In its simplest form, Earth Day is a day when each of us can take a step back to appreciate the great outdoors in all their splendor but it also holds the potential to ignite some enthusiasm and drive us to take environmental action. Figuring out how to harness our energy in a useful way can prove daunting but it doesn’t have to be a monumental task. Baby steps are completely acceptable, easier to implement, and therefore more effective! Here are 6 easy ways to celebrate Earth Day by making a few simple changes that benefit the planet and each of us.
1) Switch to a recyclable water bottle
Estimates are that the US by itself uses approximately 50 billion plastic water bottles annually. Imagine what that number is when other countries are added in to the total? Most of these bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills, in oceans and elsewhere, which causes harm to living things and the environment. Just creating these plastic bottles requires 17 million barrels of gasoline – that’s roughly what you’d need to power 1.3 million cars for a year – and even more energy is then spent transporting those bottles to stores and then recycling them when we’re done with them. Doing your part to end our wasteful use of these unnecessary water bottles by purchasing and using a recyclable version is an easy way to actually have an impact in reducing pollution and reducing emissions.
2) Build a birdhouse or start a bee farm
Building a birdhouse is definitely the easier option here. All you’ll need is a couple pieces of wood for birds to stand on and a place to put bird feed. See a simple blueprint here. Starting a bee farm is more complex and shouldn’t be done until you’ve done some research and are prepared to dedicate the time, effort and money required to really make a go of it. If you’ve been thinking about getting bees, here’s some information from the Ontario Bee Keepers’ Association that will help you get started.
3) Plant a garden
Looking for an Earth Day activity that gives you visible results? Plant some flowers in your garden. Ok, it’s a touch early here in Grey County so try using some containers that you can move outdoors when temperatures rise. If you want a real gardener’s experience, try starting plants from seed on a sunny windowsill. Try some vegetables too! You’ll be surprised how satisfying it is when they start to take off and you’re able to move them outside. and get all the produce you need.
4) Start composting
The Earth is the ultimate recycler, reusing everything that it creates with a little help from the Sun. We can participate in this process by repurposing something we don’t want anyway – our food garbage. Food waste contains a lot of nourishing substances that can be put to use in our own backyards. Composting biodegradable food and materials is a great way to feed soil, organisms in the soil and plant life while reducing waste. Consider creating a contained compost pile or buying a compost bin (available at most hardware and garden supply stores). Don’t want to walk out to the back of the yard a few times a day? Store all your vegetable/fruit/food scraps in a plastic container in your freezer and take it back to the composter when the tub is full.
5) Buy a tree or a tree certificate
Trees are amazing. Why not plant one or two that you can admire on a daily basis? There are quite a few local nurseries where hardy native species are available to purchase and experts can guide you in providing the right environment so you can ensure your new sapling grows into a tall, strong specimen. Don’t have the room for a tree or maybe not that into gardening after all? You can give the gift of a tree planted in Canada as a celebration, a memorial or just as a kind gesture through services like A Living Tribute. Visit their website to see how trees can be planted in your honoree’s name in areas of Canada where there is a need for reforestation or afforestation.
6) Enjoy nature!
The easiest way to celebrate Earth Day is, of course, to GET OUTSIDE! Take pets or kids outside to play, tidy up the yard, enjoy your coffee on the front step and listen to the birds – the options are truly endless. We live in Grey County, the home of the world famous Bruce Trail, for Pete’s Sake so get your muck boots on and hit the trail!