Thursday is Earth Day—an annual event around the world to advocate for environmental protection and promote appreciation for the Earth and its natural resources. There are many ways to enjoy nature or help the local environment that you can do today including:
1) Join or start a team with Adopt-a-Highway, Adopt-a-School, or Adopt-a-Spot
These programs in South Carolina allow you to form a team and adopt an area to pick up litter four times a year from and maintain. By going to the Adopt-a-Highway Pickup Program page on palmettopride.org, you can complete an agreement form and sign for a two year commitment to adopt a highway.
2) Do a Clean Up
Don’t want the commitment of adopting a highway, but still want to help? Do a cleanup of the area near you. Coastal students may want to clean local beaches or trails. If you take walks often, even simply taking a bag and pair of grabbers with you to pick up what you see along the way can make a huge difference!
Recycling helps prevent so much trash from going to the landfill. Make sure you are aware of what you can and cannot recycle in your local area and start removing some things from your trash and recycling them instead.
4) Switch to Reusables
Some things that you use on a daily basis may be able to have less of a carbon footprint if you find a reusable version of the same product. For example, switching to a reusable coffee mug, water bottle or straw. If you are past these beginner steps, try switching to a safety razor, a Diva Cup (for people who menstruate), and reusable cloth napkins for your apartment instead of single use ones!
5) Plant a tree
Planting a tree is a great way to help the environment because trees help sequester rainwater, produce cleaner air and reduce carbon emissions. If you are able to plant your own trees where you live, this is a great option!
6) Go vegetarian or vegan for the day
The consumption of animal products is one of the biggest contributors to climate change due to the large amount of water used for animal products, the deforestation associated with producing more animal products, and several other negative environmental factors. Try cutting meat or all animal products out of your diet for one day. Perhaps you will find it is not too difficult and you can begin participating in Meatless Mondays!
7) Add reusable utensils and a bag to your everyday carry
By adding reusable utensils and a reusable shopping bag to your everyday carry, you can skip out on plastic silverware and single use shopping bags throughout the day.
8) Contact representatives about climate action
By contacting representatives, you can advocate for climate action to be written into legislation. Contacting your representative as a voter will let them know what their voter base values so that they can represent the community accurately with legislation.
9) Buy local food or plant a garden
By buying local food from farmers markets and local farmers or even creating your own garden, you can have fresher produce and also reduce the amount of miles your food has to travel to get to you which reduces carbon emissions.
10) Donate your old clothes & buy from thrift stores
By donating your old clothes to a local shelter or thrift store, less clothing ends up in landfills and as more consumers purchase used clothes rather than new, the energy and water used to produce new clothing is reduced.
11) Start your own compost bin
By starting your own compost bin, you can reduce food waste and reuse it for another purpose. Composting is another way to reduce waste along with recycling, donating, and reusing.
Find a way to go outside or appreciate the Earth’s natural resources using one or more of these ideas today for a happy Earth Day. Remember that the Earth needs protection every day, as well, and determine which of these things you can work on implementing regularly.