Ways to celebrate Earth Day

This year, Earth Day is April 22, 2019. Believe it or not, the very first Earth Day was a huge success that somehow came together without the help of social media, viral posts or celebrities. A grassroots campaign unfolded and came together nearly by itself. The topic was hot and the American people wanted the environment to take center stage for once.

What is the history of Earth Day?
A now global celebration, Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson. The main reason for the day was to bring environmental causes to the national spotlight. Nelson had envisioned a stage where large scale, grassroots demonstrations could take place and to also “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.”

He ended up doing just that. On April 22, 1970, rallies came together in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., and many others. This definitely caught the attention of the congress.

One big change over the next year was public opinion, “Public opinion polls indicate that a permanent change in national priorities followed Earth Day 1970. When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500 percent increase over 1969.”

Following the inaugural celebration, many new pieces of environmental legislation passed. These included the Clean Air Act, Water Quality Improvement Act, Endangered Species Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

Since then, people all over the world have been acknowledging and celebrating Earth Day. It is estimated that 1 billion people are involved with Earth Day activities!

How can I save energy on Earth Day and beyond?
Many people are encouraged to enjoy Earth Day without energy. This means shutting off all electronics, lights and anything else in your home that uses energy. It is a great way to appreciate your energy. Enjoy the natural sunlight and take a day off from cooking and cleaning (we can all enjoy that, right?).

Consider this! You spend on average, $200 per year on energy you are not even using!

When looking at your overall energy consumption, there are places where you can save not only on energy, but money too. Consider these tips to reducing energy all around.

  • Lower the temperature of your water heater. You can drop your heater temp down to 120 degrees and still have plenty of hot water.
  • Replace your lightbulbs. Choose compact fluorescent light bulbs and you can save anywhere form 30-80% on energy usage when changing types of lightbulbs.
  • Use your ceiling fans. When you need to use your air conditioning, be sure you have your ceiling fans on too. It usually allows you to raise your thermostat a few degrees and still be comfortable.
  • Maintain your A/C unit. It is no surprise that air conditioning is expensive. Having a properly functioning A/C unit will make sure you are maximizing your energy efficiently. Have it assessed each summer to make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Save on gasoline too! Outside of your home you can save too by biking and walking more. If there is any way to get to your destination without driving, try it!

How can I save water on Earth Day?
Water is another commodity we should be mindful of. This upcoming Earth Day, you can withdraw all of your water usage to give the resource a break. However, there are some great long term habits you can start getting into right now that will also help our water supply.

  • Turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth.
  • Fix leaky taps and faucets. Any pipe that is leaking is not only wasting water, but it is also costing you money.
  • Limit your showers. Perhaps you can shower every other day and take quicker showers. Every little bit helps. Set a timer on your phone to ensure your quickness.
  • Eat less meat or go vegetarian. Raising animals for slaughter requires a lot of water.
  • Use cold water to wash your clothes.
  • Don’t pour water down the drain. If you have excess water, go dump it in a plant or on your grass.

How can I recycle on Earth Day?
A great habit to get into on Earth Day is recycling. There’s so many ways to recycle! Don’t forget to also reduce and reuse items to make the Earth a very happy and healthy place. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

  • Reuse shopping bags. Better yet, take your own shopping bags so you don’t have to use the plastic ones the stores offer.
  • Consider starting a compost so you can recycle food particles.
  • Recycle your electronics. There are some electronics that are not even suitable for trash. Check your state to learn more.
  • Buy recycled. If you need something new, consider finding a used item instead of brand new.
  • Always check your community standards for recycling. Some places now accept pizza boxes, plastic bottle caps, etc.

Final Thoughts
Earth Day is a historic day to celebrate the Earth and the environmental issues we face today. You can work towards making small steps to save energy and money. You can also join the movement and take more action beyond your own home and family.