There is an ancient proverb which says “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” If we stay mindful of this “truth” we are bound to treat the earth better than we currently do. We get a new reminder every year about our responsibilities to the earth.
History of Earth Day
On April 22, 2010 we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In 1969 Senator Gaylord Nelson had the idea to organize a grassroots protest over how the people were treating the environment. For many years before he had been trying to figure out a way to make the environment into a political issue. Well, in April 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated, and in 1971 it became an international holiday.
How to Celebrate Earth Day
There are so many ways to celebrate Earth Day. Choose the ones that are most comfortable to you – then try to commit to doing them long after this year’s Earth Day is over.
- At Home – Take short showers. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth and shaving. Repair leaks. Wash full loads in both the dishwasher and washing machine. Donate extras instead of throwing them away. Unplug electronics when not in use.
- At School – Plant classroom gardens and compost waste. Only provide waste-free snacks (snacks without packaging like juice boxes, plastic wrap, etc) that day.
- At Work – Shut down your computer at night. Recycle aluminum cans. Turn off lights at the end of the day. Carpool to work. Walk or ride a bike to work. If you must drive, park farther away from the entrance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Set up a book exchange.
- In the Community – Clean up parks, roads, and waterways in groups.
- Shopping – Stop buying things. If you can make do without it, don’t buy it. If you have to buy it, buy it from the company that uses the least amount of packaging. At least you’re thinking about it.
- Cards – Instead of buying and mailing paper cards, send ecards.
- Outdoors – Plant a tree. Compost. Make a birdhouse.
- Learn & Teach – Borrow books from the library to learn additional ways how you and your family can do its part. Teach others what you’ve learned.
- PBS Kids will have an entire line up to celebrate Earth Day. Go check it out!
If you can’t remember anything else – remember that EVERY DAY is Earth Day. Every day we can make a difference.