Did you know that Earth Day has been happening every year on April 22 since 1970? That’s over 40 years of spotlighting the problems the planet faces and learning what we can do to help and make our world a better place.
Today, more than 1 billion people across the globe will make Earth Day the largest civic observance in the world.
Everyone has a voice and a responsibility when it comes to safeguarding our natural resources and our habitats.
Here are just a few ways that you can give your spring a super eco boost this April, as well as all year round.
FIND FAMILY TIME FUN NEAR YOU
All during this month there are annual opportunities to reach out in your community with tree plantings, community clean-ups, and recycling drop-offs.
By going to EarthDay.org, you can find an event near you. Many local events will be happening the Saturday before Earth Day, April 20. You can also register your own event at that site as well.
Most Earth Day events are great opportunities to get the whole family involved in a project that has visual, tangible results. It’s also the perfect opportunity to introduce a non-eco-minded friend to Earth Day concepts – it’s contagious when you feel the good.
UPLOAD YOUR FACE
This year’s official global theme is “The Face of Climate Change,” highlighting climate change on a local level. It’s a timely theme and one in which the organizers are encouraging the submission of photos online that portray how you, the ecosystems that surround you, your nearby natural resources, or the food you depend on are being affected by climate change.
The effects of climate change on individuals and local communities include sea ice melting, hotter temperatures, and extreme weather events like extended droughts and destructive hurricanes and tornados.
The Earth Day organizers hope to humanize climate change and ask for government and business support to reverse a warming planet.
BE PART OF THE BILLION
Another focus of Earth Day 2013 is the “Billion Acts of Green” campaign, which is all about changing your lifestyle a little choice at a time to be greener. This is doable by every person on the planet, no matter your resources or budget.
You can register your simple choice at the campaign’s site. There are lots of ideas there of the types of pledges you can make.
A simple green choice example is to choose to buy products made with LESS paper or LESS plastic. Space-saving concentrated cleaners is one possibility, because they use less packaging and reduce landfill waste. You add the contents from the small bottles into reusable trigger bottles or into buckets of water.
Another simple green choice would be to save energy and water with your laundry. You could pledge to wash in cold water whenever possible to save energy. Or, you could hang-dry your clothes and avoid the dryer altogether, saving even more energy.
KEEP NATURAL FOOD WINNING
The power of your wallet can really move mountains when it comes to advocating for more sustainable and green products. One area in which your wallet can make a difference is in purchasing non-GMO and organic foods.
Just say no to GMOs. Growing evidence connects GMOs with health problems and environmental damage. GMOs are genetically modified organisms, either plants or animals, produced in a laboratory through biotechnology; these new organisms do not occur in nature.
They are often engineered to withstand high doses of herbicide or pesticide, or they actually are engineered to produce their own insecticide such as some GMO corn varieties.
Additionally, non-organic foods are also using higher amounts and more toxic versions of pesticides that many say are causing a serious collapse of bee populations – not to mention the effect these chemicals have on our soils, our water, and the foods we eat.
So, three ways to help protect yourself, your family, and your food security from GMOs and agricultural chemicals:
- Choose organic or non-GMO labeled products whenever possible. Some health-oriented grocery stores, like Whole Foods, are soon banning GMO products in their stores. And your local farmers market is another great resource (find one near you at www.localharvest.org), as well as the many grocery stores across the U.S., Canada, and Europe that now carry labeled organic and non-GMO foods.
- Support standardized GMO labeling, so that we know what is in the products we buy. There’s a new national bill that is being introduced this week to label GMO foods.
- Write your Congress and Senate representatives about your concerns, including the recent so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” that was just passed last month and signed by President Obama. More info here.
This Earth Day, while taking part in an event is fun and a bonding community experience, look for ways in which you can make a difference the whole year. Your health, your pocketbook, and the planet will thank you.
Photos by: Sbworld4 and Nyama of Dreamstime, Earth Day Network
Terra Wellington is the author of The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home, a frequent guest on television programs talking about wellness and eco issues, and also a Los Angeles-based actress. More about Terra at www.terrawellington.com. Twitter: @terrawellington