Photo: Rocky Mountain National Park, CO © Amy Hale
Happy Earth Day (in case you didn't know, it's today, April 22 - and the 39th anniversary of Earth Day, can you believe it?!) but so what... what to do...!? Of course, I'm of the belief that "every day is earth day" but Earth Day is the one designated day to kickstart everyone's consciousness about greening up your life. Essentially, I see Earth Day as a "New Year's" day for the earth. How about taking the day to make some "Earth Day resolutions" for the year ahead...?
Start with a one time donation for Earth Day, but then repeat annually/quarterly/cyclically/monthly... whatever schedule works best for you!:
1) Make a donation ($10 or more!) to Replanting the Rainforests, an organization collecting donations to help restore and permanently rebuild some of the 80% of the world’s native forests that have been destroyed.
2) Join or make a donation to Green America, (formerly Co-op America) the largest Green NFP membership organization, dedicated to promoting social justice, environmental sustainability, and healthy communities worldwide through economic action: Donate/Join HERE. In joining Green America, you'll also receive some really cool resources on green living, green businesses, investing, and current environmental issues.
3) Offset your carbon footprint. Carbonfund.org allows you to calculate your carbon footprint for your home, car, travel, or one-off event and allows you to offset it. Or just select the Gift option to choose your offset in $10 (tax deductible) increments. For more information on carbon offsetting, check out this great article from Green America on the variety of good, better, and best options available: Carbon Offsets Dymystified.
4) Choose an environmental or species-protecting organization, cause, or NFP, and donate to it. Donate of your time and energy (volunteer!) if opening your wallet is not the best alternative right now. Here are some of my favorites:
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
5) Support your local Farmers' Markets or Food Co-Op: Obtaining your food from local sources is better for everyone: there is less energy expended to pack, preserve, and transport the produce, the small local farmers are being supported; you're getting the benefits of fresher, more nutrient-dense and healthier foods, and small farms are much more sustainable for the earth than the large pesticide-ridden and hormone-filled factory-farms that are decimating the landscape.
FREE! Give of your time, Get out and just be. Celebrate the earth and the gifts it has to offer. Consider how you can give back on a daily basis in gratitude and for future preservation of our planet.
Photo: North Cascades, WA © Amy Hale1) Volunteer at a community garden, animal shelter, trail or parks renovation program, or other pro-green organization in your local community. Make a commitment to return once a month or more.
2) Start a green habit. Carry reusable bags everywhere, conserve water through shorter showers, install a low-flow showerhead or toilet, institute a greener commute: bike, walk, use public transportation, ride-share or carpool, become conscious of your energy use and unplug those unused appliances, make turning out lights a habit.
3) Plant something. Nothing feels personally greener than planting a tree or a garden yourself. Apartment dwellers, start your own herb garden. Anything to start locally sourcing your food more is better (for you, and for the environment!)
4) Get outside! Take a walk, hike, or ride your bike. Get out to a park, the woods, countryside, or mountains - whatever you have nearby, even if it's just your backyard or business park's lawn and try to really see the nature around you with new eyes. Seriously, stop and really look at the flowers blooming, the trees budding. The other day on a walk by the water down by Pike Place Market, I looked down and saw a seal. Within petting distance of the pier. I glance out my window to the regular sight of soaring bald eagles. I'm fortunate enough to live in a place where I wake up to the sun illuminating the Olympic mountains across Puget Sound to the west, the Cascades range to the northeast and occasionally the massif Mt. Rainier will make an appearance on the clear days to the south, and whether it's sunny or rainy, I am reminded always at how fortunate I am to live in such a magnificent place. Of course I want to do what I can to preserve it. Taking time to slow down quiets the mind, breath, and will positively affect the whole flow of your day. Magnifying what is so easy to overlook can often create a sense of wonder and stillness...
Photo: Arboretum, Seattle © Amy Hale
To find events in your area, go to the official Earth Day website: http://earthday.net/ and join the Earth Day social network at http://network.earthday.net/
Photo: Botanical Gardens, Chicago © Amy Hale