April 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!
Most of us will be celebrating from home due to social distancing guidelines, but don’t let that put a damper on your eco goddess spirit!
Today I’m sharing 7 simple ways you can celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary from the safety and comfort of your home!
First let’s back, back, back it up and chat about the very first Earth Day!
(If you’re an essential worker not at home – thank you for everything you do! We all love and appreciate you!)
WHEN DID EARTH DAY BEGIN?
Quick history lesson (I don’t want to put you to sleep!), the first Earth Day took place back in 1970 – bell bottoms and purpose, baby!
Official credit for the creation of Earth Day is given to Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. After he convinced President John F. Kennedy to go on an 11-state conservation tour, he decided he wanted to continue supporting the cause.
He recruited Harvard Law School student and environmental activist Denis Hayes to coordinate events.
On April 22, 1970, about 20 million people gathered across the country to show their support for the environment! Even congress recessed for the day.
By 1990, people around the world were finding a way to join the movement and celebrate Earth Day.
Now it’s our turn to keep the momentum going!
7 WAYS YOU CAN CELEBRATE EARTH DAY FROM HOME
1. Go Vegetarian for One Day or One Meal
You might not feel ready to go full fledged vegetarian for the rest of your life but Earth Day is a great opportunity to try a meatless diet.
There’s a good chance you’ll be surprised by how many delicious and decadent options you still have available to you as a vegetarian. Mac and cheese, cupcakes, bean and cheese burritos, and quesadillas are all vegetarian! (You can also eat salads – but there is a common misconception that being a vegetarian means no more tasty cheat meals. Not True!)
And in case you’re wondering why lowering your meat consumption is good for the planet, here are a few eye opening facts:
- It takes 1,800 – 2,400 gallons of water to create 1 pound of beef. 1 pound of tofu only requires 244 gallons of water
- It takes almost 20 times less land to feed someone on a plant-based (vegan) diet than it does to feed a meat-eater
- More than 90 percent of all Amazon rainforest land cleared since 1970 is used for grazing livestock
- Runoff from factory farms and livestock grazing is one of the leading causes of pollution in our rivers and lakes
*Both processed meat and red meat are carcinogens linked to cancer so they aren’t great for your health!
2. Watch a Documentary or Nature Film
Earth Day is a perfect time to catch up on documentaries!
If a hard hitting documentary feels too heavy because of our current circumstances, you can always check out one of the great National Geographic films on Disney+.
Experiencing the natural beauty of the world (even if it’s through a screen) is a great reminder of what we’re working hard to save.
Below are a few of my top documentary picks:
- The True Cost – This should be every fashion lovers go-to film for kicking off their journey into environmental activism. It covers both the environmental and human rights issues related to fast fashion.
- Before the Flood – If you’re a Leonardo DiCaprio fan (or even if you’re not) you’ll enjoy this film! It discusses the dangers of climate change and possible solutions.
- Sweatshop Deadly Fashion – This unique short film focuses more on the human rights issues that are created by the fast fashion industry but it’ll help you gain a more comprehensive understanding of the negative impact fast fashion has on every part of our world!
- Wall-E – If you’re looking for something more light hearted or family friendly, Wall-E can be a great way to start meaningful conversations about the environment with your family.
3. Discover Your Closet’s Carbon Footprint
Are your fashion habits helping or hurting the planet?
ThredUp’s Fashion Footprint Calculator is one of the easiest ways to determine just how “dirty” your wardrobe really is.
If you’ve ever wanted to know more about your personal carbon footprint, spend a few minutes completing THIS QUIZ!
As you complete the quiz you’ll also learn interesting (and sometimes alarming!) facts about fashion and the environment.
4. Host a Digital Clothing Swap
Clothing swaps are a great way to extend the life of your clothes. Plus, it’s a sustainable and affordable way to refresh your wardrobe!
Since you can’t host an in-person swap right now, invite your friends and family to join you for a digital clothing swap!
Here’s how it works:
- Send out a group text to find out who is interested in participating
- Ask everyone who wants to participate to do a mini closet cleanout and grab 3 to 5 items that are in good/great condition but are no longer serving them.
- Set a date/time for your digital clothing swap!
- Set the Rules
- Everyone gets 3 “shopping credits” at the beginning of the swap. These credits are used to claim items. It costs 1 credit to claim an item but you can offer up to 3 if you need to outbid someone!
- Each person will take a turn sharing the items they have to swap. Have them describe the fabric, fit/size, and any other important details about the piece.
- Next, go around again and this time you can start claiming things!
- The group can decide to ship clothing to each other or plan a post-pandemic date to meet-up to trade claimed items.
That’s it! You just completed your first digital clothing swap!
5. Start a Shop on Poshmark or ThredUp
Another way to celebrate Earth Day is by continuing to keep clothing out of landfills!
Instead of hosting a digital clothing swap you can create an online shop to sell your gently used clothing.
After you clean out your closet, you’ll need to spend some time photographing (this will help you beat boredom during quarantine) your items to post them in your shop.
Here are a few tips for your clothing photos:
- Iron or steam everything before you photograph it! You want each item to look its best.
- Lighting is so important! Try to shoot your images near a big window and take advantage of natural light. This will also make it easier for potential buyers to see the true color of the garment and any other small details.
- If possible, include a photo of you wearing the item. This will make it easier to visualize the overall fit and style of the garment. (If it doesn’t fit you anymore but you have an older image of you wearing it when it did fit, that’s still helpful!)
6. Try 5-8 Minute Showers for One Week
Shortening your shower saves water (duh!) but it also saves electricity, which reduces the carbon footprint of your bath time.
If you’re accustomed to long hot showers this might be a big challenge (I’m working on an 8 minute shower guide to help!) but just like most things, it gets easier over time.
7. Donate to an Environmental Organization or Volunteer!
Finances might be a little tight right now so if you aren’t in a place to donate to one of these amazing environmental organizations, don’t worry! You can pick one and invite your family and friends to join you for a volunteer day after social distancing ends and things get back to normal.
It’s nice to have something to look forward to during this stressful time!
My family and I participated in a beach clean with Heal the Bay (listed below) last summer and it was a great experience! You get to soak up the sun and salty air on the beach while cleaning up the shore.
Here are a few organizations you can look into:
- World Wildlife Fund (Donate) – https://www.worldwildlife.org/
- Focused on the conservation of wildlife and the environment.
- Heal the Bay (Donate or Volunteer) – https://healthebay.org/
- Heal the Bay is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy and clean.
- TreePeople (Donate or Volunteer) – https://www.treepeople.org/
- TreePeople is a nonprofit that aims to inspire and encourage the people of Los Angeles to come together to plant and care for trees, harvest the rain, and renew depleted landscapes.
- Conservation International (Donate) – https://www.conservation.org/
- Conservation International is an American nonprofit environmental organization with a mission to spotlight and secure the critical benefits that nature provides to humanity, such as food, fresh water, livelihoods and a stable climate.
- The Nature Conservancy (Donate) – https://www.nature.org/en-us/
- The Nature Conservancy is a charitable environmental organization on a mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
- Surfrider (Volunteer/Donate) – https://www.surfrider.org/
- The Surfrider Foundation is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches -that provide us so much enjoyment.
CELEBRATING EARTH DAY FROM HOME
No matter how you choose to celebrate Earth Day this year, I hope that we all push ourselves to live a more eco-friendly and intentional life year-round.
It’s going to take more than one day a year to keep Earth healthy!
Lastly, remember to strive for progress over perfection.
“ We don’t need a handful of people doing sustainable living perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly!” – adapted from Anne-Marie Bonneau ( Zero Waste Chef)