Earth Day 2010: What Will You Do to Help?

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On Thursday April 22 we celebrate Earth Day. This is a great time for everyone to contemplate how individual and global actions are impacting the planet. It is also a time to reflect on what we have been doing to help improve the earth's current state and to consider more deeply what actions we can take that will have a positive effect on all the different towns, cites, states, provinces, countries, continents, and bodies of water that make up our planet. But even though Earth Day raises some very serious issues, there are still lots of fun,simple, and affordable things we can do to help make a difference.

What You Can Do to Help

Earthday.org, the official Earth Day 2010 website, presents some great ideas that many people from across the world have shared about how they plan to do their part to help. I picked a handful that I think are not only manageable and reasonable, but also affordable.

  • "I will pay my bills online instead of receiving bills in the mail."
  • "I will use a reusable water bottle and bring a mug to the coffee shop."
  • "I will walk, ride my bike, or take public transportation instead of driving."
  • "I pledge to turn lights off in my house when they're not in use..."
  • "I will attend a meeting of my local government and push them to drive a green economy."
  • "I will abstain from meat at least one day a week to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry."
  • "I will shop at Farmer's Market and buy local and organic food"
  • "Garbage collecting..."
  • "Tree planting..."

Info found at: "Earth Day 2010 Action Center." Earth Day Network. 21 April 2010   <www.earthday.org>.

As you can see, for the most part, these are all great, simple, and relatively inexpensive ways to start making a difference. Many of these ideas will even end up saving you money: a lower electric bill, less money spent on gas, and possibly a discounted coffee for bringing your own mug.  Maybe one of these ideas appears to be more doable than others at the moment, or maybe you already thought up a whole list of things you want to do (Which is fantastic by the way!) . So whatever you want to do, go out there and do it. There's no better day than Earth Day to start.

And don't forget about environmentally friendly things you might already be doing, such as recycling and reusing various materials and products that would otherwise end up in a landfill. You might also already be in the habit of using Eco-friendly cleaning supplies, which are free of harmful chemicals, or purchasing products that are made from a certain percentage of recycled materials.

Local Earth Day Events

To become more involved in your community, Earthday. org also has a directory to all the Earth Day events in your area, and as a bonus, many of them are free! All you have to do is enter in your zip code. Here are some examples of events in my area: bike path clean ups, classes on how to start a garden, Earth Day video contests, and a lecture titled "Is Solar Energy Right For My House?".

Earth Day for the Kids & Family

There are also some fun, cheap, and easy at home projects to do with the family on Earth Day. Kaboose.com has some great ideas for kid friendly crafts to do at home that use a lot of recycled materials. My personal favorite was the tin can herb garden. All you need is an old tin can which can be painted and decorated and some seeds to start planting an herb garden. If you're like me and have enough art supplies lying around the house, then you're only expense might end up being the seeds, and maybe a can of beans for dinner if your recyclables were picked up yesterday. And if you don't want to start your herbs from scratch, you can always purchase already grown herbs of your choice to take care of immediately. So make sure to check this site out if you need some crafting ideas for your children. And even if you don't have kids, it's a great place for inspiration. I know that this weekend I'm going to start my own tin can herb garden, and I couldn't be more excited!

Happy Earth Day!

So remember, Earth Day is our chance to start thinking about how our current actions are affecting our world, and how we can make changes in our day to day lives in order to make our individual and global communities better places to live. And this doesn't have to be a pain or a burden. There are plenty of fun ways to make a difference. But some of the greatest and most effective changes might have a larger impact on our lives. For example, remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room isn't as hard as maybe deciding that your family could get by without that second car, or maybe no car at all. But start small and work up to the big changes. Because no matter what you choose to do, everyone starts somewhere.

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