On Thursday, April 22, people around the world will take a day to celebrate and appreciate the planet Earth. The theme of Earth Day 2021 is "Restore Our Earth," and events worldwide will offer opportunities to do just that. With many of us are staying close to home this year, it’s important to find ways to take part in Earth Day in our own homes or within our own communities. Thankfully, many global efforts start locally, so rest assured that no matter how you celebrate this day, you'll be making an impact.
Below are some ideas for the best ways that you can celebrate Earth Day this year and tips for getting your family and neighbors involved as well.
One simple way to celebrate Earth Day is to commit to ditching plastic for the day. From single-use straws to plastic bags to food containers, you'd be surprised at just how much plastic gets used every day. Instead, plan a tasty meal (bonus Earth points if it's vegetarian!) with family or neighbors, go shopping at the local market using a canvas tote bag, and plan to have the meal using sustainable tableware. If you're celebrating with family, you can easily eat inside using your go-to Earth-friendly plates, cups, and silverware. If you're planning something with neighbors and want to host in your yard, look for sustainable plates in options such as compostable bamboo.
Gardening at home or at a local community garden can be both rewarding and a great way to give back to the Earth. If your home allows for it, opt to plant a tree or find a part of your yard where you can plant your own vegetables for summer. Many neighborhoods also have community gardens, which you could look into for Earth Day and beyond. No matter what gardening or planting you plan to do, dress appropriately because this can actually be a somewhat demanding activity on your body. The perfect gardening outfit includes stretchy, protective bottoms like comfy crop pants paired with a breezy long-sleeved shirt or tunic and a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection.
While sometimes you can't avoid using a car, opting to walk or use a bike for the day can be a great way to honor Earth Day. Plan a walk around your neighborhood or see if there's a way for you to bike safely to any local errands. This is also a great way to engage with your neighbors and your community safely. If you're planning on being out and about for a while, wear your comfiest shoes and carry a backpack with a reusable, eco-friendly water bottle and some all-natural sunscreen. Choosing eco-friendly travel options for the day in addition to simply being out and appreciating nature is definitely a winning combination.
Rally the family or a few local friends to go out on a neighborhood clean-up mission. This will look different depending on your neighborhood and what’s nearby. Consider cleaning up a nearby park or heading to the beach to pick up trash there. No matter where this activity takes you, practice safety measures, such as staying away from busy roads and wearing tough, reusable gloves. Since April showers are one of Mother Nature's ways of reminding us she's staying busy, remember to also bring a packable jacket or a rain shell and remind your cleanup crew to do the same.
You can celebrate Earth Day 2021 without even leaving your home by organizing an Earth Day event. This is a safe and easy way to engage with your community and beyond about how best to do your part for the Earth. Send out an agenda in advance to keep your event organized. You and your attendees can use this time to talk about how to swap out cleaning products that have harmful toxins, plan a future park or beach cleanup event, or stay on track when it comes to recycling or composting. Since virtual events should be fun as well as informative, plan to have some organic, veg-friendly snacks and encourage your guests to do the same when you sent out your invite.
With a little preparation, creativity, and community engagement, you'll be set to make a lasting impact this upcoming Earth Day. While honoring this holiday on April 22 is a fun and festive way to get involved, you can take these steps every day to give back to the planet while also spending time with your family and friends. Happy Earth Day, everyone!