5 Ways To Celebrate the Planet this Earth Day

Monday April 22nd marks Earth Day of 2019 and I am so excited to share ways to celebrate our beautiful planet. I might be one of the few who gets as giddy for this holiday as if it is a second Christmas, but that’s okay!

While we should be celebrating all of the lovely things Earth has to offer us every single day, this holiday gives a bit more purpose to initiate action.

Earth Day Network has helped celebrate Earth Day for many years as it nears its 49th Anniversary (the big 50 will roll through in 2020!) and sets themes to focus each year towards a specific goal. This year, Earth Day Network announced their efforts to Protect Our Species through advocating for endangered species as the rate of extinction is currently skyrocketing. Some of these endangered species includes our bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales , and many more.

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Without further ado, here are some ways to celebrate the planet and its beautiful species this Earth Day!

 

1. Plant a Tree

Although it might be a bit obvious, trees are so important! Not only are they a typical, Earthy-crunchy symbol thrown on plenty of environmental advocacy campaigns, but they are also vastly essential to help our planet thrive. Trees provide us with rich oxygen to breathe and store away the carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Trees also have the key role as habitats and shelters for thousands of species.

Deforestation is a very real, very current issue that directly impacts the rapid acceleration of climate change. Each year 50,000 square miles of forests are cleared for agriculture, paper, fuel, and building material. That’s the same area size as Alabama cut down every single year! Although planting one tree won’t immediately create a forest, it is one step closer towards a better future of our planet, humanity, and all of nature’s beings.

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2. Don't Eat Meat

While this isn’t really an action as much as the lack of doing something, reducing meat consumption is a huge benefit for the preservation of our planet. Not only will you be celebrating Earth Day, but you will also be contributing in a Meatless Monday.

Through marketing of plant-based diets, Meatless Mondays persuades people to reduce their meat consumption because of the detrimental byproducts including high energy use, deforestation for livestock, and the horrendous emissions of methane (a greenhouse gas). Meatless Mondays also markets the benefits of not eating meat, like their advertisement that "For every burger skipped, you can save enough energy to charge your iPhone for 4.5 years". 

Now, everytime you eat a burger you can imagine just how much energy was used to provide you with that meal. 

Not eating meat will help reduce your carbon footprint of the day and potentially even influence a new dietary habit!

 

3. Invest in Reusables

While recycling is great in many ways, cutting down on waste all together is an even greater way to help our pretty planet! You can invest in reusables such as bags, coffee cups, utensils, straws, etc. to achieve this goal. Places like Amazon, Target, and various Etsy shops offer really cute and affordable reusable items!

When you throw away a single-use plastic, odds are it ends up buried under tons of other waste in landfills. Your trash doesn’t end up magically disappearing into thin air of another dimension, it is relocated onto another plot of land (or ocean) where it sits for centuries upon centuries.

If you’re not careful, your trash can end up littered on the side of the road, among sidewalks, or into the ocean. Even if you don’t purposefully dump your bin at the beach, many times waste ends up there if you live on a coast because it can be blown by the wind, pushed through storm drains or waterways, or accidentally left behind.

Eventually, all of this waste in the ocean congregates into what are known as the garbage patches. While there are roughly five that are known to be the most infamous of the patches, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the most alarmingly notable as it is the largest accumulation of marine plastic debris

The New York Times released in 2018 an update that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located between Hawaii and California, is currently “occupying an area roughly four times the size of California and comprising an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of rubbish”. 

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It's important to note that this garbage patch isn’t really just a floating pile of water bottles and grocery bags. While the majority of it is plastic, its mostly disintegrated particles of plastics. If that’s not unsettling enough, the plastic particles are often mistaken for close resemblance of food, so fish and other marine animals ingest them.

Wildlife that consumes these plastic particles are likely to suffer immediate consequences of malnutrition, entanglement risks, and overall behavior, health, and existence of the species entirely.

Still not convinced? Some of the fish consuming plastic particles are then caught by fisheries and distributed into markets for human consumption. So now there is a direct link from the plastics in the ocean to the human food chain.

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Investing in reusables helps cut back on the amount of waste you contribute to and reduce the plastics in both our landfills and oceans. Every reusable bag, every reusable bottle, and every reusable straw counts. Small motions make big waves and the storm to change can be started by you.

 

4. Save Electricity

While reruns of Friends on Netflix is seemingly a great background noise while you’re scrolling mindlessly through Instagram or casually catching up on homework, it’s pretty unnecessary. Even I fall into that trap sometimes!

Using electricity is directly using energy which usually relies on emissions of greenhouses gases and remember: we don’t like those! Unless you have solar panels or you are sure your energy is coming from wind power, it's important to cut back on electricity as much as you can.

This can also be solved by remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room. Other reminders are to shut down appliances when not in use and being overall more aware of your electrical use.

 

5. Be Aware of Transportation

It’s easy to just hop in your car and drive solo without thinking of the environmental consequences that come with using gasoline. Cars that run on gasoline emit those pesky greenhouse gases into the environment. Even many electric vehicles run on electricity which is advertised as a more eco-friendly option, but the reality is that fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity for electric vehiclesso is that even better?

Unless you are running your car on sunshine with your personal solar panels or wind mills, odds are you are burning fossil fuels for transportation. However, I completely understand that in our modern era it is really hard to get places without the convenience of a car. With that being said, it’s important to just be aware of the environmental consequences of driving cars and limit your use.

Other ways to be aware of your transportation habits is to utilize public transportation, encourage carpooling, and try alternatives like riding a bike instead.

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I hope you now are inspired to not only celebrate Earth Day but also make a change in your daily habits to being more environmentally aware. Earth is the only planet we have, let’s take care of her! It starts right now, right here, with you.

 

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