April 22, 1970, and every April 22 for more than 40 years, has marked the birthday of the modern movement that is environmentalism. Since the original Earth Day, new policies including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Acts and organizations like the US Environmental Protection Agency have been born, creating a safer and healthier planet for us to live on. The holiday has gone global over the past few decades and is now celebrated by over 200 million people in 141 countries. Back in the 1970s, bellbottom pants, protests, and flower children represented Earth Day to fire up change to save our planet.
Today, there are city cleanups, recycling and gardening events, hiking trips and other fun things to do in an effort to get people connected with nature again – but there are way less bellbottoms! Why do we do it? Put simply, because it matters. If humans continue thinking that we are separate from the land that we live on, the water we drink, and the other animals that we share everything with, then we’re on the road to self-destruction.
If people knew the status of the planet it would shock them. Let’s just say that if the Earth had a Facebook, some of its statuses would include “guys, only 1% of our water is left to drink, stop putting things in it”, “if you think this weather is weird, wait a few more years LOL”, or “say goodbye to NYC and Florida in about 100 years JK… no, but really”. Knowing these facts about our current state of the planet may encourage people to take an extra 2 seconds to think about how what they’re buying and what they’re throwing away effects them. So enough with the doom and gloom- what can you do today to celebrate Earth Day?!
Here are 5 things you can do on your own time (or with your friends!) to connect with nature on this important birthday to the planet.
1. Get outside! Duh, no one should spend Earth Day inside! Go hiking, walk, bike or skate to class, do your homework under a tree, plant some flowers, whatever! Just don’t stay indoors if it’s beautiful out!
2. Use a reusable water bottle and/or mug! It’ll save you money — most places like Starbucks will give you a discount or free refills if you bring your own mug/cup; and it reduces your waste impact by a considerable amount.
3. Do a mini a campus cleanup! Grab a couple friends, a garbage bag (and recycling bag!), and some gloves then go around campus a clean up the sidewalks and streets! You’ll figure out real quickly what a majority of the trash is (*cough* bottles and coffee cups…see #2)
4. Go meatless! Meat production contributes over 1/5 of manmade greenhouse gases (more than transportation!) and it can take up to 2,500 gallons of water to make a single pound of beef instead of 230 gallons of water to produce tofu. This Earth Day falls on Meatless Monday which just a campaign that encourages people to go meatless at least one day a week for a healthier lifestyle, and healthier planet, and promote animal welfare! If you’re already vegetarian or want to be bold, try going vegan for a day!
5. Shorten your shower! If all Facebook users shortened their showers by 1 minute, we’d save enough water to fill 1,136,364 Olympic-sized swimming pools. To make it even more fun and challenging, do the one-song shower game by play one song on your iPod in the bathroom and try to finish showering before it’s over! (Don’t cheat and play an 18 minute long song!)
What are your favorite ways to help our planet? Tell us in the comments below!