a lot of destruction and the many ways that you can help. Remember #7 from this post – donating to one of the many organisations that are protecting wildlife species and their natural habitat is incredibly helpful.
+ Without bees, all other species will suffer! So do your best to support local, bee-friendly beekeepers that put the health of the bees before all else. Getting a bee hotel in your garden is another amazing way to support your native bees too.
The list goes on… Basically, do all that you can to love and protect the wonderful species that also call this planet home!
10. Get out in Nature
Go outside! I’ve said it once and I’ll certainly say it again…
You cannot expect yourself to care about the health of the planet if you haven’t truly connected with it yourself. Take off your shoes and feel the grass between your toes, look up at the stars, smell the flowers, be thankful for the bees, go for a walk and admire nature in absolutely all of its glory.
Take a step back from the “socially connected” society we currently live in, and re-connect in the only way that truly matters. Once you fall in love with the Earth, it will be hard not to take care of it!
And I’m throwing in one more too, just because I’m sneaky like that…
11. Make Earth Day EVERY DAY!
Don’t just stop your activism at one day per year. In the words of Sir David Attenborough:
“This is the new extinction and we are already half way throguh it. We are in terrible, terrible trouble and the longer we wait to do something about it the worse it is going to get”
Appreciate this wonderful planet with every inch of your being and constantly educate yourself on how we can tackle this global crisis. The Earth is our home, and we need to take care of it… No matter the day of the year.
How do you plan to show awareness for Earth Day?