The very first Earth Day was held in 1970 and over 20 million Americans joined in the celebration. Now, in its 49th year, over one billion people in 192 countries are expected to participate in Earth Day activities. According to Earth Day Network (EDN), the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, this makes Earth Day the largest civic observance in the world.
The creation of Earth Day gave a voice to environmental issues. It is credited with the beginning of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Earth Day 2019 focuses on protecting endangered and threatened species. The Protect our Species campaign works to:
- Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
- Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
- Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
- Encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.
Earth Day Network is committed to proactively being a part of the solution and has created a variety of Toolkits to support anyone who wants to contribute too.
This Earth Day and every day of the year, you can continue to help change the world by simply starting in your own neighborhood. Join your friends, family, and neighbors and volunteer with organized educational, civic, or outdoor programs. Or, you can even create your own event to help protect our environment for future generations. Ready to begin? Here are 9 simple ways you can take action on Earth Day or any day of the year.
1. VOLUNTEER AT AN EARTH DAY EVENT.
Let Earth Day be the starting point for year-round volunteering! Events are held throughout the year. Check with your local parks, schools, city government, churches, and civic groups. The Forest Park Conservancy in Portland, Oregon, schedules weekly events to restore native habitats and maintain trails. Volunteers are an important part of their trail maintenance and improvement projects. The Forest Park Conservancy welcomes folks to sign up to volunteer. “We encourage everyone in Portland to think about protecting the environment every day of the year,” says Renee Myers, FPC Executive Director. Together, we can ensure amazing places like Forest Park are healthy for future generations.”
2. PLANT A TREE.
In anticipation of the Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, EDN wants to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020! Contact your local arboretum, park district, school, city government, or nonprofits like the Arbor Day Foundation, ACTrees and American Forests to see where you can volunteer to plant trees. Or, plant some in your own backyard! Register your event with EDN. You can also contact your local officials and use social media to urge others to plant trees in your city.
4. STOP OR REDUCE USE OF DISPOSABLE PLASTICS.
Get your friends together and collect plastic, metal, glass, and old electronics. Electronic materials can be taken to an e-waste recycling facility to make sure they are properly handled and safely recycled. According to EDN, the United States produces up to 50 million tons of e-waste. Only 20-25% is recycled safely and responsibly. The other 75% ends up in landfills. You can also donate no-longer-used wireless phones and accessories in any condition from any service provider to HopeLine® from Verizon. Verizon donates wireless phones to local domestic violence shelters and non-profit organizations and agencies for use by victims and survivors. These phones serve as a vital link to support services and provide a safe line of communication to family, loved ones, and employers.
3. HOST A RECYCLING DRIVE.
According to EDN, each year over 100,000 marine animals and one million birds die from ingesting and choking on plastic. Eliminate unnecessary plastic from your life and start using reusable water bottles, travel mugs, and grocery bags. Use social media to encourage others to join you!
Over one billion people in 192 countries are expected to participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
— Earth Day Network
5. HOST AN EVENT TO CLEAN AND BEAUTIFY YOUR COMMUNITY.
Get a group of friends together to clean your local park, school grounds, or neighborhood streets. Pick up trash and recycle the cans, bottles, and plastic. Celebrate your accomplishments by planting some flowers and trees!
6. OPT OUT.
You can save trees and reduce landfill waste with a quick phone call or email. Take some time on Earth Day and contact all those retailers who send you catalogs and direct mail packages that just end up in the trash. Opt for emails instead. Also change your paper billing statements to online statements. Start a social media campaign to encourage your friends and family to do the same.
7. PLANT YOUR OWN VEGETABLE GARDEN.
8. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMER’S MARKET.
Buying produce from local farmers not only guarantees you fresher, more delicious fruits and vegetables, but it also helps the environment. According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate using large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels). Sustainable agriculture uses fewer resources reducing the pollution to our water, land, and air.
9. CONSERVE ENERGY.
Walk, ride your bike, take public transportation, or car pool to work and social activities. Turn off the lights and unplug appliances and chargers when not in use. Take shorter showers and don’t leave the water running when you brush your teeth, wash dishes, etc.
Tell us what you’re doing to celebrate Earth Day! Have a great idea to protect our environment? Share it with us.
Are you looking for meaningful service opportunities to make a difference in your community? Want to connect with local nonprofits and other businesses? Click the button below for more information.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. With its robust online platform, NobleHour enhances community engagement with a variety of innovative and transformative tools for finding, tracking, and measuring volunteer, service‐learning, and community service initiatives. With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the NobleHour team is dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
By NobleHour Special Contributor:
Contributing Writer / Blogger
Greater Chicago Area
Public Relations and Communications
Dolly Duplantier is a freelance writer, editor, and social media specialist. She is the mother of three children, one college graduate, one in college, and one in high school. Writing about people and organizations making a difference is one of the best aspects of her job!