Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day from Home

By Amber Stronk

On April 22, 2020 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a great reminder about how individuals can help restore and protect the health of our oceans, wildlife and environment. Although we are not able to celebrate this occasion in the ways we typically like to during these uncertain times, there’s still plenty that we can do from home to take action on behalf of our planet.

Here are some ideas of things you can do from the comfort of your own home to help support the health of the Earth.

1. Plant a Tree

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action which has been recognized as the most critical threat to future generations and habitats worldwide. Although an immense challenge, there are also many opportunities to help combat this issue on both local and global levels. A great place to start is from home by planting a tree in your own backyard. Trees provide food, oxygen and habitat for wildlife. They help save energy, clean the air and help to counteract climate change.

2. Start a Compost Pile

Composting recycles kitchen and yard waste and, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), keeps as much as 20-30% of waste from being sent to landfills. Compost is nutrient-rich soil which, when placed on top of existing soil, adds carbon and nitrogen which are important components for growing plants and photosynthesis. Composting is free and easy to do and allows you to avoid having to purchase factory-made fertilizers and chemicals. Learn more about backyard composting 101 here.

3. Grow a Garden

During World War II, the government rationed things like milk, cheese, eggs and canned goods. Labor and transportation disruptions made it very challenging to harvest and ship fruits and vegetables. As a result, people started to plant “Victory Gardens” so they could grow fresh produce for themselves. Now is great time to germinate seeds and start your own Victory Garden! Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, making them excellent for your health. Transporting produce relies heavily on fossil fuels, so when you grow your own garden, you’re cutting down on the amount of harmful carbon dioxide emissions and you’re saving money on your grocery bill.

4. Reuse and Repurpose Plastic Items

An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic enters our oceans every year. That's the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck's worth of plastic into our oceans every minute. With only 9% of all plastic waste generated being properly recycled, recycling alone is not enough to solve the plastic crisis. There are a lot of easy and creative ways to reuse some of the plastic items we already have in our homes. Use old milk and juice containers to water plants, save peanut butter jars and use them to store snacks and use old salad dressing containers to mix and store homemade dressings.

5. Speak Up to Save Marine Life from Plastic Pollution

A first-of-its-kind bill introduced in Congress would reduce the amount of single-use plastics polluting the Earth and our oceans. The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act would phase out single-use plastics that pollute our seas, put in place a nationwide beverage container refund program and shift the burden of plastic waste from us as consumers to the companies producing it. The threat of plastic pollution is massive and growing. Help save the planet by telling your members of Congress to support the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act by adding your name here.